Gaoyou China



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Description: Open source travel guide to Gaoyou, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

Gaoyou City is a historic city of 150,000 located on the eastern shore of Gaoyou Lake, in central Jiangsu Province. A rapidly growing city today, Gaoyou’s history stretches back over 7,000 years to the ancient settlement at Longquizhuang. The name “Gaoyou” translates as “high post”, referring to Gaoyou’s important role as part of China’s early Imperial postal system. In celebration of this heritage, a roundabout at the center of town features a large sculpture of the post couriers. The Grand Canal of China, the world’s longest man-made waterway, runs west of the city, and beyond that lies Gaoyou Lake. The Beijing-Shanghai expressway is just east of the city, providing easy access for visitors and goods. Gaoyou is a suburb of Yangzhou, which is 40 km (25 mi.) to the south, and falls under its political jurisdiction. Gaoyou County has an area of 1963 square kilometers (755 sq. miles) and a population of approximately 830,000. It includes over 20 townships, including the Hui Nationality (Muslim) township of Lingtang, which is home to eastern China’s largest Mosque. The garment industry plays a major role Gaoyou’s broadly based economy, producing over 30 million pieces of clothing per year. Other manufacturing and industrial businesses in the area include the machinery, textile, mechanical, building materials, and electronics industries. With a location in China’s breadbasket, agriculture also plays an important role in the economy. Fresh produce abounds in the city’s markets, and local specialties include Gaoyou Double Yolk Duck Eggs and Lotus root. Gaoyou has a long, rich history, beautiful scenery, and 59 historical sites. With this in mind, it is easy to see why the Jiangsu Provincial Government has designated Gaoyou a “Famous Historic and Cultural City”. Gaoyou double-yolk duck eggs are one of the region’s most famous exports. The County has been renowned for the eggs since the Song Dynasty, 900 years ago. Qin Shaoyou, a famous poet during the North Song Dynasty, gave Gaoyou eggs as presents to his best friend and teacher, Su Dongpo, who was the governor in Xuzhou at that time. Many writers and poets in Chinese history have written of Gaoyou eggs, and described the eggs delicacy in their works.

The first record of Gaoyou’s residents resides at the Longqiu archeological site just north of Gaoyou. There, scientists have uncovered a 7,000-year-old village where farmers grew rice near an ancient river. The Chinese Government has recognized the significance of this site and given it national level protection. Emperor Ying Zheng founded Gaoyou in 221 BC, during the Qin Dynasty, when he had a relay station for the postal courier system built on the site of today’s city. This post gave Gaoyou its name, with Gaoyou meaning “High Post”. In AD 1375, the Ming Dynasty upgraded Gaoyou’s postal services with the building of the Yucheng Post station. Located adjacent to the Grand Canal, the station made it possible for imperial special messengers to not only change horses, but also utilize boats and ferries, which were always at their disposal. Gaoyou has two ancient pagodas, the Jingtu and Zhenguosi Pagodas. The 30-meter high Jingtu Pagoda, in central Gaoyou, was constructed in AD 1612 during the Ming Dynasty, and has recently gone through an extensive renovation. The 25 meter Zhenguosi Pagoda is located on a small island on the western side of the Grand Canal. Although the 1,100+ year old Pagoda is in poor repair, the adjoining Buddhist temple has undergone an extensive renovation, and a new bridge now allows access to the island. In 486 BC, The Grand Canal was constructed through Gaoyou. It finally reached its maximum length in AD 1291 stretching 1794 kilometers from Beijing in the north, to Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province in the south. The canal has gone through many cycles of building, use, disrepair, and rebuilding over the centuries and has been a significant factor in the development of China. Today the canal is still a busy waterway used to transport massive quantities of gravel and other bulk goods for China’s bustling economy. Gaoyou Lake and the Grand Canal are suspended above the surrounding plains by an extensive system of dikes. Over the centuries, breaks in the dikes have lead to massive floods, including a flood in 1931 that killed as many as 3.7 million people. On the grounds of Wenyou Tai, a historic site on the north side of the city, there is a museum dedicated to remembrance of the1931 floods featuring aerial photos of a flooded Gaoyou taken by Charles & Anna Lindbergh. Several notable figures in Chinese culture and history are associated with Gaoyou. Among them are Qin Shaoyou, a well-known poet of the Song Dynasty; Wang Nian Sun and Wang Yin Zhi (father and son), celebrated classics interpreters during the Qing Dynasty; Sun Yunzhu, the modern paleontologist; and Wang Chenqi, the contemporary writer.

Gaoyou does not have an airport or train station, so your best option to get there is via personal guide and driver out of Nanjing. Our family arranged a trip to Gaoyou through “Our Chinese Daughter’s Foundation” (OCDF), and would happily use them again. Our trip to Gaoyou started by flying into Shanghai, then taking a train to Nanjing. In Nanjing, an OCDF guide picked us up and drove us the three-hour trip north to Gaoyou. The train is a great way to travel, but I would recommend having a guide help you get on and off the train as it can be very crowded and confusing, especially at peak travel times. It is possible to arrange a driver and guide right out of Shanghai to take you direct to Gaoyou but this is much more expensive. Gaoyou is off the beaten path, as far as tourism goes, and the industry isn’t well supported. If you see a Gaoyou souvenir you like even a little, buy it. They are few and far between. It is worth noting that, unlike some of the larger cities in China, you will find few people in Gaoyou that speak English. This can make ordering food, and making even minor arrangements with the hotel staff, a challenge. On the other hand, you can walk freely down the streets without vendors selling cheap knock-off goods hounding you. You may have a hard time cashing traveler’s checks in Gaoyou as the hotel doesn’t take them, nor do they exchange US dollars. There is a bank, one block north of the Hotel (left out the front door) where you can exchange funds. It also has a bank machine out front where you can withdraw cash with a credit card. It is probably best to travel to Gaoyou with all the money you need already exchanged for RMB.

WALKING TOUR - NORTH LOOP - GAOYOU CWI, RENMIN PARK This walk is roughly 2½ to 3 miles in length and, like the first one virtually, flat. It passes through Gaoyou’s shopping districts, outdoor markets, by the Gaoyou CWI and through Renmin Park. To get started, take a left out the front door of the hotel, and walk across the parking lot to Haicho Lu, turn left again and continue west down the broad avenue. If you are out walking in the morning, you may notice a side street where local vendors have set up an impromptu market. It is worth a walk through this market as you may see interesting sights you won’t soon forget. About ½ mile west of the hotel, on Haichao Lu, is the large roundabout that is the town center, or square. In the island at the center of the roundabout is famous sculpture of two men on horses, along with a third rider-less horse. The monument, a Gaoyou icon, represents the hard riding ancient postal carriers. On the far side of the monument is a grocery store where you can pick up snacks and bottled water. As you continue west from the roundabout, Haichao Lu becomes Fuqian Jie. Continue along Fuqian Jie for another ½ mile or so, then take a right on Zhongshang Lu. The first street on the left is Gaogongqiao Lu, where you’ll find the Gaoyou CWI about a hundred yards down this street on the north side, and the Gaoyou Gymnasium across the street, a little farther to the west. Following Gaogongqiao Lu to the end will take you up on the Grand Canal dike for views of the canal. From here, you’ll also see, just to the north, the “Second Bridge over the Grand Canal at Gaoyou”. A short walk over the bridge will give you views along the canal and of Gaoyou Lake just on the other side. As you head east back across the bridge you will be looking down another major Gaoyou street, Tonghu Lu. Loop under the bridge and proceed east on this street. The first intersection you come across will be Zhongshang Lu again. If it is still in the AM, and you have time, you can take a left on Zhongshang Lu and walk the short distance to the Beimen Market. The market is empty in the afternoon, but in the morning is full of vendors selling wonderful produce, meat, and other goods. With many homes in China lacking refrigerators, families buy fresh food daily for their meals. I find these farmers’s type markets are a great insight into the lives of Gaoyou residents. After backtracking to Tonghu Lu, continue east a short distance, watching for the entrance to Renmin Park (see pg. 18). A gate, set back from the street a little ways, on the left (south) side, marks the entrance. The park is a nice place to duck for a break from the chaos and noise of the city. If you like jade, check out the jewelry store next to the gate, it has a large selection. Back on Tonghu Lu, continue on until you see the KFC (the only American place in Gaoyou). This street is Yucheng Lu, a very busy shopping area with lots of small shops selling clothes and shoes. This is a great place to buy shoes for the kids at $3-$5 a pr. There is also a bakery with great baked goods. Continuing south on Yucheng Lu takes you back to the Post Rider Monument, where you can bear left, and follow Haicho Lu back to the hotel.




Photogallery Gaoyou China:



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