At the northern end of the Gaoqi-Jimei Sea Dyke lies the town of Jimei which is located in the north of Xiamen Special Economic Zone, 17 kilometers (about 11 miles) from the city center. It is opposite to Xiamen Island and is at the foot of Tianma Mountain. Encircled by the sea on three sides, the town is well known for its magnificent buildings and picture-postcard scenery.
Jimei is the hometown of Tan Kah-kee, a famous overseas Chinese philanthropist, who founded Xiamen University in 1913. He then went on to build a kindergarten, a science centre, a library and several other schools teaching various subjects, turning Jimei from a rural village into a sizeable town whose total student population of more than 100,000 exceeds that of the local residents.
Nowadays, Jimei is one of the four most popular tourist sites of Xiamen City, especially for its academic atmosphere as well as pretty natural and social sights. As a tourist site, Jimei has the following attractions to offer: Jimei Study Village, Aoyuan (Turtle Garden), Returnees' Hall and Wanbao Hill Sightseeing Farm.
Jimei Study Village
The most remarkable feature is without doubt the Jimei Study Village founded by Mr. Tan Kah Kee in 1913. Jimei Study Village is a general name for all schools and cultural institutions here. It occupies an area of over 10 hectares (about 25 acres) on a variety of various levels and schools ranging from primary to higher education and from traditional to vocational schools. The magnificent scale of this project has no equal elsewhere in China.
The buildings of Jimei Study Village are a combination of eastern and western styles, facing the beautiful seashore, and they are attractive places for visitors. Blending the Chinese architectural style with western one, Jimei Study Village has become a symbol of Jimei.
Among the buildings of unique style are Daonan Lou in Jimen Middle School, Nanxun Lou in Overseas Chinese School and the Teaching Building of Navigation College. In front of the Daonan Lou is the Drangon Boat Pond, 800 meters long and 300 meters wide. Around it are seven pavilions of different styles, with curved eaves and carved pillars. They are called "Seven Stars Falling onto the Ground". In the middle of the pond stand two pavilions designed by Mr.Tan Kah-kee, which are named "Lonely Star Accompanying the moon". Every year, during the Dragon Boat Festival, the dragon boat racing is held in the pond with shining ripples and melodious Nanqu (south Fujian Opera) accompanied by drumbeats. Several international dragon boat racings have been held here and attracted groups of tourists at home and abroad.
Jimei University was formed by the amalgamation of five former colleges and it is now Xiamen City's major center of education and culture and has been given the general designation of Jimei Study Village. Recently, Jimei Study Village has been selected as a protected cultural relic of the nation together with another spot in Jimei, Ao Yuan.
Aoyuan (Turtle Garden)
Turtle Garden (Aoyuan), lying on the southeastern seashore of Jimei, was built in four years from 1950. The Jimei Liberation Monument of 18 meters height (about 59 feet) and the tomb of Mr. Tan are sited in Turtle Garden. Turtle Garden includes a 50-metre-long corridor, a monument and the Mausoleum of Tan Kah-kee. The walls on both sides of the corridor have carvings of more than 40 pictures relating the lives of historical figures. A pagoda-shaped stone monument is erected in the centre of the garden. On the stone railings are relief sculptures depicting the life of this great patriot.
Walled by white stones and roofed with green tiles, the Returnees' Hall covering an area of 4,000 square metres is a typical sample of south fujian constructions. As the former residence of Mr. Tan Kah-kee, the building is marked by Mr. Tan's bronze standing statue in front.
At the two wings of the residence, exhibition halls were built to display Mr.Tan Kah-kee's life and achievements. The exhibition halls were in a 3-storey building with an area of 800 square meters. Articles displayed include pictures, illustrations, charts, material objects, some rare cultural relics and the only left book of "Family Tree of Tan's in Jimei." These exhibits vividly presenting to the audience the whole life of Mr.Tan Kah-kee as the great leader of the patriotic overseas Chinese. It has become a certain destination for visitors to Xiamen from home and abroad.
Wanbao Hill Sightseeing Farm
Located by the side of Guankouken inner road of No.324 national highway in Jimei District, the Wanbao Hill Sightseeing Farm covers an area of 500 mu. As the field is not very high, tourists can easily get into the orchard to look around. All year around fruit trees are planted in the garden for picking and tasting by the tourists in any month. There are lichee, longan, citrus fruits, carambola, persimmon, mango, strawberry, peaches, plums and more.
The farm is also equipped with a fishing pound, barbecue areas, camping areas, farming areas, refreshment rooms and a restaurant for customers' convenience and to meet their special interests. Further more, a holiday villa within the farm can provide lodging and all kinds of entertainments.
In addition to the spots mentioned above, Jiageng Park, Dragon Boat Pond, Yanping Gulei, Crocodile Garden, etc. are also appealing to visitors.
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