The present-day Municipality of Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, is located on China's southeastern coast, directly across the Formosa Strait from Taiwan. Fuzhou is the political, economic, and cultural hub of Fujian Province. It is an old city with an illustrious past. Fuzhou first became a city in BCE 202, growing from the status of a village, when Wuzhu, King of Minyue, in an agreement with Emperor Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han (BCE 206 – CE 220) Dynasty, was permitted to set up his capital in the village that later became Fuzhou, including erecting a fortress wall around the new city, initially named Ye ("The Beautiful"). Emperor Gao Zu (Liu Bang) thus accommodated a strengthening of the Kingdom of Minyue, not part of China, on China's southeastern border.
Fuzhou has since had many names, but – thankfully – has never suffered major destruction as the result of war or natural disaster. The Kingdom of Minyue was annexed in BCE 110 by the Han emperor Wu Di (his extremely long reign was from BCE 140-87), thus becoming a part of China. The city was elevated to the status of county, the County Ye. Due to warring in the north during the Western Jin (CE 265-316) Dynasty, especially towards the end of that dynasty – in the year CE 208 in particular – many Han Chinese people fled from the warring areas, and many of these individuals ended up in present-day Fuzhou. It was first in CE 725 during the Tang (CE 618-907) Dynasty that the city began to be called Fuzhou.
More warring during the Tang Dynasty resulted in new waves of immigrants to Fuzhou, especially in CE 892. After the fall of the Tang Dynasty, a powerful local family by the name of Wang managed to take control of the area, establishing the Kingdom of Min (CE 909-945), with the city of Fuzhou – whose name had again been changed, this time to Changle – as the capital. To this day, Min is an alternative name for the province of Fuzian, and the river that runs through Fuzhou is called the Min (the Min Jiang, or Min River). The name Min is preserved in other localities and entities elsewhere in the province, witness to the success of the Kingdom of Min.
The city's original walls, built by the King of Minyue in BCE 202, have been successively rebuilt and augmented, sometimes with new layers, in CE 901, CE 905, and again in CE 974, making Fuzhou one of the most walled – if not the most walled – city in all of China, the capital of Beijing included, which may go some way in explaining why the city has never suffered major destruction as the result of war.
Present-day Fuzhou Municipality spans an area of 12,000 square kilometers, of which the urban area accounts for some 1000 square kilometers, while the building area consists of 160 square kilometers. The municipality has a total population of over 6½ million, the downtown area of Fuzhou proper numbering roughly 2½ million. Fuzhou proper is a city with many faces, some older and stately, some as hyper-modern as downtown Manhattan in New York City. It is nestled in a basin that is surrounded by mountains on all four sides. The Min River runs through it, emptying finally into that part of the Pacific Ocean known in China as the East Sea.
Noteworthy sights in and around the Municipality of Fuzhou include Sea Temple, Drum Mountain, Shizhu Mountain, Qingyun Mountain with its famous Eighteen Winding Streams, and Fuzhou National Forest Park.