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The South Gate

Traces remain of a city that thrived long before Deng Xiaoping created "modern Shenzhen" 
 
Name: Xinan Old Town, Nantou, Nanshan, Shenzhen, Guangdong, PRC

It is often said--and I've repeated the myth myself--that Shenzhen was "just a fishing village" until Deng Xiaoping decreed the establishment of a "special economic zone" in 1980.  The truth is that the city is much older than that, as the "official history" and the presence of old Nantou both attest.  In fact, in 1573 Nantou became the seat of a county encompassing not only modern Shenzhen, but Hong Kong, Kowloon, and the New Territories as well.  (These were severed from the county by "unequal treaties" with the British.)  Though the history doesn't say it, there must have been a substantial town there in order for it to be declared a "county seat," so I think we can safely say that Nantou is over 500 years old.  As it is now incorporated into Shenzhen's Nanshan district, how can we say there was "nothing there"?

The town today is a mix of mainly modern buildings with the occasional old house or moon gate, as well as a magnificent main gate

The gate on Shennan Road, next to Guan Gong Temple
The village Reception House, where important visitors would have been greeted

A moon gate leads into a housing compound
This old house stands forlornly behind a modern gate

This is the exterior of a small shrine.  Around the corner to the left is an even smaller one.

Below left: Interior of smaller shrine

Below right: Interior of larger shrine

 

Getting there: From Guan Gong Temple (see link below), walk out the west gate and turn right (north) into Xinan Old Town.
Located near:  Guan Gong Temple, Nantou
About the photos:   All photos on this page are copyright 2004 by James Baquet
References:  A brief history

A slightly longer history

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