Gulangyu Island

Gulangyu, separated from the main island by the 500-metre-wide Egret River, with an area of 177 square kilometres, enjoys a lauditory title “Garden on the Sea.” The original name of the islet was Yuan Zhou Zi. In the Ming Dynasty it was renamed Gulang, meaning ”drum waves”, because the holes in the southwestern reefs hit by the waves will make sounds like the drum. The Dragon Head Hill, Hoisting Flag Hill and Hen Hill stand in a line in the islet. Overlapping peaks foil the blue water, white clouds, green trees and bright flowers. The air in the islet is fresh. The entire place is free from any sorts of vehicles and is particularly quiet. Gulangyu Island1All these render an atmosphere of a fairyland. The architecture in the islet varies greatly in style, Chinese and foreign. Thus the islet has a laudatory title “the World Architecture Museum” The residents here love music very much, and the number of the pianos possessed is in the leading place in the nation, though there is only a population of 20,000 people. Thus the islet is praised as the “Piano Islet”. Today, Gulangyu is listed as one of the nation’s major scenic spot. The main sites of interest here include the Sunlit Rock, Shuzhuang Park, Gangzihou Bathing Beach and Memorial Hall to Zheng Chenggong, which are visited annually by millions of people from all parts of the country and the world. Sunlight Rock Riguang Rock is also called Yellow Rock. It is the summit of Gulang Islet. On the mountain, huge and precipitous rocks form many caves and gullies. Pavilions are hidden among green trees. If you go up the steps, you will come to the Lotus Flower Convent first, where a huge rock named ”A Piece of Tile”, sitting on the top, forms a hall below. On the large rocks beside the convent are inscribed ”Wonderland of Gulang,” and ”Number One along the Egret River.” Behind the convent are ”the Dragon’s Cave of the Egret River,” ”the Cave of Summer Resort,” and ther scenic spots. Gulangyu Island2Close to the convent is the historical site of Zheng Chenggong’s Dragon Head Mountain Fastness and the platform for directing the raining of his seamen. Coming to the top of the mountain, you can see the beautiful views of the sea nd the mountains, and the Xiamen Island and Gulangyu, Dadan and Erdan are all presented before your eyes. Shuzhuang Park Shuzhuang Park is situated on the seashore to the south of Riguang Rock. In the 21st year of the Guangxu period in the Qing Dynasty (1895), a rich merchant from Tainan came to Gulangyu with his family and made his home there. He hegan building the park in 1913 in memory of his native home in Banqiao, Taiwan, and used Shuzhuang, the homonym of his mother’s name to name the park. Now a bronze statue of the former owner of the park stands in the park. Architecturally the park is very cleverly designed by taking advantage of the mountain and the sea. There you can feel a stillness in things moving, and a movement in things still. It presents such a unique scene that you might find it difficult to tear yourself avay from it. Inside the park there are several beautiful views such as Renqiu Pavilion, the Forty-four Bridge, the Piled-up Rocks, the artificial hills, Danying Veranda and the Insensate Rock Room. No wonder the park ranks first among the famous parks in Xiamen. To its left is Gangzihou bathing beach, which is marked by clear water and sand, and has the capacity of bathing thousands of people at a time. Nearby there is YanPing Park, which was set up in memory of Zheng Chenggong. The Nine-bending Forty-four Bridge is the major view of Shuzhuang Park. This over-one-hundred-metre-long bridge looks like a dragon moving through the water On the bridge there are Watching Fishing Stand, Ferrying-to-theMoon Pavilion, One-thousand-wave Pavilion and so on. If you are strolling about or taking a rest on the bridge when it is at full tide, You might have a feeling of walking on the sea, coming up and down with the waves. On the Piled-up Rocks by the ninding crossing-the-sea bridge are inscribed these words: “Vast Sea and Boundless Sky,” and ”Resting the Head on the Currents,” which are so beautifully written and so vividly blended with the surroundings that you would find them pleasing both to the eye and to the mind!

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