GUANGZHOU, a city renowned for it's culture, has a history of more than 2,200 years. As early as in Chou Period, 9th century BC, there were commercial exchanges between Baiyue people in Guangzhou and people of Chu State in the middle reach of Yangtze River, the name "Chu Ting" originated, which was the earliest name of Guangzhou. In the 33rd year of Emperor Qin Shihuang (214 BC), Qin unified Lingnan, Nanhai prefecture (capital was built at "Panyu" where it is today). In the year 226, in order to strengthen the rule, Sun Quan decided to divide original Jiaozhou into two parts--Jiaozhou and Guangzhou. Name of Guangzhou became known since then. The city formally got the name "Guangzhou" since the municipal council was set up in 1921.
Guangzhou has other nicknames such as "Yangcheng" (Ram City) and "Rice Spikeear City". Since the flowers keep blossoming all the year, so it is also called "Flower City". There is a beautiful legend which goes like that, long long ago in the Zhou Dynasty, there were five celestials riding five rams with rice spikes in their mouths. The five celestials presented spikes to the residents of Guangzhou, and wished that there would be bumper harvests and no famine anymore from then on. Then, the celestials flew away and left five rams that turned into stones. Now a special Five-Ram Sculpture was built in Yuexiu Park in order to memorize the five celestials.
Guangzhou was a prosperous city during the Qin and Han Dynasties. It was the earliest trade port in China opening to the outside world, and the starting port of the "Silk Road on the Sea" since the Han and Tang Dynasties.