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Explore Xiamen

Discover the Wonders of Amoy

Xiamen, a coastal port of Fujian Province, is an island city boasting a rich and dramatic history, replete with pirates, rebel leaders, and European merchants. Known historically as Amoy, Xiamen was a centre of British trade in the 19th century. British settlements, later taken over by Japanese invaders at the start of World War II, were established on the small, nearby island of Gulangyu; many of the old treaty-port and colonial buildings still survive today. Xiamen was declared one of China’s first Special Economic Zones in the early 1980’s, taking advantage of the city’s heritage as a trading centre and the proximity to Taiwan. Today Xiamen is one of China’s attractive and well-maintained resort cities.

Founded in 1394, at the beginning of the Ming dynasty, Xiamen was established as a centre of defence against coastal pirates. In the mid-17th century, Xiamen and Gulangyu Island became a stronghold of Zheng Chenggong, a Ming loyalist with a legendary background. After the Opium Wars, Xiamen became one of the first treaty ports to accept foreign trade and settlement. Following the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, Gulangyu Island transformed into an international settlement, where many Victorian and Neoclassical style buildings still survive. Prosperity returned to Xiamen in the early 1980s, when Xiamen was designated as one of four Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Gulangyu Island is a ten-minute ferry ride from the southwestern coast of Xiamen. The 2-square-km island still features Western-style mansions, churches, warehouses, and government buildings of the 1842 settlement period. Riguang Yan, or Sunlight Rock, dominates the island, towering 93 metres above the sea. The island includes a statue of Zheng Chenggong and museum, which documents the storied career of this pirate-turned-resistance-leader. The Xiamen Museum (Xiamen Bowuguan) features more than a thousand exhibits, including various porcelain and jade collections. The island’s southern shore is home to the lush Shuzhuang Garden, once belonging to a Taiwanese businessman.

Discover the wonders of ancient Amoy and experience all this important coastal city has to offer. Xiamen and Gulangyu Island await your exploration!


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