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Chengdu City Guide

chengdu lifestyle
Diverse Show of Chengdu Lifestyle

At present, the southwest China is the hot tourist destination of foreigners in China. Chengdu is the typical tourist city in southwest China and also the must-see city of China. So, where is the enchantment of Chengdu? In Chinese travel experts’ mind, Chengdu has a quite special and leisure lifestyle, and as famous as Hangzhou, Chengdu is also a holiday city. Compared to Hangzhou, Chengdu takes a vivid advantage of high-quality tourist attractions, and there are a lot of sites of World Heritage in Chengdu, while Hangzhou just has a world heritage site, West Lake Scenic Area as a cultural landscape. Let us learn more details about this tourist center of China. Chengdu, also called Rongcheng and Jincheng, and abbreviated as Rong or Cheng, boasts the Center of West China, and this is its status among hundreds of cities in China. Furthermore, Chengdu is also the best tourist city of China, China’s city with a best international reputation and the global center of cuisine. As for other domestic honors, it is not necessary to write specifically, because most of them are nonsense and propaganda of politics. But something interesting should be shared. In 2012, Chengdu honorably became a city with the fastest economic development in the world. I do not know which authorities or non-governmental institutes give Chengdu this honor, but it will be acceptable if not hosted by China. By the way, Chengdu is also one of China’s seven military area commands in charge of southwest China’s troops and national defense.

History of Chengdu

Chengdu(成都, literally translated as becoming a capital) is the provincial capital of Sichuan province and has a long history, famous as the Heavenly State, Jiangnan of Shu Region, Suzhou and Hangzhou of Shu Region. In accordance with the historical records, approximately in middle period of century 5 BC, the ancient Kingdom of Shu moved capital to Chengdu. As for the origin of Chengdu, in record of Taiping Huanyu Ji(太平寰宇记), it is closely connected with the history of capital establishment of West Zhou. Historically, King of Zhou moved the capital to Qishan(岐山). They resided together in the first year, and the residence became a prefecture in the second year, and became a capital (cheng du) in the third year. During the period of five dynasties and ten states, King Meng Chang(孟昶) of Rear Shu Kingdom preferred Cottonrose Hibiscus (it was named Furong in Chinese) and ordered the people to plant the trees of cottonrose hibiscus on the city walls. During the booming time, the whole city is a sea of flower, and then Chengdu had a famous nickname Furong City.

In the period of Qin and Han Dynasties, Chengdu has a developed culture and economy. In 316BC, Qin State annexed Shu State (Chengdu as the capital) and Ba State (Chongqing as the capital). In 106BC, Emperor Wu of West Han Dynasty set up 13 regional prefectures all over the China, and Chengdu became the prefectural center of Yizhou(益州, the ancient name of Chengdu in several phases of history of China), and in this period, Chengdu had had the fame of Heavenly Prefecture. Industries in Qin state have been quite developed. In Qin Dynasty, Chengdu was the large city, and in West Han Dynasty, the population of Chengdu was over 400,000, and it became one of six largest cities of China (Xian, Luoyang, Handan, Lintao, Wan and Chengdu). Shaocheng zone(少城) of Chengdu became the busiest and most prosperous district of Chengdu in the aspect of business and trade, and the shops and products are quite diverse, and the number of rich businessmen also ranks higher than other regions, and the representative of these businessmen is Zhuo Wangsun, the father of Zhuo Wenjun. As the prosperity of business, the art and literature also have a tremendous development, and the representatives of the literature and art masters included Sima Xiangru, Yang Xiong and Wangbo, all of whom were all the great masters of fu.

Chengdu Cuisine and Chuan Opera Show
Chengdu Cuisine and Chuan Opera Show

In the period of Sui and Tang Dynasties, Chengdu has a developed economy and splendid culture, and the Buddhism was also quite welcomed. And Chengdu was also one of top biggest cities of China (Xian, Luoyang, Yuezhou, Chengdu and Taiyuan). The embroidery of Chengdu at this time became one of three top famous embroideries in China. After the Turmoil of An Lushan and Shi Siming(安史之乱), Chengdu was improved to be a superior prefecture as the temporary stay of Emperor Xuanzong, and a lot of great litterateurs came from Chengdu like Li Po, Du Fu, Wang Bo, Gao Shi, Xue Tao, Li Shangyin, Lu Zhaoling and Yong Tao. Also in Tang Dynasty, several new tourist attractions were explored like Baihua Pond and Zhaoju Temple, which boasted the top temple in west Sichuan.

In Song Dynasty, Chengdu still kept its prosperity in all aspects. Especially its papermaking industry, which made Chengdu as the center of book publishing, and even the government and national library only used the paper of Chengdu. As the fantastic development, the earliest paper currency called Jiaozi(交子)appeared in Chengdu in the world. In 1286, Sichuan became a province of China, and Chengdu became its capital.

In Ming Dynasty(1371), the eleventh son of Emperor Taizu, Chu Chun(朱椿), was assigned as the King of Shu, and Chengdu was the capital. In 1644, Zhang Xianzhong occupied Chengdu and established a state of Daxi. In 1646, after a brutal battle between troops of Zhang Xianzhong and troop of Manchu, the whole city of Chengdu was burnt down, and there were no residents at all in the next five or six years. During the reign of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty, the government implemented a great migration to increase the population of Sichuan from Hubei and Hunan provinces, and Chengdu revived. In 1911, during the last emperor’s region of China, railway-protection movement was launched, and the governor of Sichuan beat down the movement, and made the famous Chengdu Murdering Case, which directly aroused the uprising of people, and this is the stimulus of the outbreak of Xinhai Revolution.

Chengdu Panda
Chengdu Panda

In 1920, the famous Sichuan University was established. After the beginning of Anti-Japanese war, a lot of companies, universities and institutions moved to Sichuan, and Chengdu actually became the center of rear area of China, a lot of famous university settled down in Chengdu like The Central Land Army Officer Academy (the new title of Huangpu Military Academy) , Nanjing Jinling University, Shandong Qilu University, Medicine College of Nanjing Central University, Jinling Woman Wenli College. In 1944, the bomb fighters of the United States of America started their bombing to Japan from Chengdu.

Attractions of Chengdu

Thanks to its special location and geography, Chengdu has a large number of high-quality tourist attractions like Qingcheng Mountain, Dujiangyan Ancient Water Conservancy, Tiantai Mountain, Jiufeng Mountain, Jiulonggou, Xiling Snow Mountain, Longchi Forest Park, Lord Wu Memorial Museum, Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum, Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, Jinsha Relics Museum, Yongling Mausoleum Museum, Monastery of Wenshu Bodhisattva (Bodhisattva Manjusri) , Qingyang Taoist Temple, Zhaojue Temple, Kuanzhai Xiangzi, Luodai Assembly Hall, King Mausoleum of Shu in Ming Dynasty as well as many famous historic towns. These are the typical tourist attractions of Chengdu.

Highlights of Chengdu

The transportation of Chengdu is the best in southwest China, and the airport of Chengdu was named Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. Chengdu also has plenty of highlights in different aspects. Shu Embroidery(蜀绣) is one of Chinese four top embroideries and as famous as Su Embroidery, Xiang Embroidery and Yue Embroidery. The Chuan Opera is also quite special; especially, the face-change show in performance is its excellence. Teahouse is the most popular place in daily life of Chengdu people. Tea in Chengdu in some way is the symbol of leisure. The teahouse in Chengdu is quite easily available. Playing Mahjong is also popular in Chengdu. Chengdu Cuisine is the best representative of Sichuan cuisine, spicy but delicious, it is the must- taste when traveling in Chengdu, except visit to family of Kung fu Panda, A Po.

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Writer: David from Seeraa International
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