Located in the central part of the Zhujiang River Delta, Foshan has a favorable geographic location and excellent natural conditions, and long been called"a land of fish and rice " for its plentiful products. It has a total area of 4, 736 square kilometers (the city proper, 77 square kilometers) and a population of 2.63 million in 1987 (municipal population, 0.33 million). During the Qin and Han Dynasty, Foshan became an agricultural and fishery village of a considerable size, and the present urban seat was called "Jihua Village" in the Sui Dynasty. In 628 (AD), three bronze statues of Buddha were excavated in Tapo Hill within the town, thus changing its name to Foshan which is called "Chan" for short. Ceramic industry rose in the Tang Dynasty and brought the name "Ceramic Capital in South China" for the city whose products sold well at home and abroad. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Foshan had enjoyed equal popularity with Zhuxian Town in Henan Province, Jingde Town in Jiangxi Province, Hankou Town in Hubei Province, thus identified as one of the four famous towns in China. Ceramics, casting, textile, pharmacy and folk handicrafts were extremely flourishing in the early Qin Dynasty when the population reached 0.9 million. Foshan was a town of Nanhai county after the Xinghai Revolution, and became a city in 1951. Being a well-known industrial city of medium size in Guangdong Province, Foshan has four pillar industries of textile, electronics, ceramics and plastics, and also a rather string foundation in food-processing, pharmacy, printing, crafts, hardware, electric appliance, machinery and casting, acting as a comprehensive commodity base in Guangdong Province. 24 external ports opened by Foshan Airport. Keeping abreast with large cities such as Shenyang and Wuhan, Foshan got a total output value of industry and agriculture of 16.8 billion Yuan in 1988, three times what was in 1980. Purchasing value for foreign export was 2.3 billion Yuan in 1988. Since 1960's, Foshan has been a national Red-Flag (model) City in public hygiene, and also renowned for track and field sports. Zumiao (ancestral) Temple and Lianyuan Garden are the main ancient buildings. Traditional handicrafts include papercuttings, decorative lamps, Shiwan figures, and colorful costumes worn by local people who parade in the streets in the autumn.
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