Towering above the surrounding landscapes of Yuexiu Hill lies a centuries old pagoda that is as well known for its stunning beauty as it is for its tumultuous legacy. Dubbed the Zhenhai Tower or the Five-Story Pagoda, this ancient edifice built as far back as 1380 is one of Guangzhou’s chief cultural highlights for a number of reasons. Tucked away within the captivating environs of Yuexiu Park on the only remaining pieces of ancient Guangzhou’s city wall Zhenhai Tower was destroyed and rebuilt a record five times during its turbulent history.
An impressive 28 meters in height the structure was commissioned to be built by the Ming Dynasty Yongjia Marquis, Zhu Liangzu as a show of power and his belief of possessing the strength to move mountains and the seas. Offering onlookers breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and Baiyun Mountain the venue is littered with historic relics and remnants. Facing the tower lie several inscriptions belonging to various dynasties in Chinese history while 12 centuries old cannons are placed to the right of the structure.
Last occupied by English and French troops who used the venue as a strategic location during the Opium War the locale was later converted to a museum in 1929. Named the Guangzhou Museum in 1950 the tower’s interiors document 2000 years of life in Guangzhou with galleries devoted to various dynasties and their cultural remnants.
The first floor highlights include a 3D map of Guangzhou as we see it today with buttons to light up key destinations within the city. A massive anchor dating back to the Ming dynasty that was found on the banks of Zhu Zhiang river is also showcased here while the second floor contains relics from a Han Dynasty tomb and other items from the period. A three dimensional map of 19th century Guangzhou is found on the third floor which also focuses on the West’s influence on the city and the 19th century as a whole. The fourth floor deals with the Opium War’s impact on the city while the fifth features a cozy café and gift shop. Visitors can also get a bird ‘eye view of Guangzhou from the 5th floor balcony.
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