Gulangyu-Wanshi Scenic Land
Gulangyu-Wanshiyan Scenic Land is composed
of two scenic areas: Gulangyu（Gulang Island）and Wanshiyan (Wanshi Rock, or Ten thousand Rocks). The Gulangyu-Wanshiyan Land Administration, authorized by Xiamen Government is responsible for its overall planning and performance.Gulangyu is located to the southwest of Xiamen Island. It was once known as “Yuanshazhou” (round island), which dates backs to Song Dynasty (960-1279), and later changed into "Gulangyu" (Gulang Island, or Drumming Wave Island). It is about 1,800 meters long and 1,000 meters wide, in a pretty oval shape, with an area of 1.78 square kilometers and 23,000 residents.
This islet is outlined by a winding costal line dotted by grotesque rocks, where red brick buildings of various styles stand out against green trees against the charming Sunlight Rock. Bays, rocks, cliffs and groups of fluttering seagulls constitute a shining picture of an islet. No wonder Gulangyu is appropriately dubbed as “Pearl on the East Sea" and "Garden on the Sea", for its unique beauty. In 1988, it was ranked as a National Key Scenic Spot
In the southwest shore of the island; there are two overlapping crags, eroded by seawater over the years. Later, a vertical hole was formed in them. Whenever the tide flew in, waves rushed onto the crags, with a rumbling sound like an echo of the beating of a drum. Hence it got the names “Drumming Wave Rock” for the rock and “Drumming Wave Island”, or “Gulangshi" for the island.
Gulangyu has always enjoyed the reputation of "Land of Music" and "Land of Piano". It had more than 500 pianos in 1950's and1960's. Many world-famous musicians were born and grew up here. The ferry dock on the island shapes like a grand piano with its open lid. Tourists cannot but feel the unique appeal of music here the moment they set foot on it.
The Opium War opened Xiamen as one of the five trading ports. The westerners pouring in took an immediate fancy to Gulangyu. In 1902, Gulangyu became a public concession where Britain, America, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Sweden, the Philippines each established their own consulates and set up foreign firms, hospitals, schools and churches. Some rich overseas Chinese also built houses to invest in real estate here. When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, Gulangyu was occupied by Japan and the more than 100 years of colonial rule did not end until the success of the Anti-Japanese War was achieved in 1945.
That special period in Gulangyu’s history added variety and colors to the buildings on the island. There are south Fujian houses with upturned eaves, the Octagonal Tower resembling the White House in the US, the grand and towering catholic churches, European buildings with red tile sand large roofs, and villas of both Chinese and western styles. The island is just like “Museum of Ten-thousand Nations' Architectures"
The island has over 4,000 kinds of plants, classified into over 80 families. The green coverage rate reaches as high as 40%. And there is an average per capita afforested area of 5.1 square meters. With fresh air, thick forests and blooming flowers all year around, the island is also named "Garden on the Sea".
The main scenic spots on Gulangyu are: Sunlight Rock, Shuzhuang Garden, Bright Moon Garden, Yuyuan Garden, Xiamen Museum, the Ring Road, and Zheng Chenggong Memorial Hall.
Xiamen Botanical Garden, a plant garden with Wanshiyan Reservoir/lake at its center, is located to the southeast of Zhongshan Park and north of Wulao Mountain.
Xiamen Botanical Garden, built in 1960, has 1800,000 bushes of different kinds. There are gardens for various famous tropical and sub-tropical plants. It covers an area of 26 square kilometers, of which plant areas cover 2.27 acres, grass covers 1.5 acres and greenbelt covers 213.6 acres.
The plant gardens are distributed around the Wanshi Lake in a Chinese layout. There are 29-subjected planting areas like Conifer Garden, Bamboo Path, Rose Garden, Palm Garden, Araucaria Lawn and etc. Xiamen Botanical Garden is also an entertainment area with pavilions and modern facilities.
According to need of scientific research and tourism, there are also 3000 subtropical and tropical plants classified in more than 20 places like rose garden, palm garden, herbal plot, introduced plot, herbal plant garden, cactus garden, flower hall, and orchid garden. Among them, there are the living fossils of ginkgo and Chinese fir. Undoubtedly, Xiamen Botanical Garden is one with wonderful scenery and special plants to fill your wide curiosity.