Have you ever tasted authentic dim sum along the ancient streets of Xiguan, admired the eclectic architecture of Dongshan or enjoyed a Blade runner's perspective from the ultra-futuristic Canton Tower? Guangzhou now ranks second among the world's top 10 fastest growing tourist cities, presenting visitors with a heady mixture of both ancient and modern worlds that continue to change every single day.
Connecting Longjin Xilu and Shangxiajiu pedestrian street, Enning Lu, located in Xiguan, a symbol of old Guangzhou, is still home to many well-preserved relics and Qilou buildings, the vernacular style of traditional Lingnan architecture. These include Bahe Hall (八和会馆), now known as the home of Cantonese Opera, and Taihua Tower (泰华楼), which was a private schoolroom for scholar Li Wenhe (李文和) in the Qing Dynasty.
Bronze ware, a traditional craft in Guangzhou, has been well-known for a long time in Enning Lu. Tiancheng Bronze, a 10-square-meter bronze ware stall with over 40 years, is famous for its bronze kettles, bowls, chopsticks and basins.
Having existed for well over a century, Yide Lu is lined with more than 13,000 trading businesses. Dominated by the Onelink International Toy and Gifts Center, Onelink Plaza (万菱广场) was once home to the Parkson department store and was transformed in 2004 into the landmark wholesale shopping center with 40,000 square meters of factory, manufacturer and wholesale outlets. Most of the shops moved into this building around 10 years ago when much of the old wholesale market complex at Haizhu Square was demolished. The first nine floors carry a huge variety of shops while the rest of the building is filled with offices and private showrooms. Many of the smaller outlets spill over into nearby buildings where they keep larger storage spaces for extra stock.
The stretch of Yide Lu between Haizhu Lu and Tiancheng Lu boasts the highest concentration of toy wholesalers. Almost everything that you can think of can be found here, from the tackiest plastic soldiers to high-end action figures and high-tech drones.
The Zhonggang Boutique Toys Wholesale Market (中港玩具精品批发城) is located on the south side of the road, with the International Toys Market (国际玩具批发中心) and the Toys, Models and Comics Wholesale Center (海珠玩具模型动漫批发市场) to the north. The Yide Lu subway station takes commuters directly into the heart of the markets, while the nearby Shishi Catholic Church (石室圣心大教堂) is a popular photo opportunity with weekend tourists.
The historic buildings of Dongshankou allow visitors to step back in time.
South of Nonglin Donglu, the Cantonese neighborhoods retain buildings with a very special blend of European and Chinese architecture. During the Ming Dynasty, this area was largely unpopulated until an influential court official built Dongshan Temple here. Western missionaries built churches, schools and orphanages here decorating the buildings with everything, from balconies to stained glass and Greco-Roman pillars.
Chun Yuan on Xinhepu Lu served as the venue of the third National Congress of the Communist Party of China and is now home to a history museum for the residence of Chinese Communist Party leaders in 1923.
Mu Yuan and Ming Yuan, both on Xuguyuan Lu is another three-story, red-brick building, with many Greek elements.
Kui Yuan Gallery, a 90-year-old family villa, serves today as a vibrant gallery and cafe. The building had been vacant for more than a decade before being transformed into a cultural center on New Year's Day in 2012 by four young men who shared a love and passion for art.
Source: Life of Guangzhou
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