Shawan Ancient Town is situated in the center of Panyu District in the south of Guangzhou. Originally built in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), it has a history of over 800 years. Characterized by the architectural style of south China, the history and culture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911) and the Republic of China (1912-1949), Shawan Ancient Town is a typical southern town surrounded by water. Relying on its beautiful view and rich cultural heritages, it has developed into an attractive tourist destination. Covering an area of 153 hectares (0.6 square miles), the town consists of the east village, west village and north village.
Shawan Ancient Town looks very primitive and elegant. Rows of houses, old streets and long alleys show the features of the ancient style. The most common attractions you can see here are ancestral halls, the number of which has reached 100. Some intangible cultural heritages, such as Cantonese folk music, the lion dance, and Piaose (a kind of folk art integrating play, magic, acrobatics, music and dance), are well preserved. Visitors can not only have an insight into the lives of the local people, but also experience the special folk culture.
Recommended Touring Route
Daxiangyong Road - Qingshui Well - Renrang Gongju (Administrative Bureau) - Yanqing Hall (Memorial Hall of He Binglin) - Chebei Street - Gaoyao Alley - Youqi Hall - Chichang Hall - Huiyan Alley (Former Residence of He Shaoxia) - Guanyin Hall - Dunhouli - Ancient Wall - Yuxu Palace - Liugeng Hall - West Square - Dama Alley - Agriculture Life Museum - Wenfeng Tower - Study Room - Zhennan Ancestral Hall - Sanren Hall - West Anning Street
At the entrance of Shawan Town is a landmark - a square ancient well made of granite with a depth of 1.5 meters (5 feet). It is said that the well was dug two hundred years ago. A big well and a small well are separated by a stone wall. Stone stairs are available in the southeast corner for people to fetch water. Clear water is still running in the well.
The most remarkable treasure here is a set of porcelain plates painted with vivid characters in the Tale of the Marshes, one of the four classical Chinese novels in ancient time. The 108 plates are placed in order, forming a spectacular scene.
Chichang hall is special in its delicate artworks and furniture, which are made of ebony, a precious wood enjoying the moniker of 'mummy of plants'. It is estimated that this kind of wood grew in a primary forest hundreds of thousands of years ago. It was transformed through a long slow process of carbonization under the ground. With elegance and quaintness, it is a perfect material to make artworks and furniture.
Liugeng Hall is also called the Grand Ancestral Hall of the He Family or the Houben Hall. It is a representative building of Shawan Ancient Town. Originally built in 1275, it was destroyed many times and the present hall was reconstructed in 1720. Covering 3,300 square meters (3,950 square yards), it is the largest ancestral shrine of the He family, the largest family in this town. Before entering the hall, visitors will be initially impressed by two painted powerful door gods on each side of the gate. Stone drums stand on both sides of the main gate. Stepping in, visitors see a high majestic stone arch. Passing it, the grand Xiangxian Hall comes into view. In front of the hall there is a platform where ancient people worshiped deities to pray for favorable weather. Galleries are established on the east and the west showing various rare cultural relics. Inside Xiangxian Hall are tens of horizontal tablets recording the honors and achievements of the He family in ancient times. Behind the hall lies the famous Liugeng Hall. Its front porch is supported by six big stone columns. Exquisite carvings make the building appear delicate. Inside the hall, rich paintings and couplets are on display.
Wenfeng Tower, also called Wenchang Tower or Wenkui Tower, was constructed in 1721. This hexagonal tower has three floors. The statue of Master of Study is enshrined inside. The establishment of the tower was to urge the young people to study hard. Every year when school started, the scholars and students would come here to pray for success in their studies.
Beside the Wenfeng Tower, there is a study room which replicates the style of a private school in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). Rows of desks and chairs are neatly placed. Chinese brushes, ink boxes and books are arranged on the desks. One could not help imaging a scene with young children who used to study hard in this room.
Zhennan Ancestral Hall
This hall has been renamed the Ancient Architectural Decoration Arts Museum. The most eye-catching parts of the structure are the refined brick carvings, wood carvings and stone carvings on the gates, walls and ridge beams. Figure and animal sculptures of different shapes and colors are of great artistic value. They make the whole structure look more dynamic. In the hall, there are a reclining stone lion and a brick sculpture carved with birds and flowers. These are precious relics taken down from the building when it was reconstructed. Additionally, a colorful glass window in the classic style is unique and attractive.
Entering West Anning Street, the first site coming to view is Sanren Hall. It was given this name because of the old Sanren tree planted in the backyard. Built over 100 years ago, it was originally designed to be an ancestral hall of an affluent He family. However, it was not utilized for this purpose. Some He family descendants who engaged in music often gathered here to play and study Cantonese music. Sometimes they also invited some music lovers from other provinces to come and discuss Cantonese music here. A large number of well-known Cantonese songs were created at that time. Therefore, Sanren Hall is regarded as the birthplace of typical Cantonese music. Visitors can not only listen to the sweet melody of original Cantonese music, but also appreciate the old instruments.
What to Eat in Shawan Ancient Town
Crossing over one alley to another, visitors will be absorbed in the nostalgic atmosphere of this ancient town. Besides these ancient architectures and attractions, there are many shops of Ming and Qing Dynasties style on the commercial street where visitors can buy special local products or taste delicious snacks. On Anning Street, a dessert shop called 'Milk Queen of Shawan' is very popular among tourists. Moreover, after a day’s sightseeing, visitors can enjoy a cup of tea in a quaint teahouse or drink a glass of beer in a bar.
How to get to Shawan Ancient Town
Take metro line 3
to Shiqiao Station first. Then, take bus K349/ K349 Express/ Pan 7/ Pan 12/ Pan 67 to Shawan Guzhen Nanmen or Shawan Nancun.Guangzhou Bus / Metro Search
| ||Blocks of Shawan Town ||Combo Tickets for the Halls |
|Entrance Fee ||Free ||CNY 40; |
Free for children under 1.2m (3.9ft).
|Opening Hours ||All day ||9:30 - 17:30 |
Nearby Attractions in Panyu, Guangzhou:
Dishuiyan Forest Park
Shawan Park Baomo Garden Nanyue Garden
Dafu Mountain Forest Park
- Last modified on Aug. 22, 2019 -