Quanzhou is a prefecture-level city sitting in southeastern Fujian Province. The city was once a great trading port and a important stop on the maritime silk route. Located on the middle coast of Fujian Province and west bank of Taiwan Straits, Quanzhou is one of the three central cities in Fujian Province, one of the state-list famous historical and culture cities.
Quanzhou was founded in 718 AD during the Tang Dynasty, later changing its name to Min Nan. During the Tang Dynasty, Quanzhou became a budding seaport city, but was overshadowed by the port city of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. However, during the Song (960-1279AD) Dynasty, Quanzhou became China's largest seaport. It is recorded that Marco Polo described Quanzhou as "one of the largest and most commodious ports in the world".
Given its international status, Quanzhou served as a cultural crossroads, not just as a seaport for Maritime Silk Road. Admitted large communities of immigrant merchants from countries around the world, Quanzhou became a city known for its religious tolerance, with churches, temples and mosques representing diversified religions including Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism. Indeed, ancient Quanzhou has been referred to as "World Religions Museum". A statue of the "founding father" of Taoism, Lao-tzu, sits in the city, and many religious relics have been preserved.
Quanzhou is also rich of art and cultural relics. The city of Quanzhou is renowned for its Gaojia Opera, Liyuan Opera as well as its Min Nan music tradition. Both the opera and the music of Quanzhou could trace back to the ancient dialects in the Tang Dynasty. Quanzhou is also known for its Tieguanyin Tea, Dehua Porcelain as well as its Huian Stone Carvings. With Quanzhou’s multitude of cultural and historical scenic sites and rich history, Quanzhou is a paradise for all the tourists from every corner of the world.