Shawan ancient village in Guangzhou

Numerous ancient towns lie scattered around Guangzhou, offering a window into the province's rich cultural heritage and illustrious past. Shawan(沙湾) Ancient Town in Panyu(番禺) District is one such town. Built over 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty, Shawan has long enjoyed a reputation for being one of the most culturally rich towns in the region. The town boasts over 100 ancient shrines and is lined by beautiful, preserved ancient buildings. Just a subway ride and bus hop away from the city, a visit to Shawan is an idyllic and culturally rewarding way to spend a day away from the city.


Why is Shawan reputed for its culture? For one, many of China's most famous opera singers, dragon and lion dancers, sculptors and musicians originate from Shawan, and the town is lauded as the birthplace of Canton Opera. Shawan has managed to preserve a large number of clay, wood and stone sculptures as well as ancient murals and other Lingnan-style relics.

Even its cuisine is famous throughout the region, especially such specialties as "ginger buried milk(姜埋奶)" and the mooncake-like pastry "Dongyong Dabing(东涌大饼)". Another reason is the fact that Shawan puts on colourful parades and traditional events whenever an important festival comes along, transforming the usually quiet town into a buzzing cultural center that pays homage to China's traditional folk and arts.  

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