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October 17, 2022

50 Fascinating Photos Capture Everyday Life of Guangzhou in the Late 1970s

Guangzhou is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province in southern China. Located on the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road; it continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub as well as being one of China’s three largest cities.

Guangzhou in 1978

For a long time the only Chinese port accessible to most foreign traders, Guangzhou was captured by the British during the First Opium War. No longer enjoying a monopoly after the war, it lost trade to other ports such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, but continued to serve as a major transshipment port.

Due to a high urban population and large volumes of port traffic, Guangzhou is classified as a Large-Port Megacity, the largest type of port-city in the world. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, the major airport of Guangzhou, became the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic in 2020.

Guangzhou is home to many of China’s most prestigious universities, including Sun Yat-sen University, South China University of Technology, Jinan University, South China Normal University, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou University, Southern Medical University, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine.

These fascinating photos were taken by David G. that documented everyday life of Guangzhou in 1978.

Acrobatics lesson, Guangzhou, 1978

Acrobatics lesson, Guangzhou, 1978

Bicyclist, Guangzhou, 1978

Big character poster posted during the Democracy Wall period, Guangzhou, December 1978

Bookstore, Guangzhou, 1978

Bus stop, Guangzhou, 1978

Busdriver, Guangzhou, 1978

Candy-tobacco-liquor store, Guangzhou, 1978

Cantonese roasted meat, Guangzhou, 1978

Card players, Shamian Island, Guangzhou, 1978

Chickens in the alley, Guangzhou, 1978

Early capitalist activity, Guangzhou, 1978

Food facility, Guangzhou, 1978

For sale, Guangzhou, 1978

Fruit market, Guangzhou, 1978

Getting on the bus, Guangzhou, 1978

Going home, Guangzhou, 1978

Guangzhou girls, 1978

Guangzhou girls, 1978

Guangzhou girls, 1978

Guangzhou housing, Guangzhou, 1978

Guangzhou laborer, 1978

Guangzhou street scenes, 1978

Guangzhou street scenes, 1978

Guangzhou street scenes, 1978

Guangzhou street scenes, 1978

Guangzhou street scenes, 1978

Guangzhou street scenes, 1978

Guangzhou street scenes, 1978

Guangzhou street scenes, 1978

Market, Guangzhou, 1978

Market, Guangzhou, 1978

Pearl River, Guangzhou, 1978

Poolside at the Dongfang Hotel, Guangzhou, 1978

Proud dad, Guangzhou, 1978

Rainy day, Guangzhou, 1978

Rainy day, Guangzhou, 1978

Rainy street, Guangzhou, 1978

Reading the newspaper, Guangzhou, 1978

School entrance, Guangzhou, 1978

Schoolkids, Guangzhou, 1978

Schoolyard, Shamian Island, the formerly Western part of Guangzhou, 1978

Schoolyard, Shamian Island, the formerly Western part of Guangzhou, 1978

Showing a Polaroid picture, Guangzhou, 1978

Street slogan. Sign in the back is part of a slogan talking about modernizing Socialism, Guangzhou, 1978

Streetcrossers, Guangzhou, 1978

The sign it says: “We Must Liberate Taiwan!”, Guangzhou, 1978

Ticket guy, Guangzhou, 1978

Urban housing units, Guangzhou, 1978

Young street seller, Guangzhou, 1978

(Photo © David G.)




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