Disappearing Guangzhou – Part 2

As luck would have it, on the second day of my new years trip to Guangzhou I came across another fascinating old district not far from Shamian Island. Walking north-east from the island you reach Guangfu South Road along which lie countless wholesale fabric and accessory shops but it’s what lies behind them that’s more interesting…

Cart Maintenance

A chap repairs his cart with a screwdriver and a drop of oil.


Another stops for a solitary cigarette.

Broken Chair

This chair has some life left in it yet!

Classic Bicycle

If you’re looking for vintage Chinese bicycles this is the place to come.

Beautiful Abandonment

Or ornate wooden doors for that matter.

Green Walk

The streets were in surprisingly good repair and had some beautiful foliage on either side. There were plenty of older folks out for an afternoon stroll.

Afternoon Stroll
Red Rider

Little red riding hood.

Alleyway Garden

I love the fact that neighbours share communal space in these old districts with washing, pot plants and other miscellanea lining the alleyways.

Derelict House

While many of the houses are still lived in by older generations some lie abandoned and rotting.

Old Home
Lonely Socks
Silent Spy

Can you spot the silent spy who was watching my every move?

Broken Shoes

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Green Window

Proof that China once had good taste.

Fortified Tower

The most fascinating part of the area was this old fortified tower. Try as I might find an entrance I was unsuccessful but I did manage to venture inside one of the buildings nearby and discovered an amazing old winding wooden staircase. Sadly it was too dark for photos.

Stacked Cardboard
Ancient Stairway

Just when you think you’ve reached a dead end in the maze another option presents itself.

Hidden Rooftops

This time with a good vantage point to look out over the ancient rooftops.

Hanging Washing

…and to dry your washing!

Old Guangzhou

A good location for a Bond action scene I’d say.

Concrete Stairwells

The modern adjacent apartment blocks were more like prisons than homes and this leads nicely back to the title of my posts about Guangzhou’s disappearing heritage.

China is falling foul of the same mistake most other industrialised nations have made during their rise and it’s extremely sad to think that in a few years most of these old districts will be completely wiped out and replaced with gleaming temples to consumerism (i.e. shopping malls).

David avatar

3 responses

  1. wow great photos, sad to see the newer buildings lack the richness and communal nature of the old. But many older ones lack modern day ammenities like electricity you think?

    1. Thanks Nancy – most of the places have been retrofitted with electricity but all the ammenities are very basic hence young people don’t want to live there or take on the financial burdon of restoration. I imagine in winter they are especially cruel places to live but the older generations are used to it.


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