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Capital of Fujian Province, FUZHOU (福州, fúzhōu) is a comfortably modern city, with shiny skyscrapers looming over the main roads. An important trading centre for more than a thousand years, it was visited by Marco Polo during the Yuan dynasty. In the fifteenth century, Fuzhou shipbuilders earned themselves the distinction of building the world’s largest ocean-going ship, the Baochuan, sailed by the famous Chinese navigator Zheng He, who used it to travel all around Asia and Africa. One thing Polo noted when he was here was the high-profile presence of Mongol armies to suppress any potential uprisings; the city is no less well defended today, forming the heart of Fujian’s military opposition to Taiwan. There’s precious little to detain casual visitors, and the city is probably best used as a springboard for reaching the tourist-friendly wilds of Wuyi Shan.

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