Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province, has an area of 7434.4 square kilometres. The city is between latitude 220 and 249 north and longitude 1123 and 1445 east. Located in a temperature zone of subtropical climate, the annual temperature is about 21.7 with the highest of 38.7 and lowest of 0 . The annual precipitation is 1982.7 millimetres, with main rainfall concentrated in spring and autumn.
Guangzhou was probably founded in 214 B.C. as an encampment by the armies of the first Emperor of Qin Dynasty, Qin Shihuang. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the city was already an international port. The modernization of Guangzhou began in the early 1920s; most of the main streets defining the city today were built then. A feverish sense of urgency in construction -- it took only 18 months to build 40 kilometres (25 mi.) of road -- is evident even today. During that modernization in the 1920s, the remainder of the old city wall was pulled down. Today, throughout the city, high-risen hotels, bridges, and new highways now seemingly materialize overnight.
The personality of Guangzhou differs significantly from that of northern China. While one can stand in the middle of Tian’anmen Square in Beijing and feel the backbone of Chinese authority, one can easily stand on any street in Guangzhou and feel the lack of order inherent in the traffic and commotion. The language of Guangzhou is incomprehensible to northern Chinese, who typically speak Mandarin. A word in Cantonese has nine tones, instead of the four tones in the Mandarin dialect.
The area around Guangzhou was overcrowded even 200 years ago, and many peasants from the region emigrated to Southeast Asia, North America and Europe. As a result, Cantonese is the most common dialect amongst overseas Chinese. Likewise, Cantonese cuisine is the most widely-known of all Chinese idioms: in Beijing one talks, in Shanghai one shops, and in Guangzhou one eats. Without a doubt, Guangzhou is best known for its eclectic food -- from insect omelettes to dim sum. Famous for its snack-like form (dumplings, pastries and noodle dishes chosen from carts wheeled around the restaurant), dim sum is ubiquitous in Guangzhou.