The fast and the well-fixed in Guangzhou’s museums (I)

How long have you been staying in Guangzhou? Do you know there is a place where you can see all kinds of banknotes in Guangzhou? Do you know there is a place full of gold and silver in Guangzhou? Do you know once the richest man in the world lived in Guangzhou? Do you know how the metro is built and operated in Guangzhou?

All these memories of Guangzhou with interesting stories have been treasured in the museums which you may haven’t got a chance to visit before. May 18 marks the International Museum Day. How about deepening your impression of Guangzhou via trips to the following quirky museums in the city?

Here comes the fast and the well-fixed in Guangzhou Monetary and Finance Museum, Guangzhou Siam Garden Silver Museum, Guangzhou Thirteen Hongs Museum, and Guangzhou Metro Museum.

Guangzhou Monetary and Finance Museum

A treasured place where “an inch of land values an inch of gold”

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Guangzhou Monetary and Finance Museum is kind of low profile. It is situated in Guangdong University of Finance. As one of the rare currency museums in Guangdong, it houses more than 50,000 pieces of monetary and finance objects. It is your first choice to explore the wonderful world of currency.

In the museum, you can see ancient Chinese coinage, currency of the Republic of China, currency of the revolutionary base, Chinese currency, currency of China’s Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, currency of countries around the world, gold and silver commemorative coin, electronic currency, finance tickets, and so on. There is also shell money, knife money, three hole spade (san kong bu), copper coin, bank notes, shoe-shaped gold ingot, paper money and so on.

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In the exhibition area of ancient currency, you can never miss this one: knife coin in the shape of a key (“一刀平五千”). It was issued by Wang Mang, a Han Dynasty official who seized the throne from the Liu family, founded the Xin Dynasty and ruled during 9–23 AD. Only a minimal number of such coins had been issued into circulation, so it is highly sought-after by collectors nowadays. A knife coin is divided into two parts: knife blade and knife handle. Because the lettering is filled with gold, so it is also called “gold-inlaid knife” (“金错刀”).

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In the exhibition area of foreign currency, banknote of Zimbabwe attracts the most attention. Everybody knows that the largest denomination of renminbi is the 100 yuan note. However, the largest denomination in the world is the 100 000 000 000 000 banknote of Zimbabwean dollar. That’s right, 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. According to the commentator, the banknote looks intimidating, but considering the inflation, this banknote of tremendous denomination can only offer one or two loaves of bread.

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In the exhibition hall of anti-counterfeit currency, all sorts of strange counterfeit banknotes are displayed. If you don’t identify carefully, you might not be able to recognize them. For the 100-yuan banknote of the 2005 series, several key points for how to detect a counterfeit note are listed in the exhibition hall.

Admission: Free only for team reservation; individual tourist should only come on free open day every month (May 18 is open for free)

Add.: 5th & 6th Floor of the library, Guangdong University of Finance, No. 527 Yingfu Road, Longdong, Tianhe District, Guangzhou (广州市天河区龙洞迎福路527号广东金融学院图书馆5、6楼)

Opening hours: 8:00 – 11:30 am, 2:00 – 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday (closed during summer and winter vacations)

Reservation: Through the website of the museum or fax 020-37216839 (only for group)

Guangzhou Siam Garden Silver Museum

Where silver and Thai style shines

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The Silver Museum houses more than 300 pieces of silver jewelry and artworks, such as silver necklaces, silver bowls, silver chopsticks, silver phoenix, silver birds, silver elephants, silver ships, silver bottles, silver boxes and silver houses. All shine with dazzling brilliance.

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There are six exhibition areas, featuring the origin of silver, the military, industrial, medicinal usage of silver and so on. In fact, the history of people discovering and using silver dates back to the ancient times. Starting from the Han Dynasty, silver ingot was used as standard coinage. The using history of silver jewelry and silverware can be traced back to the Warring States Period.

What’s more, Guangzhou Siam Garden is also a wonderful place for photographing. Walking around, you will encounter Thai style gardens and buildings. You will also hear Thailand’s pop songs in the garden from time to time.

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Admission: Free

Add.: inside Guangzhou Siam Garden, Zhubao Town, Huadu District, Guangzhou (广州市花都区珠宝小镇曼古园内)

Self-driving route: 1. Enter Guangqing Expressway - Exist in Chini/Xinhua - Enter Fengshen Dadao - Enter Hongmian Dadao - Enter Yingbin Dadao - Reach Siam Garden.

2. Go to the Airport Expressway - Enter Yingbin Dadao (about 15 km).

Bus: Take Huadu Bus No.9 or Huadu Bus No.21 and leave at the Shitouji Station, then go straight to the Siam Garden.

(To be continued)

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