Monday, February 7, 2011
Yuexiu Park 越秀公园 – Guangzhou, China
The school bell rang and I rushed to the MTR station to meet with my friends. We were about to go to the largest park in Guangzhou, called Yue Xiu Park. I had actually planned to visit the park with some other friends, but unfortunately at that time it was holiday and the site was absolutely packed with people queuing on the ticket counter. So we called off our plan. Thank God on the day I visited the park for the second time, it was less crowded.
Yue Xiu park is so famous not only because of its massive area, but also because it has the statue of five rams on top of the mountain which has been regarded as the symbol and emblem of Guangzhou city by the local people. You could even find the picture of the statue printed on the MTR card. The park is accessible by bus, MTR or taxi, with the fastest of all is MTR. So, take MTR until you reach Yue Xiu Park station, and just follow the directions on the board until you get there. The admission fee to the park is 5 Yuan, with an additional of 5 Yuan if you would like to buy the tourist guide map. With the map, you could know the name of the sites you visit and it prevents you from getting lost in such large park.
Occupying an area of approximately 900,000 square meters and stretching for 3 km from the east to the west, Yue Xiu park has become the largest comprehensive cultural and recreational park in downtown Guangzhou. Located within the range of Yue Xiu mountain, which is 7000 meters above the sea level, the park is one of the earliest parks that was once also a place of interest. It was not until 1949 that the notorious status of the park as a place for gangsters and cemetery changed into the most famous landmark in Guangzhou area. The idea to enlarge and made the area as a scenic park was pioneered by the Father of Modern China, Sun Yat Sen. Unfortunately his wish was not realized until the liberation of Guangzhou. The park was once named after “Chao Han Tower”, which was built by Zhao Tua, the Nan Yue Emperor of the West Han Dynasty. Not long after that, a guanyin pavilion was constructed in the Yongle period and the park was then called Guanyin mountain.
Surrounded with verdant trees, flowers, and serene lakes, the park offers endless opportunities for nature lovers and artisans to immerse themselves in its tranquility and laid-back elegance. It is house to over than one million exotic trees including cypresses, pines, kapoks, manoglias and some other 600 varieties of trees. Due to the rich plantations inside, the park also acts as a natural defense in the northern park along with Bai Yun Mountain. Every year, it also hosts the famous Guangzhou Flower Exhibition.
There are five entrance gates to the park. You could freely choose through which gate you would like to enter.
The park is filled with beautiful flowers of various types and colors, for which it is reputed
Some of the most enjoyable sites in the park are Ancient City Wall, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Monument of Sun Yat Sen’s reading and operation site, the Graveyard of Shaowu Emperor and his subordinates, a group statue of the five rams legend, a ball-shaped tower and most important of all the Five Rams statue. Inside the park, there is a very large stadium which can accommodate more than 30.000 people. The existence of all these sites plus the exuberant plants inside has added vigor to the park and made it a combination of cultural relics and ecological tourism.
Small artificial waterfalls add to the elegance of the park
A group of stone rams grazing on the lawn
The park is a serene getaway to retreat from the hustling and bustling of the commercial city of Guangzhou. It is full of greenery and plantations, with beautiful flowers and other facilities to make your resting time more enjoyable. Endowed with beautiful natural surroundings, where visitors could enjoy the verdant grass and listen to the birds singing, the park also attracts many inquisitives to enjoy the collection of antiques. It is made up of three artificial lakes and seven hills of Yue Xiu mountain. The Dongxiu Lake is known as an excellent site for painting and scenery viewing, while its sister lake, The Beixiu Lake has three smaller lakes with artistic stone bridge and serene pavilion by the lake side. The Nanxiu lake has a spacious lawn with the size of 5,000 square meters. The combination of the three lakes has made the view even more fascinating. The best time to visit the park is Spring, when the temperature is moderate and the annual Guangzhou Flower exhibition is held.
The arch-shaped bridge connecting the lakes is decorated with typical Lingnan architecture
A serene pavilion at the lakeside of Beixiu Lake
The Tomb of Emperor Shaowu and his underlings in the Ming dynasty
The Five Rams fairyland sculpture with overall length of 42 meters and height of 7 meters
The inscription of the five rams legend on a massive stone
Erected in 1959, the five rams statue is of 10 meters high and 53 cubic meters wide with the head of the main ram weighing 2 tons. It is sculpted using 130 pieces of marbles by three famous sculptors Yun Zhi Chang, Kong Fanwei and Chen Benzong who received commands from the government to depict the legend of five rams using sculpture. The carving of the statue is strongly inspired by the local legendary tale of five immortals who wore five-colors robe and rode five rams carrying rice stalks to be presented to the local residents, who despites their hard labors still lived under famine and poverty. When the immortals descended to the sky, the rams turned into a stone. After this divine visit, Guangzhou had no longer suffered from famine and drought anymore. The statue is the zenith part of the park’s cultural relic. Surrounding the statue are kiosks, pavilions, stages, tablets, corridors, paintings, verdant woods and other beautiful sightseeing.
One of the cultural relics in the park is the remnant of the most ancient city wall dated back to the Ming dynasty. This 600-year old wall stands high over 200 meters and is the only remaining part that survived from the destruction after the Sin Hai revolution (1911). The wall is a testimony that Guangzhou has over than 2000 years of history.
The red gate of the Monument of Dr. Sun Yat Sen
The grand monument of Dr. Sun Yat Sen was built by a famous architect, Lu Yan Zhi in 1929 at the southernmost part of the mountain as a tribute to the great nationalist and Founding Father of Modern China, Sun Yat Sen. Towering 37 meters high, the monument has 100 steps and consists of granite marbles. It has square shape with a pointed tip at the top. Climb the curly stairways from the bottom to the arc gate to see the whole view from above. In each storey of the building there are windows to view distant places. The base of the monument is decorated with 26 sculptures of rams. A marble of 7 meters high and 4 meters wide is located in front of the monument as a symbol of Sun Yat Sen’s convictions. A Chinese calligrapher called Wu Shao Fu carved Chinese characters on the marble which shine under sunrays.
Zhen Hai tower is the second most famous landmark in the park after the statue of five rams. The tower is closed by 5 p.m. and the admission fee is 10 yuan. This five-storeyed building with 28 meters tall and 16 meters wide was constructed in the Hongwu period of the Ming dynasty (1380) on top of the remaining section of Guangzhou’s city walls. It was built by the order of a nobleman or Yongjia Marquis of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Liangzu to display his power and obsession to conquer the sea and mountains. The history recorded that Zhu Liangzu saw yellow and purple air raising over Yuexiu Mountain and he was told by a sorcerer that it was the omen of a new emperor. To subdue this omen, he then instructed to build a tower on top of the mountain. The tower also commemorates the success of seven sea journeys done by the Muslim Eunuch Zheng He who sailed to East Africa, the Persian Gulf and Java between 1405 and 1433. Since the first establishment, the building has been destroyed and rebuilt five times, and was also occupied by French and British armies during the First Opium War. The tower houses the Guangzhou city museum, which keeps cultural and historical relics of the old Guangzhou. On the first floor, visitors are welcomed with three dimensional maps of modern Guangzhou and a giant ancient anchor dated back from the Ming dynasty. Climbing up to the second floor, visitors are presented with the remnants of the tomb of Han dynasty and other relics from the Han period. On the third floor, the building presents the history of Western world and their influence on Guangzhou. The fourth floor tells the story of Guangzhou after the Opium war while the fifth floor has cafes and shops. From the top of the building, you could overview the city and the vista is strikingly inspiring. Because the museum is fairly small, you could easily cover it within 20 minutes.
Since the park is extremely large and it has many attractions, you should spend at least 3 hours to explore the entire site. If you visit Guangzhou, Yue Xiu Park is the place you should not miss at any cost.
Personal experience and additional information from other online articles