Strolling along the Gulangyu Island   Leave a comment

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From the Wikipedia:-
Xiamen (formerly known as Amoy) became a treaty port resulting from China’s loss in the First Opium War and the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, hence the predominantly Victorian-era style architecture throughout Gulangyu Island, where 13 countries including Great Britain, France and Japan established consulates, churches, and hospitals. Gulangyu was officially designated an International Settlement in 1903. Japanese occupation of the island began in 1942, and lasted until the end of World War II. The Amoy dialect of Hokkien is spoken on the island.
Gulangyu is unique in China as a “Traffic Free Island”. It is connected to the main Xiamen island only by ferry.

Neither cars nor bicycles are allowed, and the peaceful island provides an alternative to the hectic life in Xiamen City across the river, although the recent introduction of electric tourist buggies is felt to be damaging the island’s charm. Freight is pulled on wheeled buggies up the often steep lanes by strong teams of men.

As a place of residence for Westerners during Xiamen’s colonial past, Gulangyu is famous for its architecture and for hosting China’s only piano museum, giving it the nickname of “Piano Island” or “The Town of Pianos” (鋼琴之鄉) or “The Island of Music” (音樂之島). There are over 200 pianos on this island.

The Chinese name also has musical roots, as gu lang means drum waves so-called because of the sound generated by the ocean waves hitting the reefs. Yu means “islet”.

In addition, there is a museum dedicated to Koxinga, Haidi Shijie (海底世界) Marine World, a subtropical garden containing plants introduced by overseas Chinese, as well as Xiamen Museum, formerly the Eight Diagrams Tower (八卦樓).

There’s also an Organ museum, bird sanctuary, plant nursery, and a tram that takes to the peak. On the west beach of the island you can rent pedal boats and jet skis. There’s a garden of 12 grottos to represent each of the animals on the zodiac. Built into the hillside, its a maze of caves and tunnels to find all twelve (and the exit). There are many boutique hotels to stay in as well.

The island of Gulangyu is a pedestrian only destination, where the only vehicles on the islands are several fire trucks and electric tourist buggies. The narrow streets on the island, together with the architecture of various styles around the world, give the island a unique appearance.

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