Chengdu has created two wonders in the history of China. First, its name has never been changed since the day it was established. This means the name Chengdu has been existed for over two thousand years, which is rare in the city naming history of China. Second, over the two thousand years, Chengdu remained to be the capital city of Sichuan province (the name of Chengdu, as a matter of fact, itself means being a capital). Hence makes Chengdu one of the oldest capital cities in China.
Chengdu has every reason to be such an important city. It is located in western part of the Sichuan Basin, the middle section of Min River. Long Quan Mountain Range sits on its east and north side while Qiong Lai Mountain encloses it on the west side. The mountains protect Chengdu from the cold air coming from the north. Chengdu was built in the Chengdu Plain, the largest plain in southwest China. Dujiangyan Irrigation System, which was built on a branch of Min River during Qin Dynasty, provides irrigation to this area. This irrigation network and the favorable weather condition as well as the fertilized soil make Chengdu in to a “heavenly state” where “drought or flood can be controlled by men; no one knows what famine is like”.
The advantageous natural conditions expedited the establishment of Chengdu. Chengdu is the birth place of Gu Shu State civilization. Many relics excavated from Chengdu show that in Shang Dynasty (16th century B.C. to 11th century B.C.) and Zhou Dynasty (1046 B.C. to 256 B.C.), people in Gu Shu State created a highly-advanced bronze civilization. And this became an essential part of China civilization. According to historical documents, the Kaiming XI of Gu Shu State changed the capital and selected Chengdu as its new capital in fifth century B.C. In Five Dynasties Period, head of Hou Shu State, Emperor Meng Chang adored hibiscus (Fu Rong Hua in pinyin) very much. He ordered gardener to plant hibiscus on the top of the city walls. When hibiscus was in full bloom, the city was surrounded by these flowers. So Chengdu also named Hibiscus City (Rong Cheng).
In Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, Chengdu became one of the largest cities in China. Agriculture, silk industry, handicraft industry and business were prosperous. Papermaking technology and printing industry were also developed rapidly. At the end of Tang Dynasty, most of the publications were printed in Chengdu. In Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, commercial activities became even more frequent. Silk industry and silk trade as well as other trades were important part of the commodity economy. The booming in economy also brings prosperity to culture. Poetic genius Li Bai and poetic sage Du Fu once lived in this city. Chengdu is peaceful and prosperous city with rich cultural antecedent and beautiful natural environment.
Nowadays, Chengdu has become the political, economic and cultural centre of Sichuan Province.
Weather in Chengdu is special. It is in subtropical monsoon climate. Spring is early, summer is stuffiness and hot, autumn is chill and winter is warm. Other remarkable features of Chengdu include foggy, short sunshine duration and damp air. The average annual temperature of Chengdu is 16 ℃ while the average annual precipitation is 1000 mm. Highest temperature usually appears in July or August. The lowest temperature normally appears in December or January. There seldom is snow in Chengdu. But the weather in winter could be very bleak. In July and August, the hottest months in Chengdu, tourists can choose Qing Cheng Mountain, Xi Ling Snow Mountain, Nine Dragons Ditch (Jiu Long Gou), Nine Peaks Mountain, Tian Tai Mountain and Dragon Pool Forest Park to stay away from the summer heat. In winter, Dragon Pool Forest Park and Xi Ling Snow Mountain are good places to watch snow view.
Chengdu is rich in tourism resources. Now let’s get to know some famous attractions of Chengdu.
Wuhou Shrine (Wu Hou Ci) is the sacred land for fans of Romance of Three Kingdom (one of the four most important classic novels in China). Wuhou Shrine was built in memory of the famous prime minister of Shu State who spared no effort helping his master to achieve his goal. Wang Jiang Building in Wang Jiang Park is a landmark in the history of Chengdu. Wang Jiang means overlook the river. It is named in honor of a female poet, Xue Tao, in Tang Dynasty. Wen Shu Monastery is the most well-preserved Buddhism monastery in Chengdu. It is also the headquarter of Sichuan and Chengdu Buddhism Association. Other attractions like Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Kuan Zhai Alley, Jin Sha Site Museum, San Xing Dui Museum, Bao Guan Temple are also very popular among tourists.
Chengdu was acknowledged for being the birthplace of many culinary traditions and is home to a vibrant community of gastronomic professionals who are actively promoting innovation in food and sustainable strategies for the development of quality culinary practices. Food and snack in Chengdu are fabulous. Hot pot (Huo Guo) is a representative of Chengdu food. Hot pot consists of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. People put different raw ingredients into the simmering pot. In fact, hot pot has developed into a culture in Chengdu. Chengdu hot pot learns Chongqing hot pot and finds its own way. You can taste this with some friends. Boiled duck blood curd (Mao Xue Wang), pork lungs in chili sauce (Fu Qi Fei Pian), stir-fried boiled pork slices (Hui Guo Rou) are some other recommended dishes in Chengdu. Except having you meals in a decent restaurant, you can explore even more in “eatery with flies” (some restaurants or eatery with flies flapping around) if you dare. Although these eatery are of poor condition, but some of them do serve very delicious and special food. There are, of course, more specialties in Chengdu. But you will never know how good they are until you are sitting in front of a table full with Chengdu dishes.
Tea house is very important to the daily life of Chengdu people. It is called the second living room for local people. After-meal entertainment, friends gathering, business negotiation could all be conducted in a tea house. Some tea houses offer local snacks for order, Sichuan Opera, calligraphy artworks and stone inscriptions for appreciation. It is a place there you can get to know to the culture of Chengdu. Bar is a must for young Chengdu residents. There are several bar streets in Chengdu -- Nine Eyes Bridge (Jiu Yan Qiao), Fang Cao Street, Fang Ling Street and the Shao Ling Street.
What to buy for souvenir in Chengdu? Sichuan brocade and Sichuan embroidery of course. Sichuan brocade is one of the “Four Most Famous Brocades” while Sichuan embroidery is one of the “Four Most Famous Embroideries”. Sichuan brocade and Sichuan embroidery have wide varieties, exquisite workmanship and, as a matter of course, high price. Porcelain-bodied bamboo ware is also a special handicraft. It is a kind of bamboo ware with porcelain inside to brace it up. The products of porcelain-bodied bamboo ware include vast, coffee pot, bowl, etc. Qingchen silk carpet, Luzhou Laojiao (a kind of liquor), broad-bean sauce are also some good present to buy.
Chengdu is a biggest traffic hub in southwestern China. Several important railway lines, Baoji-Chengdu line, Chengdu-Kunming line, Chengdu-Chongqing line, etc. joints in Chengdu. Chengdu is connected to peripheral cities and provinces by numerous highways. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport operates flight to over 60 domestic cities and eight foreign cities.
In 2010, Chengdu was nominated as UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Besides note worthy for its tourism resources, it has a unique culinary culture which manifests local culture and demonstrates the preservation and cultivation of gastronomic creativity. With a more convenient transportation, Chengdu now opens its arms to the world.
- Chengdu Attractions
- Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
- Huang Long Xi Ancient Town
- Jinsha Site Museum
- Mount Emei
- Qingcheng Mountain
- Leshan Giant Buddha
- Wuhou Shrine
- Kuan Zhai Alley
- Dujiangyan Irrigation System
- Four Girls Mountain
- Jinli Ancient Street
- Qiong Lai Tian Tai Mountain
- Sanxingdui Museum
- Xi Ling Snow Mountain
- Wen Shu Monastery