Known as the city of Banyan trees thanks to the numbers of these ancient trees that dot the city, Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province is a 2,000-year-old city with rich cultural heritage and a maritime history spanning more than 1,000 years. Centre of a lucrative trade first in tea and sugar, and later in textiles such as cotton, lacquer and ceramics, at the end of the First Opium War, Fuzhou became one of the five Chinese Treaty Ports opened by the Treaty of Nanjing (1842).
Tea is associated with China more than any other country. Its origins in China date back over 5,000 years and was a key element in Britain’s interest in China. It is widely grown throughout the warmer and wetter southern areas of China, particularly in Fujian, Yunnan and Zhejiang. A highly prized speciality tea originating in Fujian is Fujianese Oolong Tieguanyin. Tea is always drunk without the addition of milk, lemon or sugar in China. An exception to ‘no sugar’ is the northwestern Muslim areas.
Places of interest in Fuzhou include the Wuyi Square, the city’s heart marked by a statue of Mao Zedong. Just north of here is the 10th century Bai Ta Pagoda. To the west is Wu Ta, a black granite pagoda. The Lin Zexu Memorial Hall commemorates Lin Zexu, a Qing dynasty official who destroyed an opium shipment in protest at British trade, an act that led to the First Opium War. Elegant colonial architecture exists on Zhongzhou Island, once the site of the foreign Concession area. The Provincial Museum is also worthy of inspection.
About 100km northwest of Lijiang in Yunnan province is where the Yangtze River’s upper reaches, the Jingsha Jiang, channel with ...