With a sense of real history, Xiamen has developed on the trade of merchants from around the world, attracted by the location at the mouth of the Juilong (Dragon) River. Traders in previous centuries included those working in a less than legal fashion, commonly known as pirates, but all contributed to the success of a city which today is one of the more important commercial centres. Whilst it is actually built on an island, Xiamen is linked to the mainland by a bridge. Just a ten minute ferry ride away and you´ll be on another island, Gulang Yu. There is a remarkable collection of colonial buildings, mainly mansions built by traders from near and far. Today the city has the status of a Special Economic Zone, which offers the visitor great opportunities in shopping whilst the local beach areas, the offshore islands and some nineteen public parks and botanical gardens make Xiamen a great city to explore and enjoy.