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Pearl of the Pearl River

Updated: Feb 26, 2019 By Erik Nilsson China Daily Print
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Ancient thoroughfares can be seen through glass panels in the ground along Beijing Road. [PHOTO BY CHEN BAOZHONG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Nanyue palace ruins

A 2,000-year-old garden was uncovered when construction crews were excavating foundations for high rises in the 1990s.

Ruins of the 30,000-square-meter palace complex of the Nanyue (203 BC-111 BC) and Nanhan (917-971) kingdoms near the city's center are pocked with over 500 wells drilled over two millennia and streaked by more than 160 meters of man-made streams with "speed bumps" to create waves.

About 120 legible bamboo slips were found inside the wells in 2004-a remarkable discovery, since few such historical records have survived the region's humidity. Iron and leather armor for soldiers and horses was also found in the founts.

The garden grounds, selected for their outstanding feng shui, also hosted the bones of 20 animal species, including crocodiles, bears and porcupines. The shells of 120 turtles averaging 35 centimeters were discovered, along with the remains of 40 plant species.

Visitors can uncover how the city has transformed over centuries and then step outside to explore the modern metropolis it has become.

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