Located in the heart of downtown Foshan, the Foshan Ancestor Temple is worth a visit on 2 counts: the architecture itself is stunning, and the interior spaces display interesting exhibits of Chinese martial arts.
Zu Miao, or the Foshan Ancestor Temple, is located in the city of Foshan, which is about one hour by MTR from Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province.
Situated in the city's central business district, the temple dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty (1078-1085).
It is one of the main cultural relics of Guangdong province as well as one of the most famous tourist sites in Guangdong. In 1949, it was converted into the Foshan Museum.
The term temple is a bit misleading because this is actually a compound comprising several buildings scattered about gardens and courtyards.
Covering an area of 3,000 square metres of 32,300 square feet, it has a portico, a main hall, the Festival Hall of Truth, the Pond of Scented Brocade, and the Theatre of a Thousand Good Fortunes.
Some of the buildings are embellished with gilt carvings.
The original Foshan Ancestorl Temple dates back to late 11th century. It was rebuilt in 1372 after burning down.
Not only is the architecture of the buildings impressive, the interior spaces also have some very interesting exhibitions related to Chinese kung fu, or the Chinese marshal arts.
Zu Miao was undergoing a complete restoration project during my visit in 2011, but it has surely been completed by now.
Updated: 11 May 2015.
I spent about 45 minutes at Zu Miao. I had to cut my visit short because I had a luncheon engagement. I think that about 90 minutes would be necessary to do the place justice.
What's more, there are several lion dancing performances every day. I really wish that I had been able to take one of these in as I LOVE lion dancing!!!