Changsha Travel Guide
Location: Situated in the river valley along the lower reaches of the Xiang River, Changsha is the capital city of Hunan Province.
History: 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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