Guangzhou is the provincial capital of Guangdong Province, China’s third-largest city. Its city centre lies near the head of the Pearl River Delta, more than 90 miles (145 km) inland from the South China Sea. Because of its position at the meeting point of inland rivers and the sea, it has long been one of China’s main commercial and trading centers. It has served as a doorway for foreign influence since the 3rd century CE and was the first Chinese port to be regularly visited by European traders, who called it Canton. In addition, proximity to Hong Kong has made Guangzhou a strategic port for centuries.
With a long history and many cultural attractions, Guangzhou has become one of China’s principal tourist destinations. Large tracts of parkland, many of them created since 1949, help give the city its characteristically lush appearance and provide the citizenry with a wide variety of recreational facilities. Besides, the vitality of the Cantonese people is exemplified by their passion for food. Cantonese cuisine is world-renowned, and foodies will find more restaurants per capita here than anywhere else in China.