Guangzhou (simplified Chinese: 广州; traditional Chinese: 廣州; pinyin: Guǎngzhōu ( listen); Yale: Gwóngjāu), traditionally romanised as Canton, is the capital and largest city of Guangdong Province in southeastern China. Located on the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub.
Guangzhou is, at the moment, the 3rd-largest Chinese city, behind Beijing and Shanghai; holds sub-provincial administrative status; and is one of China's five National Central Cities. In 2015 the city's administrative area was estimated to have a population of 13,501,100 and forms part of one of the most populous metropolitan agglomerations on Earth. Some estimates place the population of the built-up area of the Pearl River Delta Mega City as high as 44 million without the Hong Kong SAR and 54 million including it. Guangzhou is identified as a Beta+ Global city. In recent years, there has been a rapidly increasing number of foreign residents and illegal immigrants from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, as well as from Africa. This has led to it being dubbed the "Capital of the Third World". The migrant population from other provinces of China in Guangzhou was 40 percent of the city's total population in 2008. Most of them are rural migrants, and they speak only Mandarin. They have taken on many jobs that the local citizens are unwilling to do.
Guangzhou was long the only Chinese port permitted for most foreign traders. The city proper fell to the British and was opened by the First Opium War. It lost trade to other ports such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, but continued to serve as a major entrepôt. In modern commerce, Guangzhou is best known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest, highest-level, largest-scale and most complete trade fair in China. For the three consecutive years 2013–2015, Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland.
Guǎngzhōu is the pinyin romanisation of the Chinese name 廣州, which was simplified in mainland China to 广州 in the 1950s. This name originally referred to the Imperial Chinese Guang Prefecture. The character 廣 or 广—which also appears in the names Guangdong, Guangxi, and Liangguang—means "broad" or "expansive" and refers to the valley of the Pearl River in comparison with the hill country of Hunan and Fujian by which it was reached by the Chinese. In common with many other Chinese cities, including Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Fuzhou, the seat of the prefecture's government eventually took on its name. It became the municipality's formal designation on 15 February 1921. It is sometimes abbreviated as GZ.
Before the establishment of the prefecture, the town was known as Panyu, a name still borne by one of Guangzhou's districts in the hinterlands. The origin of the name is still uncertain, with 11 various explanations being offered, including that it may have referred to two local mountains. The city has also sometimes been known as Guangzhou Fu or Guangfu after its status as the capital of a commandery. From this latter name, Guangzhou was known to medieval Arabs such as Al-Masudi and Ibn Khordadbeh as Khanfu (خانفو). Under the Southern Han, the city was renamed Xingwang. Under the Qing, it was also known to its inhabitants as simply "The Provincial Capital".
The Chinese abbreviation for Guangzhou is 穗, after its nickname "Rice City". As late as the early 20th century, most of the city continued to be made up of rice paddies. The city has long borne the nickname City of Rams or City of the Five Rams from the five stones at the old Temple of the Five Immortals said to have been the sheep or goats ridden by the Taoist culture heroes credited with introducing rice cultivation to the area around the time of the city's foundation. The former name "City of the Immortals" came from the same story. The more recent City of Flowers is usually taken as a simple reference to the area's greenery.
The former name "Canton" derived from Portuguese Cantão or Ciudad de Cantão, a muddling of dialectical pronunciations of "Guangdong" (e.g., Hakka Kóng-tûng). Although it originally and chiefly applied to the walled city, it was also used in English in reference to Guangdong generally. It was adopted as the Postal Map Romanization of Guangzhou and remained in common use until the gradual adoption of pinyin. As an adjective, it is still used in describing the people, language, and culture of Guangzhou and Guangdong. The 19th-century name "Kwang-chow Foo" derived from Nanjing Mandarin and the town's status as a prefectural capital.
A settlement now known as Nanwucheng was present in the area by 1100 BC. Some traditional Chinese histories placed Nanwucheng's founding during the reign of Ji Yan, king of Zhou from 314–256 BC. It was said to have consisted of little more than a stockade of bamboo and mud.
Panyu was established on the east bank of the Pearl River in 214 BC to serve as a base for the Qin Empire's first failed invasion of the Baiyue lands in southern China. Legendary accounts claimed the soldiers at Panyu were so vigilant that they did not remove their armor for three years.Gray (1875), p. 3 Upon the fall of the Qin, General Zhao Tuo established his own kingdom of Nanyue and made Panyu its capital in 204 BC. It remained independent through the Chu-Han Contention, although Zhao negotiated recognition of his independence in exchange for his nominal submission to the Han in 196 BC. Archaeological evidence shows that Panyu was an expansive commercial centre: in addition to items from central China, archaeologists have found remains originating from Southeast Asia, India, and even Africa. Upon Zhao Yingqi's death in 115 BC, his younger son Zhao Xing was named as his successor in violation of Chinese primogeniture. By 113 BC, his Chinese mother, the Empress Dowager Jiu (樛) had prevailed upon him to submit Nanyue as a formal part of the Han Empire. The native prime minister Lü Jia (呂嘉) launched a coup, killing Han ambassadors along with the king, his mother, and their supporters. A successful ambush then annihilated a Han force which had been sent to arrest him. The enraged Emperor Wu launched a massive river- and sea-borne invasion: six armies under Lu Bode and Yang Pu took Panyu and annexed Nanyue by the end of 111 BC.
Incorporated into the Han Empire, Panyu became a provincial capital. In AD 226, it became the seat of Guang Prefecture, which gave it its modern name. The Old Book of Tang described Guangzhou as important port in southern China. Direct routes connected the Middle East and China, as shown in records of a Chinese prisoner returning home from Iraq twelve years after his capture at Talas. Relations were not always peaceful: Muslims sacked the city on 30 October 758 and were massacred by the Chinese rebel Huang Chao in 878, along with the city's Jews, Christians, and Parsis.
Amid the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms that followed the collapse of the Tang Dynasty, the Later Liang governor Liu Yan used his base at Panyu to establish a "Great Yue" or "Southern Han" empire, which lasted from 917 to 971. The region enjoyed considerable cultural and economic success in this period. From the 10th to 12th century, there are records that the large foreign communities were not exclusively male, but included "Persian women". Guangzhou was visited by the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta during his 14th-century journey around the world; he detailed the process by which the Chinese constructed their large ships in the port's shipyards.
Shortly after the Hongwu Emperor's declaration of the Ming Dynasty, he reversed his earlier support of foreign trade and imposed the first of a series of sea bans (haijin). These banned private foreign trade upon penalty of death for the merchant and exile for his family and neighbors. The Yuan-era maritime intendancies of Guangzhou, Quanzhou, and Ningbo were closed in 1384 and legal trade became limited to the tribute delegations sent to or by official representatives of foreign governments. The policies exacerbated "Japanese" pirate attacks in the area until their removal in 1567.
Following the Portuguese conquest of Malacca, Rafael Perestrello travelled to Guangzhou as a passenger on a native junk in 1516. His report induced Fernão Pires de Andrade to sail to the city with eight ships the next year, but De Andrade's exploration was understood as spying and his brother Simão and others began attempting to monopolize trade, enslaving Chinese women and children, engaging in piracy, and fortifying the island of Tamão. Rumors even circulated that Portuguese were eating the children. The Guangzhou administration was charged with driving them off: they bested the Portuguese at the Battle of Tunmen and in Xicao Bay; held a diplomatic mission hostage in a failed attempt to pressure the restoration of the sultan of Malacca, who had been accounted a Ming vassal; and, after placing them in cangues and keeping them for most of a year, ultimately executed 23 by lingchi.</ref> With the help of local pirates, the "Folangji" then carried out smuggling at Macao, Lampacau, and St John's Island (now Shangchuan), until Leonel de Sousa legalized their trade with bribes to Admiral Wang Bo (汪柏) and the 1554 Luso-Chinese Accord. The Portuguese undertook not to raise fortifications and to pay customs dues; three years later, after providing the Chinese with assistance suppressing their former pirate allies, the Portuguese were permitted to warehouse their goods at Macau instead of Guangzhou itself.
After the fall of Fuzhou in October 1646, the Longwu Emperor's brother Zhu Yuyue fled by sea to Guangzhou. On 11 December, he declared himself the Shaowu Emperor, borrowing his imperial regalia from local theatre troupes. He led a successful offense against his cousin Zhu Youlang but was deposed and executed on 20 January 1647 when the Ming turncoat Li Chengdong (李成東) sacked the city on behalf of the Qing.
The Qing became somewhat more open to foreign trade after gaining control of Taiwan in 1683. The Portuguese from Macau and Spaniards from Manila returned, as did private Muslim, Armenian, and English traders. From 1699 to 1714, the French and British East India Companies sent a ship or two each year; the Austrian Ostend General India Co. arrived in 1717, the Dutch East India Co. in 1729, the Danish Asiatic Co. in 1731, and the Swedish East India Co. the next year. These were joined by the occasional Prussian or Trieste Company vessel. The first independent American ship arrived in 1784 and the first colonial Australian one in 1788. By that time, Guangzhou was one of the world's great ports, organised under the Canton System. The main exports were tea and porcelain. As a meeting place of merchants from all over the world, Guangzhou became a major contributor to the rise of the modern global economy.
In the 19th century, most of the city's buildings were still only one or two storeys. The major structures were the Plain Minaret of the Huaisheng Mosque, the Flower Pagoda of the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, and the guard tower known as the 5-Storey Pagoda. The northern hills, since urbanized, were bare and covered with traditional graves. The brick city walls were about 6 miles (10 km) in circumference, 25 feet (8 m) high, and 20 feet (6 m) wide. Its eight main gates and two water gates all held guards during the day and were closed at night. The wall rose to incorporate a hill on its northern side and was surrounded on the other three by a moat which, along with the canals, functioned as the city's sewer, emptied daily by the river's tides. A partition wall with four gates divided the northern "old town" from the southern "new town" closer to the river; the suburb of Xiguan ("West Gate") stretched beyond and the boats of fishers, traders, and Tanka ("boat people") almost entirely concealed the riverbank for about 4 miles (6 km). It was common for homes to have a storefront facing the street and to treat their courtyards as a kind of warehouse. The city was part of a network of signal towers so effective that messages could be relayed to Beijing—about 1,200 miles (1,931 km) away—in less than 24 hours.
The Canton System was maintained until the outbreak of the First Opium War in 1839. Following a series of battles in the Pearl River Delta, the British captured Guangzhou itself on 18 March 1841. The Second Battle of Canton was fought two months later. Following the Qing Empire's 1842 treaty with Great Britain, Guangzhou lost its privileged trade status as more and more treaty ports were opened to more and more countries, usually including extraterritorial enclaves. Amid the decline of Qing prestige and the chaos of the Taiping Rebellion, the Punti and Hakka waged a series of clan wars from 1855 to 1867 in which 1 million people died. The third pandemic of plague reached Guangzhou in 1894 and caused the death of 60,000 people in a few weeks.
The concession for the Canton–Hankow Railway was awarded to the American China Development Co. in 1898. It completed its branch line west to Foshan and Sanshui before being engulfed in a diplomatic crisis after a Belgian consortium bought a controlling interest and the Qing cancelled its concession. J.P. Morgan was awarded millions in damages and the line to Wuchang wasn't completed until 1936 and a unified Beijing–Guangzhou Railway waited until the completion of Wuhan's Yangtze River Bridge in 1957.
During the late Qing Dynasty, Guangzhou was the site of failed revolts such as the Uprisings of 1895 and 1911 to overthrow the Qing; the 72 identifiable bodies found after the latter uprising are remembered and honoured as the city's 72 Martyrs in the Huanghuagang ("Yellow Flower Mound") Mausoleum.
All these failed revolutionary attempts would eventually lead to the Xinhai Revolution that took place all over China including Guangzhou, which successfully overthrowed the Qing Dynasty established a new Han Chinese ruled republic, it also finally ended more than 4,000 years of dynastic rule in China with the abolishment of the Chinese monarchy.
After the assassination of Song Jiaoren and Yuan Shikai's attempts to remove Nationalists from power; Hu Hanmin joined the 1913 Second Revolution against him but was forced to flee to Japan with Sun Yat-sen after its failure. Upon Yuan's attempt to declare himself the Hongxian Emperor of China, Guangdong again revolted and became effectively independent on 25 June 1917 with help from the naval commander at Shanghai. In August, Sun Yat-sen established the Guangzhou Military Government as part of the Constitutional Protection Movement. It borrowed $2,000,000 from the German Empire for its army and navy, then declared war on it on September 13. The new Republic of China merged the eastern part of Nanhai County and the northern part of Panyu County with Guangzhou in 1918 and established an urban council to govern it.
Amid the Warlord Era, the Guangzhou government was overwhelmed by Lu Rongting's Guangxi Clique. Sun fled to Shanghai in November 1918 until Chen Jiongming restored him in October 1920 during the Yuegui Wars. The name Guangzhou was made official the next year. In January 1922, the Nationalists organized a major strike among the tens of thousands of dockworkers and sailors in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. On 16 June, Ye Ju assaulted Guangzhou's presidential palace after Chen and Sun differed over whether to accept an accommodation with the Zhili Clique's government in Beijing; Sun had already fled but his wife narrowly escaped shelling and rifle fire before meeting him on the gunboat Yongfeng under Chiang Kai-shek. In autumn, Sun and his party raised more than 500,000 Chinese dollars from supporters to recapture Guangzhou. Their mercenaries removed Chen on 15 January 1923, and he returned to the city on 21 February. His armies were then kept in the field largely through tax levies collected through the city's efficient police force. In December, he planned to seize Guangzhou's maritime customs duties but foreign gunboats led him to drop the plan.
Sun and Chiang used Soviet funds and weapons to develop the Whampoa Military Academy on Changzhou from 1924 on. In August, they acted to confiscated weapons being purchased by the Canton Merchants' Volunteer Corps. This led to rioting and a military stand-off in the western suburbs from 10–15 October; its suppression damaged Xiguan with large fire. During Sun's life, his son Sun Fo served as mayor of Guangzhou when he was in power from 1920 on; his role did not survive Sun's death by cancer in 1925. The "Canton Coup" on 20 March 1926 saw Chiang solidify his control over the Nationalists and their army against Wang Jingwei, the party's left wing, its Communist allies, and its Soviet advisors. By May, he had ended civilian control of the military and begun his Northern Expedition against the warlords of the north. Ultimately successful, it turned him into the country's paramount leader. Mao Zedong worked in the city, running the 6th term of the KMT's Peasant Movement Training Institute from May to September 1926. In 1927, Zhang Fakui recovered Guangzhou from the New Guangxi Clique. Zhang's suppression of the 11 December Guangzhou Uprising saw even greater numbers of Communists and suspect workers and students killed than at the Shanghai Massacre earlier in the year.
Amid the closing months of the Chinese Civil War, Guangzhou briefly served as the capital of the Republic of China after the fall of Nanjing to communism in April 1949. The People's Liberation Army entered the city on 14 October 1949. Amid a massive exodus to Hong Kong and Macau, the Nationalists blew up the Haizhu Bridge across the Pearl River to protect the communist government's flight to Chongqing. The Cultural Revolution had a large effect on the city with much of its temples, churches and other monuments destroyed during this chaotic period.
The People's Republic of China initiated building projects including new housing on the banks of the Pearl River to adjust the city's boat people to life on land. Since the 1980s, the city's close proximity to Hong Kong and Shenzhen and its ties to overseas Chinese have made it one of the major beneficiaries of China's opening up under Deng Xiaoping. Beneficial tax reforms in the 1990s have also helped the city's industrialisation and development.
The municipality was expanded in the year 2000, with Huadu and Panyu joining the city as urban districts and Conghua and Zengcheng as more rural counties. The former districts of Dongshan and Fangcun were abolished in 2005, merged into Yuexiu and Liwan respectively. They were replaced by Nansha and Luogang. The former was carved out of Panyu, the latter from parts of Baiyun, Tianhe, Zengcheng, and an exclave within Huangpu. The National People's Congress approved a development plan for the Pearl River Delta in January 2009; on March 19 the same year, the Guangzhou and Foshan municipal governments agreed to establish a framework to merge the two cities. In 2014, Luogang merged into Huangpu and both Conghua and Zengcheng counties were upgraded to districts. Guangzhou was then the most populous consolidated district-governed city in China until Beijing overtook it the next year.
- Nieuhof's imaginative 1665 map of "Kanton", made from second-hand accounts while Europeans were still forbidden from entering the walled city
- Lai Afong's photograph of a commercial street in Guangzhou c. 1880
- The Sacred Heart Cathedral towering over the one- and two-storey homes of old Guangzhou c. 1880
- Street scene in Guangzhou, 1919
- The US Navy's Dept of Navigation's 1920 map of "Canton"
- The Guangzhou Bund in 1930, with rows of Tanka boats.
- A short film of Guangzhou in 1937
- Downtown Guangzhou (2011)
The old town of Guangzhou was near Baiyun Mountain on the east bank of the Pearl River (Zhujiang) about 80 miles (129 km) from its junction with the South China Sea and about 300 miles (483 km) below its head of navigation. It commanded the rich alluvial plain of the Pearl River Delta, with its connection to the sea protected at the Humen Strait. The present city spans 7,434.4 square kilometres (2,870.4 sq mi) on both sides of the river from 112° 57′ to 114° 03′ E longitude and 22° 26′ to 23° 56′ N latitude in south-central Guangdong. The Pearl is the 3rd-largest river of China. Baiyun Mountain is now locally referred to as the city's "lung" (市肺).
The elevation of the prefecture generally increases from southwest to northeast, with mountains forming the backbone of the city and the ocean comprising the front. Tiantang Peak (天堂顶, "Heavenly Peak") is the highest point of elevation at 1,210 metres (3,970 ft) above sea level.
There are 47 different types of minerals and also 820 ore fields in Guangzhou, including 18 large and medium-sized oil deposits. The major minerals are granite, cement limestone, ceramic clay, potassium, albite, salt mine, mirabilite, nepheline, syenite, fluorite, marble, mineral water, and geothermal mineral water. Since Guangzhou is located in the water-rich area of southern China, it has a wide water area with lots of rivers and water systems, accounting for 10% of the total land area. The rivers and streams improve the landscape and keep the ecological environment of the city stable.
Located just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Guangzhou has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) influenced by the East Asian monsoon. Summers are wet with high temperatures, high humidity, and a high heat index. Winters are mild and comparatively dry. Guangzhou has a lengthy monsoon season, spanning from April through September. Monthly averages range from 13.6 °C (56.5 °F) in January to 28.6 °C (83.5 °F) in July, while the annual mean is 22.6 °C (72.7 °F). Autumn, from October to December, is very moderate, cool and windy, and is the best travel time. The relative humidity is approximately 68 percent, whereas annual rainfall in the metropolitan area is over 1,700 mm (67 in). With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 17 percent in March and April to 52 percent in November, the city receives 1,628 hours of bright sunshine annually, considerably less than nearby Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Extreme temperatures have ranged from 0 °C (32 °F) to 39.1 °C (102.4 °F). The last recorded snowfall in the city was on 24 January 2016, 87 years after the second last recorded snowfall.
|Climate data for Guangzhou (normals 1971–2000, extremes 1961–2000)|
|Record high °C (°F)|| 27.2
|Average high °C (°F)|| 18.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)|| 13.9
|Average low °C (°F)|| 10.3
|Record low °C (°F)|| 0.1
|Average rainfall mm (inches)|| 40.9
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)||7.5||11.2||15.0||16.3||18.3||18.2||15.9||16.8||12.5||7.1||5.5||4.9||149.2|
|Average relative humidity (%)||72||78||82||84||84||84||82||82||78||72||66||66||77.5|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||118.5||71.6||62.4||65.1||104.0||140.2||202.0||173.5||170.2||181.8||172.7||166.0||1,628|
|Percent possible sunshine||35||22||17||17||26||35||49||43||46||51||52||50||36.9|
|Source: China Meteorological Administration, all-time extreme temperature|
|Administrative divisions of Guangzhou|
|Division code||Division||Area in km2||Population 2010||Seat||Postal code||Subdivisions|
|Subdistricts||Towns||Residential communities||Administrative villages|
|Divisions in Chinese and varieties of romanizations|
|English||Chinese||Pinyin||Guangdong Romanization||Kejiahua Pinyin Fang'an|
|Guangzhou City||广州市||Guǎngzhōu Shì||guong2 zeo1 xi5||kong3 ziu1 si4|
|Liwan District||荔湾区||Lìwān Qū||lei6 wan1 kêu1||lai4 van1 ki1|
|Yuexiu District||越秀区||Yuèxiù Qū||yud6 seo3 kêu1||yet6 siu4 ki1|
|Haizhu District||海珠区||Hǎizhū Qū||hoi2 ju1 kêu1||hoi2 zu1 ki1|
|Tianhe District||天河区||Tiānhé Qū||tin6 ho4 kêu1||tien1 ho2 ki1|
|Baiyun District||白云区||Báiyún Qū||bak6 wan4 kêu1||pak6 yun2 ki1|
|Huangpu District||黄埔区||Huángpǔ Qū||wong4 bou3 kêu1||vong2 bu4 ki1|
|Panyu District||番禺区||Pānyú Qū||pun1 yu4 kêu1||pan1 ngi2 ki1|
|Huadu District||花都区||Huādū Qū||fa1 dou1 kêu1||fa1 du1 ki1|
|Nansha District||南沙区||Nánshā Qū||nam4 sa1 kêu1||nam2/lam2 sa1 ki1|
|Conghua District||从化区||Cónghuà Qū||cung4 fa3 kêu1||vung2 fa3 ki1|
|Zengcheng District||增城区||Zēngchéng Qū||zeng1 xing4 kêu1||zen1 sang2 ki1|
Guangzhou is the main manufacturing hub of the Pearl River Delta, one of mainland China's leading commercial and manufacturing regions. In 2013, the GDP reached ¥1542 billion (US$248 billion), per capita was ¥120,515 (US $19,459). Guangzhou is considered one of the most prosperous cities in China. But due to rapid industrialisation, it is also considered one of the most polluted cities.
The Canton Fair, formally the "China Import and Export Fair", is held every year in April and October by the Ministry of Trade. Inaugurated in the spring of 1957, the fair is a major event for the city. It is the trade fair with the longest history, highest level, largest scale in China. From the 104th session onwards, the fair moved to the new Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center (广州国际会展中心) in Pazhou, from the older complex in Liuhua. The GICEC is served by two stations on Metro Line 8. Since the 104th session, the Canton Fair has been arranged in three phases instead of two phases.
Guangzhou is one the largest hubs of China's illegal drug trade.
- Cantonese is one of China's most famous and popular regional cuisines, with a saying stating simply to "Eat in Guangzhou" (食在广州)
- Cantonese sculpture includes work in jade, wood, and (now controversially) ivory.
- Canton porcelain developed over the past three centuries as one of the major forms of exportware. It is now known within China for its highly colorful style.
- Cantonese embroidery is one of China's four main styles of the art and is represented in Guangzhou, although its principal centre is at Chaozhou.
- Zhujiang Beer, a pale lager, is one of China's most successful brands. It is made in Guangzhou from water piped directly to the brewery from a natural spring.
- Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone
- Guangzhou Nansha Export Processing Zone
The Export Processing Zone was founded in 2005. Its total planned area is 1.36 km2 (0.53 sq mi). It is located in Nansha District and it belongs to the provincial capital, Guangzhou. The major industries encouraged in the zone include automobile assembly, biotechnology and heavy industry. It is situated 54 kilometres (34 miles) (70 minutes drive) south of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and close to Nansha Port. It also has the advantage of Guangzhou Metro line 4 which is being extended to Nansha Ferry Terminal.
- Guangzhou Free Trade Zone
The zone was founded in 1992. It is located in the east of Huangpu District and near to Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone. It is also very close to Guangzhou Baiyun Airport. The major industries encouraged in the zone include international trade, logistics, processing and computer software.
Malls and pedestrian streets
- 101 Dynamics
- Beijing Road
- China Plaza
- Liwan Plaza
- Teem Plaza
- Victory Plaza
- Wanguo Plaza
- Zhengjia Square (Grandview Mall Aquarium)
- Wanda square
- Happy Valley (Guangzhou)
- TaiKoo Hui
- Parc Central
- Rock Square
- Aeon Mall
- GT Land Plaza
The 2010 census found Guangzhou's population to be 12.78 million. As of 2014, it was estimated at 13,080,500, with 11,264,800 urban residents. Its population density is thus around 1,800 people per km². The built-up area of the Guangzhou proper connects directly to several other cities. The built-up area of the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone covers around 17,573 square kilometres (6,785 sq mi) and has been estimated to house 44 million people, including Guangzhou's nine urban districts, Shenzhen (10.36m), Dongguan (8.22m), Zhongshan (3.12m), most of Foshan (7.2m), Jiangmen (1.82m), Zhuhai (890k), and Huizhou's Huiyang District (760k). The total population of this agglomeration is over 54 million after including the population of the adjacent Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The area's fast-growing economy and high demand for labour has produced a huge "floating population" of migrant workers. Up to 30 million migrants reside in the area least six months each year. In 2008, about 5 million of Guangzhou's permanent residents were hukouless migrants.
Most of Guangzhou's population is Han Chinese. Most of the local Cantonese people speak Cantonese as their first language, while most migrants speak forms of Mandarin. In 2010, each language was the native tongue of roughly half of the city's population, although significant numbers speak other dialects as well. As with elsewhere in the People's Republic of China, the household registration system (hukou) limits migrants' access to residences, educational institutions, and other public benefits. In May 2014, legally employed migrants in Guangzhou were permitted to receive a hukou card allowing them to marry and obtain permission for their pregnancies in the city, rather than having to return to their official hometowns as previously.
Historically, the Cantonese people have made up a sizeable part of the 19th- and 20th-century Chinese diaspora and many overseas Chinese have ties to Guangdong. This is particularly true in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Demographically, the only significant immigration into China has been by overseas Chinese, but Guangzhou sees many foreign tourists, workers, and residents from the usual locations such as the United States. Notably, it is also home to thousands of African expatriates, including people from Nigeria, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
When the first line of the Guangzhou Metro opened in 1997, Guangzhou was the fourth city in Mainland China to have an underground railway system, behind Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai. Currently the metro network is made up of nine lines, covering a total length of 266 km (165 mi). A long-term plan is to make the city's metro system expand to over 500 km (310 mi) by 2020 with 15 lines in operation.
As of January 2016 the lines of Guangzhou Metro include:
- Line 1: Guangzhou East Railway Station–Xilang Station
- Line 2: Jiahewanggang Station–Guangzhou South Railway Station
- Line 3
- Line 4: Huangcun Station–Jinzhou Station
- Line 5: Jiaokou Station–Wenchong Station
- Line 6: Xunfenggang Station–Changban Station
- Line 8: Fenghuang Xincun Station–Wanshengwei Station
- Guangfo Line: Yangang Station–Kuiqi Lu Station
- APM: Linhexi Station–Canton Tower Station
The Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit (GBRT) system which was introduced in 2010, is the world's 2nd-largest Bus Rapid Transit system with 1,000,000 passenger trips daily and 26,900 pphpd during the peak hour (second only to the TransMilenio BRT system in Bogota). The system averages 1 bus every 10 seconds or 350 per hour in a single direction and contains the world's longest BRT stations—around 260 m (850 ft) including bridges.
In 2009, it was reported that all 9,424 buses and 17,695 taxis in Guangzhou would be operating on LPG-fuel by 2010 to promote clean energy for transport and improve the environment ahead of the 2010 Asian Games which were held in the city. At present, Guangzhou is the city that uses the most LPG-fueled vehicles in the world, and at the end of 2006, 6,500 buses and 16,000 taxis were using LPG, taking up 85 percent of all buses and taxis.
Effective January 1, 2007, the municipal government banned motorcycles in Guangdong's urban areas. Motorcycles found violating the ban are confiscated. The Guangzhou traffic bureau claimed to have reported reduced traffic problems and accidents in the downtown area since the ban.
Guangzhou's main airport is the Baiyun International Airport in Huadu District; it opened on August 5, 2004. This airport is the second busiest airport in terms of traffic movements in China. It replaced the old Baiyun International Airport, which was very close to the city centre and failed to meet the city's fast-growing air traffic demand. The old Baiyun International Airport was in operation for 72 years.
Guangzhou is the terminus of the Beijing–Guangzhou, Guangzhou–Shenzhen, Guangzhou–Maoming and Guangzhou–Meizhou–Shantou conventional speed railways. In late 2009, the Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway started service, with multiple unit trains covering 980 km (608.94 mi) at a top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph). In January 2011, the Guangzhou–Zhuhai Intercity Railway started service at an average speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). In December 2014, the Guiyang–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway and Nanning-Guangzhou Railway began service with trains running at top speeds of 250 km/h (155 mph) and 200 km/h (124 mph), respectively. The Guangdong Through Train departs from the Guangzhou East railway station and arrives at the Hung Hom KCR station in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The route is approximately 182 km (113 mi) in length and the ride takes less than two hours. Frequent coach services are also provided with coaches departing every day from different locations (mostly major hotels) around the city.
There are daily high-speed catamaran services between Nansha Ferry Terminal and Lianhua Shan Ferry Terminal in Guangzhou and the Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal, as well as between Nansha Ferry Terminal and Macau Ferry Pier in Hong Kong.
- Guangfu, the local dialect of Cantonese
- Yue or Cantonese cuisine, one of China's eight major culinary traditions
- Yue or Cantonese opera, usually divided into martial and literary performances
- Xiguan, the area west of the former walled city
The Guangzhou Opera House & Symphony Orchestra also perform classical Western music and Chinese compositions in their style. Cantonese music is a style of traditional Chinese instrumental music, while Cantopop is the local form of rock-and-roll and pop music.
Qing-era Guangzhou had around 124 religious pavilions, halls, and temples. Today, in addition to the Buddhist Association, Guangzhou also has a Taoist Association, a Jewish community, and a history with Christianity and Islam.
Taoism and Chinese folk religion are still represented at a few of the city's temples. Among the most important is the Temple of the Five Immortals, honoring the five immortals credited with introducing rice cultivation at the foundation of the city. The five rams they rode were supposed to have turned into stones upon their departure and gave the city several of its nicknames. Another place of worship is the City God Temple. Guangzhou, like most of southern China, is also notably observant concerning ancestral veneration during occasions like the Tomb Sweeping and Ghost Festivals.
Buddhism is the most prominent religion in Guangzhou. The Zhizhi Temple was founded in AD 233 from the estate of a Wu official; it is said to comprise the residence of Zhao Jiande, the last of the Nanyue kings, and has been known as the Guangxiao Temple ("Temple of Bright Filial Piety") since the Ming. The missionary Bodhidharma is traditionally said to have visited Panyu during the Liu Song or Liang dynasties (5th or 6th century). Around AD 520, Emperor Wu of the Liang ordered the construction of the Baozhuangyan Temple and the Xilai Monastery to store the relics of Cambodian Buddhist saints which had been brought to the city and to house the monks beginning to assemble there. The Baozhuangyan is now known as the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, after a famous poem composed by Su Shi after a visit during the Northern Song. The Xilai Monastery was renamed the Hualin Temple ("Flowery Forest Temple") after its reconstruction during the Qing.
The temples were damaged by both the Republican campaign to "Promote Education with Temple Property" (廟產興學) and the Maoist Cultural Revolution but have been renovated since the opening up that began in the 1980s. The Ocean Banner Temple on Henan Island, once famous in the west as the only tourist spot in Guangzhou accessible to foreigners, has been reopened as the Hoi Tong Monastery.
- The Temple of Bright Filial Piety (Guangxiao)
- The Hall of the 500 Arhats at the Flowery Forest Temple (Hualin) in the 1870s
- The Thousand Buddha Tower at the present-day Hoi Tong Monastery
Nestorian Christians first arrived in China via the overland Silk Road, but suffered during Emperor Wuzong's 845 persecution and were essentially extinct by the year 1000. The Qing-era ban on foreigners limited missionaries until it was abolished following the First Opium War, although the Protestant Robert Morrison was able to perform some work through his service with the British factory. The Catholic archdiocese is housed at Guangzhou's Sacred Heart Cathedral, known locally as the "Stone House". A Gothic Revival edifice which was built by hand from 1861 to 1888 under French direction, its original Latin and French stained-glass windows were destroyed during the wars and amid the Cultural Revolution; they have since been replaced by English ones. The Canton Christian College (1888) and Hackett Medical College for Women (1902) were both founded by missionaries and now form part of Guangzhou's Lingnan. Since the opening up of China in the 1980s, there has been renewed interest in Christianity, but Guangzhou maintains pressure on underground churches which avoid registration with government officials. The Catholic archbishop Dominic Tang was imprisoned without trial for 22 years, but his present successor is recognised by both the Vatican and China's Patriotic Church.
Guangzhou has had a Muslim community since the earliest days of Islam; the native or nativised adherents of the faith are known as the Hui. Huaisheng Mosque is one of the oldest extant mosques in the world, variously said to have been founded by the city's existing Arab community around the time of Muhammad's revelation or by Muhammad's visiting uncle in 627. Muslims sacked the city in 758 and were massacred by the Chinese rebel Huang Chao in 878, along with the Jews, Christians, and Parsis. The Muslims who martyred themselves opposing the Manchu conquest of the city are still honored by a national monument at the tomb of "the Loyal Trio of Muslims". The modern city includes numerous halal restaurants.
From 12–27 November 2010, Guangzhou hosted the 16th Asian Games. The same year, it hosted the first Asian Para Games from December 12 to 19. Combined, these were the largest sporting events the city ever hosted.
Guangzhou also hosted the following major sporting events:
- 1987 The 6th National Games of China
- 1991 The 1st FIFA Women's World Cup
- 2001 The 2001 National Games of China
- 2007 The 8th National Traditional Games of Ethnic Minorities of the People's Republic of China
- 2008 The 49th World Table Tennis Championships
- 2009 The 11th Sudirman Cup: the world badminton mixed team championships
Current professional sports clubs based in Guangzhou include:
|Football||Chinese Super League||1st||Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao||Tianhe Stadium|
|Football||Chinese Super League||1st||Guangzhou R&F||Yuexiushan Stadium|
|Basketball||Chinese Basketball Association||1st||Guangzhou Long-Lions||Tianhe Gymnasium|
|Volleyball||Chinese Volleyball League||2nd||Guangdong Evergrande Women's Volleyball Club||Guangzhou Sport University Gymnasium|
|Baseball||China Baseball League||1st||Guangdong Leopards||Tianhe Sports Center baseball field|
Guangzhou Evergrande FC has risen in recent years to be a powerhouse in association football in the People's Republic of China, having won six consecutive national titles between 2011 and 2016. The team also won the AFC Champions League in 2013 and 2015. The club competed in the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, where it lost 3–0 in the semi-final stage to the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League winners FC Bayern Munich.
The Eight Views of Ram City are Guangzhou's eight most famous tourist attractions. They have varied over time since the Song dynasty, with some being named or demoted by emperors. The following modern list was chosen through public appraisal in 2011:
- "Towers Shining through the New Town"
- "The Pearl River Flowing and Shining": The Pearl River from Bai'etan to Pazhou
- "Cloudy Mountain Green and Tidy": Baiyun Mountain Scenic Area
- "Yuexiu's Grandeur": Yuexiu Hill and Park
- "The Ancient Academy's Lingering Fame": The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall and its folk art museum
- "Liwan's Wonderful Scenery": Liwan Lake
- "Science City, Splendid as Brocade"
- "Wetlands Singing at Night": Nansha Wetlands Park
Parks and gardens
- Baiyun Mountain
- Nansha Wetland Park
- People's Park
- South China Botanical Garden
- Yuexiu Park
- Dongshanhu Park (东山湖公园)
- Liuhuahu Park (流花湖公园)
- Liwanhu Park (荔湾湖公园)
- Luhu Park (麓湖公园)
- Martyrs' Park (广州起义烈士陵园)
- Pearl River Park (珠江公园)
- Yuntai Garden (云台花园)
- Canton Tower
- Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, housing Guangzhou's folk art museum
- Chime-Long Paradise
- Chime-Long Waterpark (长隆水上乐园)
- Guangdong Provincial Museum
- Guangzhou Zoo
- Huaisheng Mosque, site of the Plain Pagoda
- Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
- Peasant Movement Training Institute, an important Maoist site
- Sacred Heart Cathedral or Stone House
- Temple of Bright Filial Piety (Guangxiao)
- Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liurong), site of the Flowery Pagoda
- Shamian or Shameen Island, the old trading compound
- Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, site of Guangzhou's former presidential palace
- Xiguan, the western suburbs of the old city
- Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel on Shamian
- The Canton Cement Factory (est. 1907), which housed Sun Yat-sen from 1923 to 1925
- Canton Custom House (est. 1916), one of the oldest surviving in China.
- The old provincial capitol, now the Museum of Revolutionary History
- Oi Kwan Hotel, Guangzhou's tallest building from 1937 to 1967
Guangzhou has two local radio stations: the provincial Radio Guangdong and the municipal Radio Guangzhou. Together they broadcast in more than a dozen channels. The primary language of both stations is Cantonese. Traditionally only one channel of Radio Guangdong is dedicated to Mandarin Chinese. However, in recent years there has been an increase in Mandarin programmes on most Cantonese channels. Radio stations from cities around Guangzhou mainly broadcast in Cantonese and can be received in different parts of the city, depending on the radio stations' locations and transmission power. The Beijing-based China National Radio also broadcasts Mandarin programmes in the city. Radio Guangdong has a 30-minute weekly English programme, Guangdong Today, which is broadcast globally through the World Radio Network. Daily English news programmes are also broadcast by Radio Guangdong.
Guangzhou has some of the best Chinese-language newspapers and magazines in mainland China, most of which are published by three major newspaper groups in the city, the Guangzhou Daily Press Group, Nanfang Press Corporation, and the Yangcheng Evening News Group. The two leading newspapers of the city are Guangzhou Daily and Southern Metropolis Daily. The former, with a circulation of 1.8 million, has been China's most successful newspaper for 14 years in terms of advertising revenue, while Southern Metropolis Daily is considered one of the most liberal newspapers in mainland China. In addition to Guangzhou's Chinese-language publications, there are a few English magazines and newspapers. The most successful is That's Guangzhou, which started more than a decade ago and has since blossomed into That's PRD, producing expatriate magazines in Beijing and Shanghai as well. It also produces In the Red.
The Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Centre, also known as Guangzhou University Town (广州大学城), is a large tertiary education complex located in the southeast suburbs of Guangzhou. It occupies the entirety of Xiaoguwei Island in Panyu District, covering an area of about 18 square kilometres (7 sq mi). It houses new campuses from ten higher education institutions. The whole Higher Education Mega Centre can eventually accommodate up to 200,000 students, 20,000 teachers, and 50,000 staff. The institutions include:
- Guangdong Pharmaceutical University
- Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
- Guangdong University of Technology
- Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
- Guangzhou University
- Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine
- South China Normal University
- South China University of Technology
- Sun Yat-sen University
- Xinghai Conservatory of Music
Guangzhou's other fully accredited and degree-granting universities and colleges include:
- Guangdong Institute of Science and Technology
- Guangdong Polytechnic Normal University
- Guangdong University of Finance & Economics
- Guangdong University of Finance
- Guangzhou College of South China University of Technology
- Guangzhou Medical University
- Guangzhou Sports University
- Jinan University
- South China Agricultural University
- Southern Medical University
- Zhongkai University of Agriculture and Engineering
The two main comprehensive libraries are Guangzhou Library and Sun Yat-sen Library of Guangdong Province. Guangzhou Library is a public library in Guangzhou. The library has moved to a new building in Zhujiang New Town, which fully opened on 23 June 2013. Sun Yat-sen Library of Guangdong Province has the largest collection of ancient books in Southern China.
Twinnings — Sister Cities
Guangzhou currently maintains sister city agreements with 23 foreign cities.
- Fukuoka, Japan (since 1979)
- Los Angeles, United States (since 1981)
- Manila, Philippines (since 1982)
- Vancouver, Canada (since 1985)
- Sydney, Australia (since 1986)
- Bari, Italy (since 1986)
- Lyon, France (since 1988)
- Frankfurt, Germany (since 1988)
- Auckland, New Zealand (since 1989)
- Gwangju, South Korea (since 1996)
- Linköping, Sweden (since 1997)
- Durban, South Africa (since 2000)
- Bristol, United Kingdom (since 2001)
- Yekaterinburg, Russia (since 2002)
- Huế, Vietnam (since 2003)
- Arequipa, Peru (since 2004)
- Surabaya, Indonesia (since 2005)
- Vilnius, Lithuania (since 2006)
- Birmingham, United Kingdom (since 2006)
- Hambantota, Sri Lanka (since 2007)
- Recife, Brazil (since 2007)
- Tampere, Finland (since 2008)
- Bangkok, Thailand (since 2009)
- Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (since 2011)
- Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (since 2012)
- Rabat, Morocco (since 2013)
- Ahmedabad, India (since 2014)
- Łódź, Poland (since 2014)
- Ecatepec, Mexico (since 2016)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Guangzhou.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Guangzhou.|
|Wikisource has several original texts related to: Guangzhou|
- Guangzhou International: Official website of government of Guangzhou municipality
- Guangzhou, China Network
|Capital of Nanyue
| Succeeded by|
|Capital of China
Republic of China
July 1, 1925 – February 21, 1927
| Succeeded by|
|Capital of China
Republic of China
May 28, 1931 – December 22, 1931
| Succeeded by|
|Capital of China
Republic of China
April 23, 1949 – October 14, 1949
| Succeeded by|