Cantón, China

Vivir en Cantón

Iyna Bort Caruso

The metropolis of Guangzhou is considered the southern gate to China. Situated on the Pearl River and navigable to the South China Sea, this port city 75 miles north of Hong Kong is one of China’s major trading centers.

It always was. Guangzhou was a stop on the ancient Silk Road that connected China with India, the Middle East and Africa.

The country’s third largest city behind Beijing and Shanghai, Guangzhou is the capital of wealthy Guangdong Province. Its history dates back more than two millennia, but this megacity once better known to Westerners as Canton, is fast growing and progressive.

China’s largest trade expo, the China Import and Export Fair, has been held here for more than 60 years. The city’s rapid development as a high tech cluster is buoying the economy and helping to attract foreign investors. 

Guangzhou is perhaps most famously known for its Cantonese cuisine. The celebrated dishes of the Pearl River Delta garner global attention. The city boasts the largest number of restaurants per capita in China. Nature, too, is part of Guangzhou’s appeal. Hiking trails, parks, wetlands and botanical gardens are happily connected through an ever-expanding metro system and vast bicycle network.                                                    

The city is divided into ten, densely populated districts that run along the waterfront. Prime real estate has experienced sustained demand, especially in the city core, and seen increasing interest from international investors. The landmark Guangzhou Tower, or Canton Tower, a 600-meter high TV tower that briefly held the record as the world’s tallest, serves as an orientation point. A number of buildings have been described as art pieces. The Guangzhou Opera House was designed by the late Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid and intended to resemble twin boulders overlooking the Pearl River. The Guangzhou Circle, a corporate building, is the world’s largest circular structure. It is also set on the Pearl River and the reflection of the skyscraper in the water forms the figure eight, a lucky number in Chinese culture. The more traditional building style of South China is Lingnan architecture, noted for its large porches, natural ventilation systems and relief carvings.