Shamian Island, formerly known as Shameen Island or Shamin Island, from its Cantonese pronunciation, is a sandbank island in the Liwan District of Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, China. The island's name literally means "sandy surface" in Chinese.
The territory was divided into two concessions given to France and the United Kingdom by the Qing Dynasty government in the 19th century. The island is a gazetted historical area that serves as a tranquil reminder of the colonial European period, with quiet pedestrian avenues flanked by trees and lined by historical buildings in various states of upkeep. The island is the location of several hotels, a youth hostel, restaurants and tourist shops selling curios and souvenirs.
The island covers an area of 0.3 km sq,900 m from east to west, and 300 m from north to south.It is bordered in the south by the Pearl River, and it is separated from the mainland by a canal.
The French Catholic church, Our Lady of Lourdes, has been restored and stands on the main boulevard.Located at the French end of the island, it was completed in 1892.The British Protestant church, Christ Church Shameen was built in 1865.
Various bronze statues are scattered around the island which depict life as it was during earlier periods on the island, as well as from more recent times. For example, one statue entitled "A gentleman, a lady and a darn woman" shows a Western couple watching a Chinese woman darning cloth.
Since the early 2000s, Shamian Island has become well known for the many Western couples who reside there while seeking to adopt Chinese babies and young children, most of whom are orphaned and female. The White Swan Hotel is perhaps the best-known hotel in Guangzhou, having been in operation for many years, and was the hotel of choice for these couples.The island is a popular spot for wedding and Cosplay photo shoots. In Chinese marriage, photos are taken and collected in a wedding album before the wedding.