Quanzhou - The Original Harbor

Quanzhou, once considered as one of the two largest ports in the world by Marco Polo, Quanzhou is approximately 103 km from Xiamen. Quanzhou is today one of the 24 cities protected by the State Council as a historical monument. Quanzhou also has the largest collection of Nestorian Christian and Manichaean relics.

Quanzhou is also famous for its Muslim community links. From Tang to the Yan dynasties, Arab merchants traded and settled in Quanzhou, which they called 'Zaytun' - the Great Emporium.
Quanzhou City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(8) Art(5) Local Culture/Unique Tour(7)
Nature/Scenic(7) Food/Shopping(7) Night Life(3)
Religion(9) Adventure/Sports(5) Reasonable Cost(6)
Recommended Days of Stay: 1


Quanzhou was the first port of China in the Song and Yuan dynasties. Quanzhou's harbor silted up in the Ming dynasty, and it is now of minor importance, but nonetheless it remains the commercial center for the surrounding farmlands.

Museum of Maritime Navigational History * * *
The museum, a tower shaped like junk sails, has opened with exhibits related to the era when Quanzhou was the oasis on the 'Maritime Silk Road'.

Despite its name, this museum contains numerous relics from many religions, including Nestorian Christian, Manichean, Hindu, and Islamic. The most impressive display is a Franciscan tombstone with a cross.

The museum also has the remains of a Song dynasty (13th-century) ship, 24-meter long, founded in Quanzhou bay.

Local Culture/Unique Tour * * *
Hui'an County
The women form Hui'an County is famous for their distinctive fashion. They are usually dressed in vivid reds, greens and blues, with an intriguing headdress of floral scarf and bright yellow conical hat.

Qingyuan Mountain * *
Qingyuan Mountain is one of the national parks. For over a 1,000 years, it's been a famous resort. The most significant is the 600-year-old and 5-meter-high Old God Rock, said to be the biggest Taoist stone sculpture ever discovered.

Wuyi Mountain * * * * *
Wuyi Mountain is approximately 300 km from Quanzhou. It is also a national park of 60 square km. Cut off from the outside world by streams and deep valleys, Wuyi Mountains are famous for the Nine Turns Stream, Water Curtain Cave, Wuyi Palace, etc.

Nine Turns Stream circles around the mountains with literately nine turns and eighteen bends. Taking a bamboo raft downstream, you will encounter the famous 36 rock formations and peaks resembling different animals.

The highest peak in Wuyi Mountains is the Dawang Peak. Ascending the summit of Dawang Peak, you can get a full view of the lower peaks that are buried in the white clouds.

Wuyi Palace was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) for the rulers to hold sacrificial service to honor the Lord of Wuyi. It's also a preaching ground for Confucians.

A large number of cultural and historical relics have been unearthed recently here in Wuyi Mountains.

Kaiyuan Temple * * *
Built in Tang Dynasty (686), the temple covers more than 30,000 square meters and is one of the largest Buddhist buildings in Fujian Province. Its main hall is supported by 100 stone columns, hence nicknamed Hundred Pillar Hall, each carved in beautiful, different design. On the crossbeams are carved 24 flying singers and dancers resembling angels in Catholic churches.

A hall in the rear keeps five major Buddhist scriptures in 37,000 volumes. In front of the front hall are two towers over 750 years old, the oldest old stone towers in China.

Caoan Temple * * *
It is the only Manicaean temple left in China and probably the best preserved among such temples in the world. It was first built in the Song and renovated in the Yuan. It has a 1.5-meter-high carving of Mani Buddha inside dating back to 1339.

Grand Mosque * * *
One of the oldest mosques in China, the Grand Mosque was built in the Northern Song Dynasty about 1,000 years ago. It covers a floor space of 2,100 square meters. The granite mosque is a copy of the mosque in Damascus of Syria. Its main entrance, 20 meters high and 4.5 meters wide, consists of three gates, one inside the other. All three gates are in arched form with a dome ceiling but the outer and the middle gates have a pointed summit in the center of their roof. In the middle against the west hall is the altar. The niches in the exterior of the south wall and in the wall of the altar are inscribed with passages from Koran in Arabic.



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