traditionally known as Xiguan, is named after Lizhi Wan (Litchi
Bay) in the district which is depicted by a poet as "Green
water in the bay, red litchis on both banks." The district
occupies an area of 16.2 square kilometers with a permanent population
of 500,000, and more than 200,000 non-permanent residents.
Liwan District is located in the west of downtown Guangzhou, on
the east and north bank of the Pearl River. It is the center for
transportation with the railway station and Baiyun International
Airport to its north, Renmin Bridge and Pearl River Tunnel to its
south connecting both banks of the river, Pearl River Bridge to
its west connecting Nanhai and Foshan, Guangzhou South freight terminal
of Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and Guangzhou Xinfeng Dock to its southwest,
107 National Highway and Guangzhou-Foshan Highway connecting with
Guangzhou-Shenzhen Highway toward Hong Kong, Number One Route of
Guangzhou Subway passing through the entire district; all these
create a complete transportation network including water, land and
air routes in the district. Liwan District is therefore a unique
attraction for business people.
Shangxiajiu Pedestrians' Shopping Street is a prosperous commercial
society, with a history of more than one hundred years, and is one
of the most bustling commercial pedestrians' shopping streets in
China and a trademark project of the city. It is also known as the
Xiguan Commercial Corridor and is one of the Top Ten Guangzhou Tourist
Attractions. The street is composed of the unique and ancient architecture
of qilou and teahouses, featuring the characteristics of south European
and local styles. The street hosts Hualin Temple Jadeware Street,
the number one jadeware market in China, and Qingping Market, national
market for agricultural and sideline products as well as traditional
Chinese medicinal materials. More than 1,400 years ago, Dharma,
an accomplished Indian monk who came to China as a missionary, firstly
landed at Xiajiu Road (today's Xilaichudi, the first landing place
of the westerners) and constructed Xilai Temple (today's Hualin
Temple), paving the way for establishing Chinese Buddhism Zen and
Shaolin Temple at Mount Song. Shangxiajiu Pedestrians' Shopping
Street was opened in 1995 and since then, many top state officials
including Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Ye Xuanping and Tung
Chee-hwa have visited the place.
Shisanhang (Thirteen Hongs) was a famous treaty port at the end
of Ming Dynasty and the beginning of Qing Dynasty. It was the only
treaty port open for foreign businessmen in China. Shamian Islet
used to be the foreign settlement for Britain and France and is
now one of the places with the most characteristic European style
in China. There are more than one hundred examples of 20th century
European and American architecture. These stand among the ancient
woods, overlooking the White Swan Pond of the Pearl River, where
you can enjoy wide and variable views.
Xiguan is a Heaven for Gourmets: the local cuisine combines color,
flavor, taste, presenting a form and implied connotation to produce
perfect food; Liwan District is accordingly known as the heaven
for gourmets. There are hundreds of famous foods here including
Nanxin double layer milk custard, Ouchengji fresh shrimp wonton
and noodle with broth, Dechang salted fried pancake, Liwan boat
porridge. The Cantonese style moon cake is popular throughout the
world with Taotaoju, Quxiang Cake house, Lianxianglou and Ronghua
as its leading producers.
Xiguan is famous for its historical folk customs: graceful, gentle
and fashionable Xiguan Ladies, painting and calligraphy as well
as Cantonese opera. The famous Lingnan (south of the five ridges)
painting school originated from Xiguan; both Guangdong music and
Guangdong opera enjoy great popularity among local people here,
where there are dozens of private opera troupes, making Xiguan the
Hometown of Cantonese Opera.
Top architectural culture in south Guangdong: Chens Academy is a
key historical site and enjoys national protection and demonstrates
the highest achievements of Lingnan architecture. The main halls
and corridors are decorated with stone, brick, wood, porcelain,
and clay carvings, iron casts, door paintings and wall paintings.
All of these are exquisitely made with skillful techniques. Guo
Moruo once praised: "People can produce what the nature produces,
yet the nature can not surpass what people produce." In the
1920s, Chens Academy was listed as one of the world's architectural
masterpieces by international scholars. Xiguan civil house demonstrates
the unique style of the place and houses with the collection of
Xiguan folk customs, featuring detailed decoration, exquisite handcrafts,
Tang Long doors and Manchu windows.
Guangdong Opera Luanyu
Guangdong Opera Luanyu Hall
is located at 7-1, Yongqing Lane 2, Ennin Road, Xiguan. Luanyutang
used to be called Dehe Hall, a branch of Guangdong Opera Bahe Hall
and an acrobatic school of Guangdong Opera. It has a wooden gate,
measuring 4m x 1.1m x 0.08m and has no cracks. It was the former
gate of Huangsha Bahe Hall. After more than one hundred years of
weathering and wars, it is as new as it was then. It was once an
exhibit at a Guangzhou opera exposition. The spacious hall is furnished
with suanzhi tables and chairs in ancient styles, a red boat stump
donated by Liang Jinfeng, the ex-martial skill master, and photos
of his 108 martial skills to be learned by younger generations.
The Huaguang Palace on the second floor, measuring 3m x 2.7m x 0.9m,
is decorated with traditional brocade streamers and table coverings.
In the palace are carved figures of Master Tian and Master Dou,
Master Zhang Qian and Master Huaguang. On the lunar dates of March
24, 28 and September 28, their masters' respective birthdays, especially
on September 29, the birthday of Master Huaguang, the birthday anniversary
ceremony is the grandest with over two hundred worshipers present.
It is believed that Master Huaguang is the God of Fire and is a
savior master also known as three-eyed Huaguang. Guangdong opera
artists in San Francisco, Singapore and Hong Kong all respectively
hold grand ceremonies in memory of Master Huaguang.
Unlike Beijing opera or Kunqu
opera, Guangdong opera is not celebrated outside China, but it has
gained a poetic name, "Red Bean in the Southern Land".
As a poem goes, "Red bean in the southern land is a carrier
of love." The name reminds us of the sad touching melody that
touches the heart and soul of the Guangdong people for it is a faithful
expression of their nostalgia in their minds.
At Xiguan there is a road called Enning Road. By this road there
used to be some novel architecture known to every overseas Chinese,
Bahe Hall. This name is thunderous, lingering and intimate to Bahe
artists no less than Dishifu.
Bahe Hall is a professional society of Guangdong opera artists,
established in Foshan and formerly known as "Qionghua Hall".
As Guangdong opera artists were involved in Taiping Heavenly Kingdom,
Qionghua Hall was destroyed by the Qing government in the 4th year
of Emperor Xianfeng's rule, with some artists killed. Some left
their homes or went abroad and some fled to Huangsha of Xiguan.
In the 15th year of Emperor Guangxu's rule and at the end of the
Qing Dynasty (1889), Guangdong opera artists gained the support
from Liang Tongshan, a scholar who firmly upheld justice and helped
them by appealing to the imperial court and finally won the case.
Guangdong opera was justified and regained its glory. After that,
the survivors bought land at Huangsha and constructed a huge building
which could accommodate a thousand people. The building was Bahe
Hall and it surprised and encouraged the Chinese all over the world.
Bahe was alive as a wonder in people's conversation. Huangsha,
which had remained unknown before, grew to be a busy business center
of Xiguan and brought Guangzhou to her heyday because of all the
In the noisy city, Bahe Hall was a recreational resort during sleepless
nights. It was bustling with bright and colorful fireworks, brilliant
lights, music and singing, with renowned Guangdong opera reformers
on the stage and with talks and negotiations going on about performances.
Numerous opera fans, amateurs and admirers were mad about operas,
choosing and listening to operas while making excited comments.
Large numbers of Guangdong opera fanciers emerged and gained a reputation
at the right moment.
In 1937, Bahe Hall was bombarded and raised to the ground by Japanese
planes. Two years after the victory over Japan (1946), overseas
Bahe artists all hoped to restore their society. They put on charity
performances to collect money and constructed the present Guangdong
Opera Bahe Friendship Promotion Society formerly known as Bahe Hall.
Bahe refers to the eight costumes and paraphernalia put together,
including costumes, actors and actresses, musical instruments, paintings,
etc. which are indispensable for opera performances.
Bahe Hall is significant although it is small and located among
the urban houses. It is a tremendous attraction with great cohesiveness
to Guangdong opera artists. On the three walls of the hall are posters
depicting performances, photographs of great Guangdong opera artists
who are familiar to opera fans, such as Chen Xinghan, Guan Dexing,
Liang Shaojia, Ren Jianhui, Baixuexian, Liang Xingbo and Deng Biyun
and also well-known movie and TV artists from Hong Kong, such as
Wang Mingquan, Luo Jiaying, Li Xiangqin and Zhen Shaoqiu. Bahe Hall
has branches everywhere in the world where there are Chinese and
Guangdong opera performances. Bahe artists all over the world deem
Guangzhou Bahe as the origin of Bahe arts for her historical connection
with the world and her cultural profundity. On every birthday anniversary
of the Bahe masters, Bahe artists from Guangzhou and Hong Kong gather
at Bahe Hall, the center of Bahe artists. A public Bahe graveyard
has been constructed in Guangzhou as a token of Bahe spirit and