Since ancient times, Guangzhou has been a city with a dense network of waterways. Thus bridges always have played a vital role in the city’s commerce and loomed as an imposing physical presence. For urban dwellers to walk from one place to another, bridges were built above creeks, rivers, and canals. Some of those ancient edifices still span the city’s waterways today. The remaining bridges that are listed below have served as a historical legacy; they have witnessed the development of Guangzhou over the centuries.
1. Fuyin Bridge 福荫桥
Built in the Qianlong Period of the Qing Dynasty, Fuyin Bridge has maintained its original appearance for 200 years. However, due to its small scale and inconspicuous location, the old bridge is rarely noticed. It is located at Zuiguan Garden in Fangcun.
2. Shijing Bridge 石井桥
Located in Shijing Town, Baiyun District, Shijing Bridge was constructed in the same period as Fuyin Bridge, and was rebuilt during the Daoguang Period of the Qing Dynasty. Surviving the shellfire of the Opium Wars, it is still used as a major Guangzhou bridge, proudly spanning the Shijing River.
3. Wuyan Bridge 五眼桥
Possessing a history of more than 400 years, Wuyan Bridge crosses above the Xiushui River of Fangcun. The bridge was part of the first land route connecting Guangzhou and Foshan. In fact, for people who wanted to travel between the two cities, this bridge was the only way to go. As modern transportation has expanded and evolved, the route to Foshan has changed beyond recognition, and only the bridge remains and serves as an important historical witness.
4. Yungui Bridge 云桂桥
Designated as a cultural relic by the city’s landmarks protection agency, Yungui Bridge was created in the Ming Dynasty by Guangzhou’s He Xiongbo. Located at the Xiaogang Garden, Haizhu District, this bridge is over 400 years old, earning it the title of Guangzhou’s oldest extant bridge, with the finest preservation.
5. Yuling Bridge 毓灵桥
Across the Dachongkou River, Yuling Bridge is an archaic stone structure located at Fangcun. Because its tablet inscription has been lost, the bridge’s precise date of birth is uncertain. Authorities, however, believe it has a history of at least 180 years.
6. Liuhua Ancient Bridge 流花古桥
Liuhua Ancient Bridge was a wooden span when it was built more than 1,000 years ago. It was a vital traffic line for the Han Palace Complex, connecting different palaces and gardens. However, as time passed, little of the ancient structure remains — just the bridge deck rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty, when it was made of granite slabs. The bridge name of four Chinese characters was carved on the side.
7. Huijin Bridge 汇津桥
“Huijin” means river confluence in Chinese. In ancient days, every time the Pearl River was at high tide, the river water would join here from both the east and west ends of Haizhu Bay. this is how the bridge got its name. Built in the middle period of the Qing Dynasty, the bridge is still the major traffic line for nearby residents in Haizhu District. It continues to experience a high flow of foot traffic.
8. Shamian West Bridge 沙面西桥
Built in 1861, Shamian West Bridge, formerly called England Bridge, was an important transportation passage for people living in Shamian Island, to connect them with the outside world. It is now situated at the Shamian tourism area.
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