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|Country||People's Republic of China|
|County seat||Panzhou (潘州)|
|• Total||3,270.8 km2 (1,262.9 sq mi)|
|Population (2010 census)|
|• Density||390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||China Standard (UTC+8)|
|Literal meaning||High Prefecture|
Gaozhou is a county-level city in southwestern Guangdong Province, China. Formerly the primary city in the area, it is now administered as part of the prefecture-level city of Maoming. At the time of the 2010 census, Gaozhou had a population of 1,288,665 living in its 3,270.8 km2 (1,262.9 sq mi) territory. The locals speak a variation of the Gaozhou dialect. It is best known in China for being the ancestral home of Leo Ku.
Gaozhou is a historically important city in Guangdong. Under the Qing, it was the seat of Gaozhou Commandery, overseeing Dianbai, Huazhou, Maoming, "Sih-ching", Wuchuan, and Xinyi Counties. After the Chinese Civil War, it was placed under the administration of Maoming as Gaozhou County and then promoted to county-level city status in 1993.
Administratively, Gaozhou is a county-level city under the jurisdiction of the provincial-level city Maoming in Guangdong Province. The city of Gaozhou consists of five districts (Panzhou, Shanmei, Baoguang, Shizailing, and Jinshan); the county includes another 23 towns.
Gaozhou is a small town located around 400 kilometres away from Guangzhou, China and can be reached by car in four to five hours. Gaozhou is a small town and part of the Maoming prefecture. It stands as an important centre for education and culture for the people of the countryside around the town.
Life in Gaozhou is idyllic, with the main buzz of activity emanating from the several school campuses housing thousands of students from the areas surrounding this town. While the city itself is quite dull and unattractive, the countryside around Gaozhou boasts of lush green fields, scenic hills blanketed with lychee and longan orchards and visions of farmers ploughing their fields, all adding up to an ideal rural getaway. Life here is different from big cities like Guangzhou in the sense that the lives of people here revolve around a good family life, frequent socialising, an emphasis on education and sports. For entertainment, people here frequent KTV bars, or drive up to Maoming, a bigger town located 60 kilometres from here. Though people here like socialising over food, there are no good restaurants save for a "dhaba" style thatched roof restaurant on the outskirts of the town.
Gaozhou has few important landmarks and most places do not even have a mailing address. However the prominent landmark is the Gaozhou middle school, home to over 10000 students who are all mostly from Gaozhou and the surrounding small towns and villages. The school is set in the midst of picturesque hills and is well equipped with a boarding school, sports facilities, a dining hall, and classrooms with computers, projectors and sound systems. The school was founded more than a hundred years ago and over the years has developed into one of the finest schools in Guangdong. Extreme care is taken to ensure the well being of the student and to guarantee success in the school examinations. While to most day scholars, the routine may sound daunting and almost prison like, for the average Gaozhou student though the routine hardly seems a bother, so much so that some even enjoy the cold showers and the relentless pressure to excel in studies.
What might be of interest to the gastronomer or the rural tourist are the lychee and longan farms located in and around Gaozhou that have garnered special attention to become tourist destinations. The fruits also find place on the food shelves of Carrefour supermarkets around Guangdong, thanks to the co-operative farming initiatives between the local government and the French chain. The season for lychees is between the months of May and June, when one can easily find hundreds of vendors plying their wares on the sides of the highway that connects Gaozhou to Guangzhou. Lychees are also an important means of socialising as families bring back different varieties of lychees from their individual farms every week and exchange them with other families in the town, thus reinforcing old bonds and forming new ones.
At first sight, life in Gaozhou is like a still photograph waiting for new character. But the picture slowly gains colour and movement as one spends time here and it is easy to fall in love with this quaint little town.
- "Maoming Economic and Social Development Report". Bureau of Statistics of Gaozhou. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- Gützlaff, Charles, China Opened, p. 527.
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