Changsha Travel Guide
Chinese Name: 长沙 (cháng shā)
Area: 11,819 square kilometers (4,563 square miles)
Location: in the northeast of Hunan Province, south-central China
Administrative Division: 6 districts (Furong, Tianxin, Yuelu, Kaifu, Yuhua, Wangcheng); 1 county (Changsha); 2 county-level cities (Liuyang, Ningxiang)
Area Code: 0731
Zip Code: 410000
GDP (2019): CNY 1,157.422 billion (USD 167.767 billion)
China’s Important Agriculture & Intellectual Center Highlighting Delicacies
Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, is located in the northeast of Hunan Province, downstream of the Xiangjiang River. It is adjacent to Yichun and Pingxiang of Jiangxi Province to the east, Loudi and Yiyang to the west, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan to the South and Yueyang to the north. This city has been an important grain production base in China since ancient times. Being an intellectual center, Changsha has over 100 research institutions and engineering laboratories. Hybrid rice breeding and the Tianhe supercomputer are the main scientific research achievements.
You will be surprised by the city’s stunning natural landscape when you visit here. The green and verdant Mt. Yuelu stands in the city and Xiangjiang River is clear as a mirror passing through the city. Orange Isle lies in the heart of the river. On Saturday night, the Orange Island firework show presents a visual feast to local people and visitors. In addition, Changsha is also a city of media art and a food paradise. A great number of cultural theme parks, cultural activity centers, libraries and outdoor concert halls can be found in this city. Fabulous snacks and delicacies can be seen everywhere on the streets among which the Stinky Tofu is a must-try. The most popular food streets in Changsha include Pozi Street, Taiping Street, Dongguashan Food Street, Nanmenkou Snack and Duzheng Street.
The recorded history of Changsha can be traced back 3,000 years. Tomb relics from the primitive periods witnessing the earliest human activities have been discovered in this region.
During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 B.C. - 476 B.C.), the area developed into an important town within the State of Chu, one of the seven warring states that existed before China's unification by Emperor Qin. After Emperor Qin, the first feudal emperor in China's history, unified the country, the town was set up as a county and later became the capital city of a state in the early Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220).
In the dynasties that followed, Changsha experienced several expansions and during Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it has developed into the political, economic and cultural center of Hunan Province.
Although not as ancient a capital city as Beijing, Nanjing or Xi'an, Changsha also has rich historical heritages including old wall remains, tomb sites, religious temples and buildings. What earns the city its reputation among visitors are two things. One is a great man in recent history, Chairman Mao Zedong and the other is Yuelu Academy, a time-honored academic school perched on the scenic Mt. Yuelu. Originally built in 976 during the Song Dynasty, the academy school survived through the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties and is considered to be the cradle of Huxiang Culture, simply means the culture school in Hunan Province. Orange Isle, which is 1.2 miles (2 km) from the East Gate of Mt. Yuelu, is also worthy visiting.
Mawangdui Han Tombs found in the eastern suburb of Changsha is a family graveyard from the early Han Dynasty. The most fantastic historical relic should be the well-preserved mummified remains of a Western Han Dynasty woman excavated from the tombs. Some of thousands of relics unearthed include silk products, paintings, lacquer works, potteries, bamboo slips used for writing, weapons and herbs, all of which are exhibited in Hunan Provincial Museum. In addition, the cultural relics on display in Changsha Museum from Paleolithic age to modern times are also worth seeing.
Mt. Shaoshan, about 130 kilometers south-west of Changsha is the hometown of Chairman Mao Zedong. Today, the village has become a memorial place for Chinese people to remember this extraordinary man. People erected a statue of the Chairman and have preserved the houses he lived as a tourist site. A museum and other memorial spots in the scenic area create a kind of solemn atmosphere. Many Chinese come to pay respect and visit here during the memorial days.
Changsha was home to other revolutionary leaders including Liu Shaoqi, Huyaobang and former Chinese prime minister, Zhu Rongji. Therefore, it acts as a good place to learn more about China's recent history. Huaminglou, the hometown of Liu Shaoqi, has also been opened to the public.
Changsha has adopted the 72-hour visa-free transit policy since January 1st, 2016. The policy is open to the passport holders of eligible countries transiting at Huanghua International Airport. With the implement of this policy, the city will welcome more visitors.
See also Top 10 Things to Do in Changsha
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