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Fuzhou

Fuzhou is the capital and the largest municipality of Fujian Province, China. The city is also referred to as Rongcheng which means "city of banyan trees". Along with the many counties of Ningde, those of Fuzhou are considered to constitute the Mindong (literally: East of Fujian) linguistic and cultural area.

Fuzhou's core counties lie on the north (or left) bank of the estuary of Fujian's largest river, the Min River. All along its northern border lies Ningde, and Ningde's Gutian County lies upriver. Fuzhou's counties south of the Min border on Putian, Quanzhou, Sanming and Nanping municipalities.

History
The exact foundation date of the city is not known. The province's pre-Han history is sketchy: it is known that the Yue Kingdom (in present-day Zhejiang, to the north) fell to that of the Chu in 306 BC; the legend is that a branch of the Yue royal family fled south to found upon the natives the reign of the Minyue. Duing the ensuing century of independence from central China, their major centre was not here but far up the Min watershed in Wuyishan City.

The first city wall of Fuzhou was built in 202 BC when Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han Dynasty, gave permission to Wuzhu, the king of Minyue, to set up his capital in Fuzhou. The city was named Ye, meaning "the beautiful". The city name has changed many times, but the city itself has been continuously occupied since 202 BC and has never suffered major destruction by wars or natural disasters.

The Minyue was annexed by Han in 110 BC. Under the Han, Fuzhou became Ye County.During the Tang Dynasty (725 AD), the city started to be called Fuzhou.

During the Southern Song Dynasty, Fuzhou became more prosperous; many scholars came to live and work. Among them were Zhu Xi, the most celebrated Chinese philosopher after Confucius, and Xin Qiji, the greatest composer of the ci form of poetry.
Between 1405 and 1433 AD, a fleet of the Ming Imperial navy under Admiral Zheng He sailed from Fuzhou to the Indian Ocean seven times; on three occasions the fleet landed on the east coast of Africa. Before the last sailing, Zheng erected a stele dedicated to the goddess Tian-Fei (Matsu) near the seaport. On November 8, 1911, revolutionaries staged an uprising in Fuzhou. After an overnight street battle, the Qing (Manchu) army surrendered.

The administrative divisions of Fuzhou have been changed frequently throughout history. From 1983, the Fuzhou current administrative divisions were formed officially, namly, 5 districts and 8 counties respectively.

Culture
Banyan King in Fuzhou National Forest Park.The City of Banyans is distinct from the mainstream inland cultures of central China, and in details varies from other areas of Maritime China.

Language and Art
Besides Mandarin Chinese, local residents of Fuzhou also speak Fuzhou dialect, a language that is considered to be the standard form of the Min Dong dialect.

Min opera, also known as Fuzhou drama, is one of the major operas in Fujian Province. It enjoys popularity in Fuzhou area, and neighboring parts of Fujian such as the northeast and northwest areas where the Fuzhou dialect is spoken, as well as in Taiwan and the Malay Archipelago. It became a fixed opera in the early 20th century. There are more than 1000 plays of Min opera, most of which originate from folk tales, historical novels, or ancient legends, including such traditional plays as "Making Seal", "The Purple Jade Hairpin" and "Switching Fairy Peach with Litchi".

Religion
The two traditional mainstream religions practiced in Fuzhou are Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism. Traditionally, many people practice both religions simultaneously. The city is also home to many Buddhist monasteries/Taoist temples and Buddhist monks. Islam and Christianity are practised to a lesser degree. Apart from mainstream religions, a number of religious worship sites of various local religions, are situated in the streets and lanes of Fuzhou.

The origins of local religion can be dated back centuries. These diverse religions incorporated elements such as gods and doctrines from other religions and cultures, such as totem worship and traditional legends. For example, Monkey King, originated to monkey worship among local ancients, gradually came to embody the God of Wealth in Fuzhou after the novel Journey to the West was issued in Ming dynasty.

As the most popular religion in the Min River Valley, the worship of Lady Linshui is viewed as one of the three most influential local religions in Fujian, the other two being the worship of Mazu and Baosheng Dadi.

Local Cuisine
Fuzhou's local dish Litchi Pork, famous for its sweet flavor.Fuzhou cuisine is one of the four traditional cooking styles of Fujian cuisine, which in turn is of the eight Chinese regional cuisines. Dishes are light but flavourful, with particular emphasis on umami taste, known in Chinese cooking as "xiānwèi", as well as retaining the original flavour of the main ingredients instead of masking them. In Fuzhou cuisine, the taste is light compared to that of some other Chinese cooking styles, and often have a mixed sweet and sour taste. Soup, served as a indispensable dish in meals, is cooked in various ways with local seasonal fresh vegetables and seafood.

Special Crafts
Bodiless lacquerwares, paper umbrellas  and horn combs  are the "Three Treasures" of Fuzhou traditional arts. In addition, bodiless lacquerwares, cork pictures  and Shoushan stone sculptures  are called "Three Superexcellences" of Fuzhou.

Gender Roles
Fuzhou males are perceived in the rest of Fujian province as being rather subservient in sex-relations, the stereotypical image being that of a husband following his wife around a shopping area, holding many bags. This has led to the Fujianese maxim (or cultural rule of thumb) "Don't marry a Fuzhou woman".[1] Whatever the truth of these perceptions, Fuzhou males do seem rather more given than men in other cities to compensatory counter-type behaviour towards female strangers, such as cutting queues, stealing taxis and even flashing, for which the local term is liuniaoxia (遛鸟侠, from liuniao, to take the (pet) bird out for a stroll (ie to the park, as done by retirees all over China) + xia, action hero)

Historical and Cultural Sites
Sanfang Qixiang  during the nightSanfang Qixiang (a cluster of ancient residential buildings dated from late Jin Dynasty)
West Lake  (an artificial landscape style lake built in 282 AD)
Hualin Temple  (Built in 964 AD, Song Dynasty)
Its main hall is known as the oldest surviving wooden building in south China,and was confirmed as an important heritage site under state protection in 1982.
Dizang Temple (The Temple of Sacrificing Guardian of the Earth, founded in 527 AD)
Xichan Temple  (founded in 867 AD)
Wu Ta  (Black Pagoda) (originally built in 799 AD, rebuilt in 936 AD)
Bai Ta (White Pagoda) (originally built in 905 AD, 67 m in height, collapsed in 1534 AD, rebuilt in 1548 AD, 41 m in height)
Yongquan Temple (founded in 915 AD)
Gu Shan  (Drum Mountain)

Parks
Fujian Provincial Museum
Wulongjiang Shidi Park (A wetland park. However, the park is in distress due to ineffective environmental protection and construction.)
Senlin Park (Forest Park)
Zuohai Park 
Fuzhou National Forest Park

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