Symbolic Tower of the Tropic of Cancer
The Symbolic Tower of the Tropic of Cancer located in the western suburb of Shantou City in Guangdong Province has important value for tourism and scientific research. It was built in 1986 on the side of Jilong Mountain and stands 13.6 meters (about 45 feet) high.
The architectural characteristics of the tower are as follows: the flat platform is made up of three round layers, and is 30 meters (about 98 feet) wide at the base. It is built in the style of The Temple of Heaven. The main body standing on the platform is made of concrete and covered by the white marble, forming the Chinese character '北' (bei, the north). On the top rests a model globe of the Earth which is 5 meters (about 16 feet) in diameter. In the center of the globe there is a steel pipe. On the Summer Solstice (usually June 20) the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer and thus shines directly through the pipe, hence the name 'Kuiyangkong' (a pipe through which to see sunlight).
The Tropic of Cancer is an imaginary dividing line between the Earth's northern temperate zone and its central tropic zone. The Symbolic Tower of the Tropic of Cancer was built to help people appreciate the importance of the imaginary line in a tangible way. The Tropic of Cancer is important in scientific research in fields such as astronomy, geography, biology, soil and climate. The Tropic of Cancer passes through 16 countries and regions which are mostly desert areas. However, the four provinces in China - Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong and Taiwan - through which the Tropic of Cancer passes have green forest, plentiful rainfall and abundant natural resources. People call it 'the magic green region at the Tropic of Cancer'.
Many people look forward to visiting the tower on this day to observe the marvelous spectacle named 'no shadow of the standing rod'. Because the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer on this day, the rod casts no shadow in any direction. It is very much worth viewing.
On the observation platform at the top of the tower, a black flagstone strip, representing the imaginary line of the Tropic of Cancer, runs in the west-and-east direction. One side of the paved strip is planted with temperate zone plants, and the other side is planted with tropical plants. When we put a foot on either side of the path, we seem to be in both the temperate and tropical climate zones.
There are many trees, flowers and beautiful mountains around the tower. On the mountain peak are two pavilions. One is called Kuafu Pavilion, and the other is Denglin Pavilion. When you stand on Denglin pavilion, you see the broad surface of Niutian Ocean in the west, and an old volcano called Jilong Mountain in the east. Legend has it that Kuafu, a strong man in ancient times, wanted to conquer the sun so he chased after it. Because of his thirst he drank all the water in Yellow River but he still felt thirsty. Then he was determined to drink the water in the ocean. However, before arriving at the ocean, he had already died of thirst. The walking sticks dropped by Kuafu when he chased after the sun along the road became the thick forest named 'Denglin'. This fairy tale is called 'Kuafu Chased the Sun' and is famous among legend stories. And so, the Kuafu Pavilion and Denglin Pavilion were constructed based on this tale.
It is around 20km from the city proper area. You can take the local public bus line 21 or 17 from Dian Shi Ta (TV Tower) Station to Ji Long Shan (Jilongshan Mountain) Station. Then climb the mountain to see this tower.