The old and magnificent Temple of Nanhai God is an important ruin in Guangzhou and serves to illustrate the city s long and colourful marine trade history with the rest of the world. It is the best-preserved example of its type and size in China. The Temple of Nanhai God has a history of more than 1,400 years, dating back to its construction in the fourteenth year of the reign of Emperor Suiwen. It was re-constructed and refurbished many times in successive dynasties, and in its present form is an example of Qing Dynasty architecture, although it keeps its original Sui Dynasty size and basic structure.
The Temple of Nanhai God occupies an area of 30,000 m , and the main building consists of a front entrance, the second front entrance, double corridor, Li Pavilion, main hall and Zhaoling Palace. In the temple, there are not only many annexes-- such as stone lions, ornamental columns, Han Yu Stele Pavilion, Kaibao Stele Pavilion, and Hongwu Stele Pavilion-- but also cultural relics, such as a bronze drum and bells from the Han and Ming Dynasties andNanhai God Jade Seal.The Temple of Nanhai God also houses many stone carvings from past dynasties.
The Chinese Marine Silk Road, formed in the Han Dynasty, took Tang Dynasty cargo boats setting sail from Guangzhou to West Asia and the Persian Gulf. After the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the route stretched to touch the Occidental world. As a result, the route served to act as a bridge-of sorts-between the politics, economies and cultures of the Eastern and Western worlds.
The Temple of Nanhai God, which flourished due to its eminent position on the Chinese Marine Silk Road, serves as a historical testimony of just how prosperous Guangzhou was in terms of maritime trade. As a result of this distinguished history, the temple has bequithed many precious historical relics, such as unmatched writings and inscriptions by the emperor.