China Xiamen City:
Xiamen is located on the South China coast on an island of the same name.
Mainly downland, small plain near the sea; Xiamen island and continent is connected by the sea bank; wide gulf with deep water, without freezing and silting.
Subtropical monsoon climate; the black frost period last 364 days; the average wind power is 3 to 5 level, mainly the northeast wind.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Xiamen exported tea, sugar, dried fish, tobacco, fruit, and paper products. Today, it is an important center for foreign trade, with rail links to the hinterland and passenger cargo boats from Hong Kong crowding the harbor. The creation of a "special economic zone" in Xiamen in 1981 gave fresh impetus to plans for expanding and modernizing the island's Gaoqi Airport. When completed, the new airport will be able to handle direct international flights to and from Hong Kong and Manita. A significant surge in the local economy is expected from this development.
First settled during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127?1279), the town was originally called Jiahe Yu (Good Grain Island) because of the abun-dant harvest afforded by its fertile soil and subtropical climate. At the beginning of the Ming, Zhou Dexin built what is now the city proper and called it Xiamen (Amoy in the local dialect). In the 17th century, Xiamen became one of the strongholds of the loyalist Ming general Zheng Cheng-gong (Koxinga) who launched an expedition against the Dutch who then occupied the island of Taiwan across the Formosa Straits. He renamed the to?n Siming, or "Remember the Ming."
By the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, Xiamen was declared an open port. Europeans soon settled on GuIang Yu, an islet in Xiamen's harbor.
Many overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia come from Fujian Province and maintain close ties with relatives in China, often returning to live out their retirement in Xiamen. Their remittances and contributions, encour-aged by special tax exemptions, have visibly enhanced Xiamen's pros-perity and industrial development. An estimated 60% of the current Population is said to have relations living abroad.
In 1949, the island was connected to the mainland by a 5 km. causeway. The town is now connected by bus to all major points in Fujian as well as to Shantou and Guangzhou. There is also indirect train service to Fuzhou and Shanghai.
Xiamen was opened to foreign tourism in 1980. Numerous natural and historic attractions await visitors to the island, not least of which are the gleaming white?sand beaches and parks scattered around the island.
Xiamen is famous for its handicrafts, especially lacquer?thread sculpting, glass?bead embroidery, silk figurines (caiza), and painted clay and procelain figurines. In lacquer?thread sculpting, a lacquer paste is rubbed or twisted into thin threads or small grains to form pictures and decorate wooden articles and porcelain. An array of these items can be found at the Friendship/Overseas Chinese Store just behind the Lujiang Hotel (near the ferry to Gulangyu), or at the Arts and Crafts Service Department at 143 Zhongshan Rd. Xiamen has two antiques stores: on Gulangyu Island at 71 Yongchun Rd. and in Xiamen town at 221 Zhong-shan Rd.
There are said to be between 200?300 famous dishes emanating from Xiamen, combining the best of Cantonese and southern Fujian cooking, especially seafood and snacks (dian xin).
Just a short walk from Nanputuo Temple lies the campus of Xiamen University. It is at the southern tip of Xiamen Island, flanked by Wulaoshan and the sea. Founded in 1921 by overseas Chinese philanthropist Tan Kah Kec, it is still largely supported by over-seas Chinese. It is a "key" school, with 11 departments, 37 degree con, centrations, and 18 research institutes. It is most famous for marine biology. There are 5,400 students and 1,200 teaching staff. The Overseas Correspondence College, which conducts short?term courses for for-eigners on campus, is also quite advanced. Its library has about 1.3 million volumes.
Aside from the interesting architecture of its old buildings, the cam-pus boasts the Lu Xun Museum/Memorial Hall, the Anthropology Mu-seum, and the nearby Overseas Chinese Museum. Lu Xun, the famous Chinese writer and revolutionary, lived and taught at Xiamen University for one semester in 1926?27. The museum consists of his old room and five others, with an exhibition of objects, materials, and photos about Lu's life and activities in Xiamen, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. The Museum of Anthropology is two floors of small rooms, each showing a different period in the development of mankind, especially in China. The Overseas Chinese Museum, located just northwest of the campus near the temple, features a compelling display devoted to the history and conditions of overseas Chinese around the world. The stress is on the suffering and oppression endured by these emigrants, along with the contributions they made to their host countries and to China. Also on exhibit are many artifacts brought back to China from these communities.
Xiamen Attractive points:
Nestled between Lion Hill (Shi Shan) and Jade Screen Hill (Yuping Shan) in the northwestern part of the city, Wanshi Park is known for its collection of tropical and subtropical flora. A reservoir and vegetarian restaurant are located on the grounds.
Also in the northwestern sector, Zhongshan Park is planted with pines and contains several monasteries and historical sites. At the park's eastern end is a massive marble stele erected to the memory of Dr. Sun Yatsen and to Xiamen's revolutionary heroes.
This 1,000?year?old Buddhist temple is three miles cast of the town on the slopes of Wulao Mountain. The temple compound faces the sea and commands a bird's?eye view of nearby Xiamen University on Daxue Rd. The present structure dates from the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty and has been renovated several times since the 1920s. The original temple is the tiny one?room. structure in back, nestled under a rock ledge. In the main hall are the three Buddhas of the past, present, and future. The one in the center is Sakyamuni (the one West-emers usually refer to as "Buddha"). On the base of these Buddhas are carved the stories of Xuanzang's journey to the West to retrieve the scriptures and of Sakyamuni's life. The Hall of Great Compassion is devoted to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. It is 8m. high, with a three- faced Guanyin statue inside. It has an ornate three?tiered roof with flying dragons on top. The two sago cycad trees in the huge ums are over 1,000 years old. The first floor of the Scripture Hall is a study room for monks. This is also the site of a Buddhism School where the monks (there are more than 60 of them in the temple, two?thirds of them relatively young) pursue studies to aid in their work or to prepare them to take the test to enter one of the Buddhist Academies in China. The second floor houscs an inte-resting exhibition of Buddhist treasures.
Gulang Island (Gulangyu)
This heavily forested island lies off the shore of Xiamen, and can be reached by a 15?minute ferry from. the foot of Zhongshan Rd. The island has flourished as a resort area since the arrival of Europeans in the 19th century. Its beauty and tranquillity have earned it the nickname of "Garden on the Sea." The highest point on Gulang Yu, sunlight Cliff (Riguang Yan), is 90 m. (3,543 ft.) above sea level and is the spot where Koxinga oversaw the nautical training of his troops while they prepared to liberate Taiwan from the Dutch. A memorial hall to Koxinga is at 73 Yongchun Rd.
Mahavira Hall, built in 1921 has the statues of the Trinity of the Three Ages (Sakyamuni, the Buddha of the Present, the Buddha of the Past, Kasyapa. The Buddha of the Future, Maitreya), Avalokitesvara (the Goddess of Mercy) and his disciples are also there. Attractive Murals on the wall are mainly concerned about Buddhist stories and figures from India.
It is an Octagonal Tower rebuilt in 1928. Inside are enshrined four Statues of Avalokitesvara (Guiyin Bodhisattva, the Goddess of Mercy) on the lotus-flower base. The Bodhisattva with his arms across his chest has 48 hands stretching out. On each hand is a mini scared eye. Two banyans were planted on each side of the hall.
The Pavilion, built in 1936, stores thousands of Buddhist scriptures, Buddha images from Burma, ivory Sculptures, wood sculptures, bronze bells, incense burner and other works of art. One particular porcelain Avalokitesvara is said to be very precious.
Many rooms flanking the main buildings are dormitories, libraries and study rooms for monks. The temple also offers Vegetarian Food for tourists.
A ten-minute climb to Sunlight Rock on the Longtoushan (Dragon Head Hill) - the highest point on Gulangyu offers you a panoramic view of the sea and the city.
A small Temple on the top has a big rock, and when the sun rises from the East, the sunlight falls directly upon the rock, hence the name. South of the Sunlight Rock is the Memorial Hall of Zhengchenggong (Koxinga Memorial Hall). It is dedicated to Zhengchenggong's life and his fight against the Dutch in Taiwan. Some books and photos are preserved there.
North of the Rock, this park was originally built in 1913 as the private villa of a Taiwan merchant. He moved his family there during the reign of Guangxu (1895) when Japanese troops illegally occupied Taiwan. In 1955, it was renovated and became a famous park in the city.
The park is elaborately designed with artificial rocks, zigzagging bridges, pavilions and caves. A 100-meter-long bridge zigzags across the park. If you are strolling about when the waters are at full tide you might have a feeling of wandering over the sea. A rocky maze is built for visitors behind the hill and you can easily lose yourself without someone directing you there.
With an area of 17.5 hectares, Xiamen Seaworld is surely the place for Dolphin Acts and other Marine Attractions. Many species, nearing extinction, are exhibited here. It boasts that it is the best park of its kind in China. Also, a video room, and exhibition halls are built for those who love the marine world.