Travel

Quanzhou, Ancient Port, Now a Modern City

Updated: 2007-06-01
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Quanzhou was once a city of great cultural and religious diversity. It was the starting point of the famous Maritime Silk Road, the largest port city in the entire world, and now a major industrial power point for modern day China. In this two-part article, Mario Lanzilotta takes you on a whirlwind sightseeing tour of the city.

 

Just an hour north of the sweet sandy beaches of Xiamen Island, Quanzhou stands tall on the shores of the Taiwan Straits. Filled with relics of its rich past, the ancient city is proud to carry on long held traditions and treasures of its unique local culture.

 

The food is delicious and the tea is grown locally in the neighbouring towns outside the city. Seafood is plentiful and sounds of drinking games are heard until the early hours of the morning.

 

The mornings are quite and restful and the afternoons are busy and crowded. The nights are lively, but they share the same common streets with both the young and the aged community. As this old sea port quickly makes its way into more modern times, it's still possible to experience authentic Southern Chinese culture, right here in the ancient city of Quanzhou.

 

 

Temples & Tea

 

There are two things that China has a lot of: tea and temples. This might seem obvious,

but in Quanzhou there are so many temples, monasteries, and mosques that even the local

people couldn't direct you to half of them. Here are a few of the more famous spots to see in Quanzhou.

 

 

Guanyue Temple

 

Guanyue Temple was dedicated to two famed Chinese generals, Guan Yu and Yue Fei, but it is also the home of over twenty other military heroes. Just up the road from the Ashab Mosque, the main entrance of the temple can be seen directly from the road when passing by in a taxi

 

Guanyue Temple 关岳庙 Tumen Jie 涂门街 Tel: 0595 22286613

 

 

Quanzhou Shaolin Temple

 

Some may not know this, but there are two Shaolln temples in China famous for their

fighting monks. The Southern Shaolin Temple, right here in Quanzhou, was originally built during the Tang Dynasty and then destroyed in 1763 AD. It is set on Dongyue Mountain and there are hours of hiking behind the temple grounds. The temple is currently undergoing renovations and extensions, but the area is well kept and the main altar ground provides a magnificent view of the entire city of Quanzhou. There are usually thirty to forty different monks in training on the temple grounds who practice martial arts daily.

 

Southern Shaolin Temple 泉州少林寺 Citong Lu 刺梧北路 Tel: 0595 22795119

 

 

Kaiyuan Temple

 

Kaiyuan Temple holds so many of Quanzhou's ancient treasures - the Lugang Iron Bell,

the beautiful Mulberry-Lotus Tree, and over 30,000 volumes of Buddhist scriptures. It's said to be, one of China's largest and most important temples.

 

Built circa 686 AD, this temple has nearly 78,000 square meters of prayer space. It is

easy to find and a must see in Quanzhou. Just take Zhongshan Lu to Xi Jie and turn left at the clock tower.

 

Kaiyuan Temple 开元寺 Xi Jie 西街

 

 

 

 

Kaiyuan Temple Pagodas

 

First constructed using wood over a thousand years ago, the East and West Pagodas were rebuilt with stone during the Song Dynasty. These twin pagodas are said not only to be the tallest, but also the most well-preserved stone pagodas in China.

 

 

Gucuo Chafang

 

And on your way home, don't forget to stop at Quanzhou's famous old style teahouse

for a pot of Heavenly Goddess tea (铁观音). It's a landmark of traditional Chinese culture in Quanzhou, and a must see for all tea lovers.

 

Gucuo Chafang 古厝茶坊 44 Hou Cheng Off Tu Men Jie, near the Guanyue Temple 后城44 Tel: 0595 22282373

 

 

Quanzhou Expats Network: Connecting Foreigners in Quanzhou

 

The Quanzhou Expats Network was started a few years ago to develop social networks,

events, etc. for all foreigners living in Quanzhou. There are not as many expats living in

Quanzhou as there are in other areas of China, but they are out there. If you would like to join the e-mail listing and be notified of upcoming events and useful information concerning Quanzhou, then please send your e-mail address to: QuanzhouExpats@hotmail.com.

 

Note: Your e-mail address will only be used for correspondence regarding the Quanzhou Expats Network and will not be divulged to anyone else or used for marketing purposes.

 

SOURCE: What’s on Xiamen

 

By: Mario Lanzilotta

 

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