Chaozhou no stranger to cultural heritage
Guangji Bridge. [Photo by Chen Chulin/chinadaily.com.cn]
A bridge, a tower, a sprawling residential community and a museum, all within walking distance, give visitors convenient access to the rich cultural heritage of Chaozhou in Guangdong province.
The 518-meter-long Guangji Bridge over the Hanjiang River has fixed parts and a floating part, with pontoons in the middle towed away at night to allow vessels to pass.
The bridge was initially built in 1171 and has undergone several renovations, the latest completed in 2007.
In some of the towers on the bridge, Chaozhou's intangible cultural heritage is on display, including such items as wood carvings, embroidery, porcelain and wheat straw paintings.
A light show on the bridge and the hills in the background at night provide a different look for the scenery along the river.
Near an end of the bridge stands the Guangji Tower, originally constructed in 1370. A major renovation was completed in 2004.
An exhibition of the city's history is staged on the first floor and more intangible cultural heritage items are presented on the second floor.
From the tower, visitors can see a sprawling traditional residential building cluster. They can take a closer look at after walking along a street with some 23 memorial archways and lined with stores selling food and souvenirs.
Some traditional houses in the cluster have been renovated and turned into guesthouses and tea houses. Traditional tea drinking rituals have given Chaozhou a reputation on par with other regions in eastern Guangdong. It is famous for gongfu cha, a local tea ritual.
Nearby is a museum honoring Hong Kong Sinologist and calligrapher Rao Zongyi, who was a Chaozhou native.