Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province in China, was once known as the manufacturing capital of the world. With a history stretching back over 2,200 years, the city has a plethora of wonderful sites of historical and cultural significance, including one of the oldest mosques in the world. Being the third-largest city in China, it also has an impressive metro system as well as one of the world’s tallest towers. Ready to learn more about the birthplace of Cantonese cuisine? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Guangzhou.
7 Interesting Facts about Guangzhou
1. Guangzhou is the third-largest city in China
Guangzhou was formerly known as Canton. It is an inland port city located in the Pearl River delta in south-central mainland China. It is part of the Guangdong province. With a population of nearly 14 million people, Guangzhou is the third-largest city in China after Shanghai and Beijing. The city is part of one of the most populous metropolitan areas on Earth, the Pearl River Delta, which has a population of more than 50 million people. It’s also one of China’s nine ‘National Central Cities’.
2. Guangzhou once was the capital of China
Guangzhou held the accolade of being the capital city of China three times. Between 1925 and 1927 it was the capital of Nationalist China. It once again became the capital city in 1931 and then again in 1949 towards the end of the Chinese Civil War. It was also the capital of the Nanyue Kingdom (204–111 BC), and the Southern Ming dynasty from 1646 to 1647.
3. Guangzhou is home to the second tallest tower in China
The Canton Tower – also called the Guangzhou Tower – is in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou. It is a multipurpose observation tower that is 600-meters tall. It took six years to build and when it opened in 2010 for the 2010 Asian Games, it was one of the tallest towers in the world – replacing the CN Tower. As of 2022, it is the second-tallest tower in China, after the Shanghai Tower, and is the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world.
4. Guangzhou has one of the oldest mosques in the world
The Huaisheng Mosque, also known as the Lighthouse Mosque, and the Great Mosque of Canton is the main mosque of Guangzhou. It has been rebuilt many times over its history, but experts believe that the mosque is over 1,300 years ago, which not only makes it the oldest mosque in China, but one of the oldest mosques in the world. Huaisheng Mosque constructed in the pagoda-style is characterised by its striking 36-metre pointed minaret.
5. There are a lot of historic sites in Guangzhou
Since the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 207 BC), Guangzhou has been the political, economic, cultural, military and educational centre of southern China. With such a long and rich history, there are some wonderful sites of historical and cultural significance in the city. For instance, the Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, Guangxiao Temple, Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, Huais, The Five Goat Stone Statue, and Temple of the Six Banyan Trees.
6. Guangzhou is the birthplace of Cantonese cuisine
Cantonese cuisine, also called Yue cuisine or Guangdong cuisine, is the cuisine of the Guangdong province of China, particularly Guangzhou. It is one of the Four Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine, and one of the modern Eight Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine. Cantonese cuisine is the most widely served style of Chinese cuisine in the world.
7. Guangzhou Metro is the third-longest in the world
Opened in 1997, the Guangzhou Metro was the fourth metro system in Mainland China after the ones in Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai. With a total length of 589.4km (366.2 miles), the Guangzhou metro system is the third-longest metro system in the world. It is also the third busiest metro system in the world with an annual ridership of 3.029 billion (in 2018).