Built over 800 years ago during the Song Dynasty, Shawan Ancient Town is a cultural heritage site in the Panyu District of Guangzhou. It offers visitors a glimpse of what the ancient town looked like centuries ago.
Shawn has abundant cultural heritage attractions — both tangible and intangible — including over 100 ancient shrines and buildings, Cantonese music, Piao-se (festival performances), dragon lion dancing, folk sculpture, and more. Spending a day in the town promises an idyllic and culturally rewarding experience. Here we would like to highlight some of the attractions in Shawan that you should not miss.
Attractions in Shawan Ancient Town
1. Liugeng Hall
Liugeng Hall (留耕堂), located in the north part of the village, is the ancestral hall of the He Clan Temple. It was built in 1277 during the Yuan Dynasty, but the original structure was destroyed, and it took more than 17 years to rebuild the hall in the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty, in 1700. The hall occupies 3,334.25 square meters, and all the buildings are laid out in accord with ancient patriarchal etiquette.
2. Sanren Hall
Sanren Hall (三稔厅), or the memory hall of Cantonese music, was built during Emperor Jiaqing’s reign in the Qing Dynasty. Shawan was one of the birthplaces of Cantonese music. Many Cantonese music stalwarts, such as He Bozhong, He Liutang, and He Shaoxia, invited music lovers to create and play music in Sanren Hall. Today, visitors can observe exhibitions in the hall and listen to authentic Cantonese music.
3. Wengfeng Tower
Wengfeng Tower(文峰塔), situated in Guan alley in the northern sector of the village, was built in 1721. As a classic fengshui building of Liugeng Hall, the tower has six corners with three floors. It used to be the highest point in ancient Shawan. Among the statues inside the tower is one of the patron saint of academics; in ancient times, children from near and far would flock here in droves to worship the statues before heading back to school.
Address: Shawan Ancient Town, Panyu District (番禺区沙湾古镇）
How to get there:
Take metro line 3 to Shiqiao Station. Get out from Exit B, walk to Baiyue Plaza West Entrance, and take bus Pan 67 to Shawan Culture Center, and then walk northwest to the ancient town.
(By Penny Liu, Louis Berney)