Flowery Pagoda Area
Tucked away within more modern developments, impressively built landmarks from centuries past remain to be enjoyed. Among the most striking – and readily accessible – are the Flowery Pagoda and Guangxiao Temple. Only a short walk from each other, these historic sights feature extensive areas of increasingly well-restored interwar streetscapes between the two temple complexes. Many buildings contain striking geometric designs with Art-Deco influences. Gu Guangxiao Temple – also kno known as the Temple of Bright Filial Piety, was originally built in the 3rd century AD, and e extensively rebuilt during t the Tang and Sung periods (7th to 12th centuries). T The present complex c contains historic links to th the development of Zen Bu Buddhism in China. Your ¥5 ($0.8 ($0.80) entry ticket will get you a discount of equal value at the attached vegetarian restaurant, which serves a basic meal of rice, soup and vegetarian soong for about ¥15- ¥25 ($2.40-$4). A more varied meal can be had for about ¥50 ($8)
Also known as the Six Banyans Temple, the Flowery Pagoda was one of the few locations in the city which, prior to treaty revisions in the 1840s, foreigners could visit. The pagoda became world famous somewhat by accident, as it featured on “Willow Pattern” plates, a renowned Canton export for more than two centuries. Entry is ¥10 ($1.60).
A short walk away, an ancient mosque dates back to the 8th century and illustrates Canton’s early trading connections to the Arab world. Known as the “Lighthouse” mosque for its distinctive minaret, the building can be clearly seen from the street. Modern Guangzhou is closely linked to the Middle East through trade; Arabic script and Silk Road-influenced cuisine abound, and casual eateries serving Middle Eastern food are commonplace throughout Guangzhou.
One stop away by Metro, the Chen Clan Academy (the station bears its name) is a superb example of Lingnan (“South of the Mountain Ranges”) architectural style. Set around extensive courtyards, this magnificent complex was originally built in the 1890s as a gathering place for people bearing the Chen surname.
Restored and open to the public, Chen Clan Academy showcases various forms of distinctive Lingnan decorative art, such as ornately carved brick and plaster work. An excellent tea shop offers superb teapots and other items at competitive prices. Admission is ¥10 ($1.60).