- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Chinese Phrases
Shamian Island (Shāmiàn Dǎo)
Shamian Island (Shāmiàn Dǎo) Review
More than a century ago the Mandarins of Guangzhou designated a 44-acre sandbank outside the city walls in the Pearl River as an enclave for foreign merchants. The foreigners had previously lived and done business in a row of houses known as the Thirteen Factories, near the present Shamian, but local resentment after the Opium Wars—sometimes leading to murderous attacks—made it prudent to confine them to a protected area, which was linked to the city by two bridges that were closed at 10 every night.
The island soon became a bustling township, as trading companies from Britain, the United States, France, Holland, Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Japan built stone mansions along the waterfront. With spacious gardens and private wharves, these served as homes, offices, and warehouses. There were churches for Catholics and Protestants, banks, a yacht club, football grounds, a cricket field, and the Victory hotel.
Shamian was attacked in the 1920s but survived until the 1949 Revolution, when its mansions became government offices or apartment houses and the churches were turned into factories. In recent years, however, the island has resumed much of its old character. Many colonial buildings have been restored, and churches like Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church have been beautifully renovated and reopened to worshippers.
Shamian is now a particularly popular place for expatriates to reside, as it has a relaxing atmosphere. Especially worth visiting is a park with shady walks and benches has been created in the center of the island, where local residents come to chat with friends, walk around with their caged birds, or practice tai chi.
- Address: Guangzhou
- Location: Guangzhou
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
With hot temperatures and sometimes poor air quality, visiting Beijing during the summer months can sometimes be miserable.
However, during our visit we were fortunate to have nice weather as we head from Read more
A short Beijing Metro ride and we surface in search of our destination to experience some more of for us amazing Beijing. Read more
I am travelling with my boyfriend in China this summer. Read more
· News & Features
Stunning beaches, tantalizing food, and veritable vino—we're all about epicurean excellence ... Read more
A history of Moleskine notebooks and a blog for safari lovers are among the things we've been reading... Read more
Nassau is an easily accessible, fun-packed destination for adults and kids alike.... Read more