Rugged History: Temples, Churches and Mosques in Guangzhou

Rugged History: Temples, Churches and Mosques in Guangzhou
By Patrick Deloy ,

Even though China's population is largely agnostic nowadays (with estimates ranging from 40%-60%) parts of Taoist and Buddhist belief still have a great influence on the common culture in southern China. Guangdong province was one of the first to get in contact with traders from Europe and, alongside exported goods, European companies often brought Christian missionaries with them to China. Muslim belief, however, mainly came into China via the previously established overland silk roads.

Below we have compiled a list of beautiful temples, churches and a mosque within the Guangzhou city area – whether you are a believer or not they are definitely worth a visit, if only for their beautiful architecture, changing history and extensive interior.

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

Temple of the Six Banyan Trees 六榕寺View In Map

This very centrally located temple was built in 537 during the Liang Dynasty and renamed several times until it was given its final name. Inside you will find an extensive collection of relics as well as the three Buddhist icons Sakyamuni, Amitabha and Maitreya. Every year around spring and Lantern Festival this place will be crowded with locals burning the traditional sticks to ask for godly blessings in the following year.
Add: 87 Liurong Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
地址:  广州市越秀区六榕路8号
Admission: 5 RMB, 10 RMB including Six Banyan Pagoda
Opening hours: 08:30-17:00

Temple of Bright Filial Piety

Temple of Bright Filial Piety 光孝寺View In Map
This temple near the Ximenkou Metro Station occupies an area of about 30,000 square meters and its first buildings date back to the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317- 420). Guangxiao has been declared a national cultural heritage site by the State Council in 1961 and is nowadays entirely run by Buddhist monks.
Add: No.109, Guangxiao Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
地址: 广州市越秀区光孝路109号
Admission: 5 RMB
Opening hours: 08:30-17:00

Nansha Tianhou Palace 南沙天后宫 View In Map
Nansha Tianhou, having been rebuilt just 15 years ago, is by far the youngest of all holy sites mentioned in this article. Although it is a bit remote from the city centre it is definitely worth visiting as it offers an unrivalled, beautiful view on the Pearl River besides being a lovely place itself. To reach the upper temples from sea level and experience the great view you will have to climb a few stairs, though on ground level there are plenty of things to explore as well, including a goddess of the seas statue standing 14 metres tall.
Add: Dajiao Hill, Nansha District, Nansha, Guangzhou
地址:  广州市南沙区南沙开发区大角山
Admission: Free
Opening hours: 08:00-17:30

Sacred Heart Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral (Seksat Church) 石室圣心堂 View In Map
Located across the so called “bar street” near the river this cathedral has taken 25 years to built with its construction completed in 1888. Its towers rise almost 60 meters into the sky and it offers a beautiful example of Gothic architecture, resembling the Notre Dame building in Paris, that stands out in comparison to its neighbouring buildings.
Add: No.56, Jiu Bu Qian, Yide Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
地址:  广州市一德路旧部前56号
Admission: Free
Opening hours: Sundays 07:00-10:00

Guangxiao Christian Church 广州基督教光孝堂View In Map
This church's history began around 1924 and it is exceptional in the sense that it was funded by Chinese Christians rather than western missionaries. Accordingly, its architecture and décor is a mixture of Chinese and Italian influences with beautiful paintings along the walls. With about 1,200 seats it is one of the most spacious churches in Guangzhou.

Add: No.29, Guangxiao Lu, Liwan District , Guangzhou
地址:  广州市光孝路29号
Admission: Free
Opening hours: Sundays 09:00-11:00

Huaisheng Mosque (Remember the Sage Mosque) 怀圣寺 View In Map
The Huaisheng Mosque, literally meaning “Remember the Sage [about Mohammed]”, dates back to the early Tang dynasty (618-907). Besides being one of the oldest mosques in China it is also one of the most well-known. Early Islamic culture was introduced to Guangzhou in the 7th century, and its influence is certainly visible given the big area covered by the mosque and its six buildings. The structure that stands out most is the light tower where usually the Imam would spell his prayers from.
Add: 56 Guangta Lu, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou
地址:  广州市越秀区光塔路56号
Admission: 10 RMB
Opening hours: 06:00 - 17:00

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Keywords: Temples guangzhou places of worship Guangzhou mosques Guangzhou churches Guangzhou


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