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Shantou is a city of 4,971,000 permanent inhabitants (as at end 2006) in coastal Eastern Guangdong, China, occupying an area of 2,064 km2. With it and the immediately surrounding cities of Jieyang and Chaozhou, the metropolitan region - known as Chaoshan - covers an area of 10,404 km2, and had a permanent population of 13,139,800 at the end of 2006.

Shantou, a city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty ports established for Western trade and contact, was one of the original Special Economic Zones of the People's Republic of China established in the 1980s, but failed to blossom like other cities such as Shenzhen, Xiamen and Zhuhai. However, it remains as Eastern Guangdong's economic centre, and is home to Shantou University, a member of the 'Project 211' group.

The historic quarter of Shantou, which features both Western and Chinese architectureShantou was a fishing village part of Tuojiang City, Jieyang District during the Song Dynasty. It came to be Xialing during the Yuan Dynasty. In 1563, Shantou was a part of Chenghai District in Chao Prefecture (Chaozhou). As early as 1574, Shantou had been called Shashan Ping. In the seventeenth century, a cannon platform called Shashan Toupaotai was made here, and the placename later was shortened to "Shantou". Locally it has been referred to as Kialat.

Connecting to Shantou across the Queshi Bridge is Queshi which had been known by the local people through the 19th century as Kakchio. It was the main site for the American and British Consulates. Today the area is a scenic park but some of the structures are somewhat preserved from its earlier history.

It became a city in 1919, and was separated from Chenghai in 1921. 1922 saw the devastating Swatow Typhoon, which killed 50,000 out of the 65,000 people then inhabiting the city. In the 1930s, as a transport hub and a merchandise distribution centre in Southeast China, Shantou Port's cargo throughput ranked third in the country. With higher-level administrative authority, Shantou governed Chaozhou City and Jieyang City from 1983 to 1989

Culture and Lifestyle
Shantou people share the same culture with other Teochew. The tea-drinking tradition widely practised in town is a classic instance. According to China Daily,[4] Shantou people "drink more tea than anyone else in China, in total 700 million yuan (US$87.5 million) each year". Teochew culture is one of the local highlights.

Shantou Tourist Sites
-The Former Residence of Chen Ci Hong (local name: Chencihong Guju)
-Nan'ao Island: rated as Guangdong's most beautiful island by China's National Geographic magazine
-Palace-Temple of Old Mother (local name: Laoma Gong): dedicated to the goddess Matsu
-Temple of Emperor Guan (local name: Guandi Miao): dedicated to Guan Yu
-Tropic of Cancer Symbol Tower (local name: Beihuiguixian Biaozhita): The Tropic of Cancer slips through Centipede Mountain, which is 20 kilometers away from the city proper.

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