Shamian Island (沙面岛), literally means "sandy surface" in Chinese, is an elliptic sandbank island in the Liwan District of Guangzhou, and is the greatest reminder of the colonial era in Guangzhou.
Shamian used to be a sandbank with White Swan Pond to its south, and Shaji to its north. "Huajie Pavillion" was built during the Ming Dynasty to manage foreign trades, and Xigu Fort was built during the Qing Dynasty to guard the city of Guangzhou.
After the outbreak of the Second Opium War, the territory was divided into two concessions, which were given to France and the British by the Qing government in the 19th century.
The island is now a gazetted historical area that serves as a tranquil reminder of the colonial European period, and is dotted with various historical buildings. Its architectural complex was listed as important Historical Monuments of Guangzhou under Special Preservation in 1996.
Shamian comprises near to 100 buildings, which fully demonstrates the technique and artistry of western buildings, while also incorporates the Lingnan Culture.
Besides these historical buildings, the island also houses hotels, restaurants, park/garden as well as various shops. Shamian is a good place to experience European-style architecture in Guangzhou, which is worth a visit.
At Huangsha Subway Station (Line 1), take Exit F. Once you are out from the station, you will see a pedestrian bridge. Cross the bridge, and you are the side of the island.