Fuzhou Attractions

Fuzhou Attractions

Many of Fuzhou's best attractions lie outside the city, which is surrounded by fine mountain scenery and lies near a number of temples and renowned scenic attractions.

In the town itself, one of the most rewarding places to visit is the district known as Sanfang Qixiang, which literally means ''three lanes and seven alleys''. It is a fascinating, well-preserved enclave of old houses and streets: while the neighborhood dates back to the Jin dynasty, most of the houses are from the Ming and Qing era. About 40 hectares in area, Sanfang Qixiang is full of historical interest, not least because of its unusual architecture, featuring houses built symmetrically around a north-south axis.

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Visitors wanting to find out more about the history and culture of the Fuzhou region can find all they need at the Fujian Provincial Museum which has a number of interesting exhibits, including a 3500 year-old coffin-boat discovered in Wuyi Mountain and a collection of weaponry from the Han Dynasty as well as a hall of Revolutionary History. Military history is well covered at the China Modern Navy Museum and also at the Lin Zexu Memorial Hall. This museum aims to educate visitors about the area through its exhibits on the famous Qing dynasty official after which it is named who worked hard to curb the spread of opium and fight Imperial influence.

Not far outside the center of Fuzhou lies Xichan Temple, with historical roots in the Tang dynasty, and featuring some fine buildings as well as a well-loved grove of lychee trees. A little to the north is West Lake Park, which dates back to the Jin dynasty and has all the peaceful elegance that you would expect in a Chinese park, with a small temple, some graceful bridges and small pagodas along the edge of the artificial lake. Other parks include Zuohai Park with its themed gardens each built to reflect the architecture and plant life of one of the five continents, and Fuzhou Wuyi Square Park situated at the heart of Fuzhou, where local people meet to dance and talk every evening.

There are a number of shops and galleries in Fuzhou selling traditional Chinese calligraphy, paintings and sculpture, and the Fujian Provincial Art Institute is a good source of information on these subjects, as it takes part in academic exchanges with Chinese and foreign universities.

Fuzhou is the starting point for an expedition to one of China's most famous architectural attractions - the spectacular earth houses of the Hakka people. These imposing circular structures, built out of rammed earth for defense against the many historical enemies of the Hakka, are up to 80 meters in diameter and have as many as 60 rooms. They could house entire clans in safety: Japanese pirates who roamed the area during the Ming dynasty left the Hakka fort-houses undisturbed. Although the houses are located 300 km from Fuzhou, the journey is worth it to see a form of architecture with no parallel anywhere else in China, set amid terraced fields against striking hillside scenery.

Visitors wanting a day of spectacular scenery and quiet contemplation should head to Qingyunshan Mountain Scenic Area, full of dizzy peaks, deep canyons and magnificent waterfalls, including the largest step-waterfall in Asia. Another scenic gem is Gu Mountain: nearby Yongguan Temple is the finest of Fuzhou's Buddhist temples and houses some priceless artifacts, while the surrounding scenery provides unforgettable opportunities for walking and relaxing.

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