|Xiamen, with its earlier name Amoy is a very ancient port-town in the South of Fujian province
|Welcome to the subtropical city of Xiamen
||Taiwan controlled Jinmen Island is so near that big characters have been erected for the Taiwanese to see them:|
" One Country two Systems and then China Can be United"
|This used to be shouted over the sea as well, using loudspeaker arrays
||The beach is clean|
|The beach is empty
||The beach supports economy|
|And also gives space to modern art
||Made by Colette Hosmer of USA|
|As well as other sculptures arranged in the beach-park|
|Stone and Gun museum|
|Xiamen's Stone and Gun museum at Hulishan houses an enormous 280 mm gun with a barrel of 10m capable of shooting 700 pounders up to 20KM far
||The same Stone and Gun museum houses also a set of very extraordinary stones, seemingly having hair growing on it|
|Nan Putuo or South Putuo Temple|
is situated below the Five Old Gentlemen Peaks in the southern part of the island of Xiamen.
It was first built in the Tang Dynasty and is one of the sacred places of Buddhism in Southern Fujian.
Inside the temple there are the Heaven King's Hall, the Daxiong Hall, the Great Compassion Hall, all of which are built in an exquisite and grand style
|Beautifully decorated rooftops
||An extensive layout|
|Symbols of prosperity (the Chinese word for fish, Yu, sounds like, surplus)
||And you are tempted to try your luck by leaving a coin on the surface of a rock|
|In every crevece one finds either small statues
||In many shapes|
|Or sticks, left as token for "support" and prayers
||While curved roots and branches of trees make the narrow stairs even narrower|
|Gu Lan Yu in 2010 we were again on Gu Lan Yu|
A mere 500 meters across the harbor from downtown Xiamen lies the famous 1.77 square kilometer island of Gulangyu (or "Drum Waves," because the breakers pound the rocks like drums).
International Settlement It won't take you long to understand why foreigners chose this tiny island for their International Settlement. And even today Gulangyu possesses one asset almost unheard of elsewhere in China: quiet! Vehicles and bicycles are forbidden on the tiny island. (In fact, Gulangyu has not had cars for centuries!).
The one sound you will hear on Gulangyu is pianos. This tiny community of 20,000 has more pianos per capita than anywhere else on the planet -hence Gulangyu's nickname "Piano Isle."
Early on, Protestants started several churches on Amoy and Gulangyu Islands--including China's 1st Protestant Church. (in 1848). David Abeel, Elihu Doty, Rev. William Pohlman, William Burns, J. Macgowan, Rev. John Van Nest Talmage--the list of well known missionaries and mission doctors (like Sir Patrick Manson, Father of Tropical Medicine) in Amoy is endless.
Catholics were busy too. The Vicariate Apostolic of Amoy (created in 1883 under the Dominicans) oversaw 11 European and 8 Chinese priests, 32 churches or chapels, 3 orphanages, and 13 schools (and included Taiwan in its domain). The piano played an integral part in all religious services-and Gulangyu folk have been hooked on them ever since.
It is no surprise that an inordinate number of famous pianists have come from tiny Gulangyu island. Gulangyu has more pianos per capita than any other city in China (perhaps even in the world)-over 350 pianos, or one in every five homes.
Virtually every evening some family is holding a recital for their budding pianist, and many go on to study in the Amoy Music Academy, and from there to play in London, New York, Paris-or the local churches from whence the pianos came in the first place.
|At the entrance to the port of Gulanyu, the statue of Zheng Chenggong (1624-1662), or Koxinga, as the Dutch rulers of Amoy for 38 years, called him.|
The Dutch surrendered on January 27, 1662, to Koxinga, who himself "died of overwork."
|Xiamen side of the strait
||And the landmark Gulangyu's Sunlight Rock|
|Rustique, colonial houses remind of the past
|And really attractive
||The Dutch Centre on Gulanyu|
|The only Spanish Church on an Island full of churches
|Also typical Chinese styled houses
||Although some in a dilapidated state|
|A tree, choosing a wall rather than the soil to grow
||Another tree, can hardly be seen from the wood|
||Gulanyu harbour Octopus|
|Gulanyu has a museum, showing the past.....
||...the Dutch occupation and its brutality...|
|...the Chinese victory over the Dutch oppressors...
||And the leadership of early modern China:|
Deng Xiao Ping, Zhou en Lai, Liu Shao Qi and Mao Zhe Dong
|A famous handicraft of the region is , done by hammering small dots into polished black marble, which is only done by women
||the sun sets over Gulanyu