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City Guide -- Chengdu

Travel Guide of Chengdu in Sichuan

 


General Features
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province-"Heavenly State" (Tian Fu Zhi Guo), habitat of giant pandas and city of cotton-rose hibiscus. Chengdu is located in one of the country’s richest agricultural plains, and it has an area of 12,300 square km. Although Chengdu's population is only about 10 million, it is all a question of where one draws the city lines, and to get a sense of the city a better figure is its population density, which is nine times greater than New York's.

Some of China's best natural scenery is in the area around Chengdu. The Panda, one of China's most famous symbols, can be seen at the Giant Panda Breeding Institute outside the city. Deep and lush bamboo forests are also ideal places to spend a day or two and Shunan Bamboo Forest is a spectacular spot.


Geographic Location
Chengdu is situated in the middle of Sichuan Province, the West Sichuan Plain. Covering an area of 12390 sq km, it is 192 KM long from east to west and 166 KM wide from south to north. Up to the year 2000, the city zone of Chengdu is 208 sq km. Chengdu is adjacent to Deyang City in the northwest, Ziyang District in the southeast, Meishan District in the south, Ya'an District in southwest and Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in the northwest. Chengdu belongs to inland zone. It is 1,600 km away from the East China Sea and 1,090 km from the South China Sea.

The geology of Chengdu has a long history and the stratigraphic exposure is relatively complete. The hypsography of Chengdu slants gradually from northwest to southeast. Characterized by hills and gullies is the western peripheral area of Sichuan Basin, which is 1,000 -3,000 above the sea level. The highest part is Shuanghe (Twin Rivers) located in Dayi county with an altitude of 5,364 meters and a relative altitude of 1000 meters. At the bottom of Sichuan basin is the eastern part of Chengdu, forming the heartland of Chengdu plain. It is mainly composed of allusion plains, mesas and part of low hills, where there the land is profound and fertile. The lowest part of the basin is only 387 meters, which located in Yutai, Jintang County. Due to the great difference of 4,977 meters on altitude between the east and the west of Chengdu, the moisture and heat distribution varies quite remarkably. As a result, in the mountainous areas of the west areas, the temperatures of air, water and land are much lower than that of the eastern plain. Moreover, even in the same mountain, the vertical distributions of different climatic zones occur. As a result, large varieties of vegetations grow in profusion, which provides favorable conditions for the development of agriculture and tourism for Chengdu.


Climate
Located in the bordering areas of the Sichuan northwest highland and Sichuan basin, Chengdu has its own climatic features. First, the eastern part of the city is different from western part in climatic zone, due to the abrupt change of the height from the east to the west. In Chengdu, generally speaking, the west is cool while the east is warm at the same time. Even in the same mountain, the foot of hill is several degrees higher in temperature than that on the top of the hill. This dramatic change in temperature is favorable for the agricultural development. Second, the winter in Chengdu is short, with a long frost-free period of over 337 days each year. The annual average temperature is around 16.4 degree. Even in the cold January, the average temperature is some 5.degrees. It rarely snows. Compared with other areas of the Changjiang River, it is 2-3 degrees higher. Third, there is not much precipitation in winter and spring while it is affluent in summer and autumn with the total precipitation volume of 1,124 centimeters. And this figure is comparatively stable, the ratio of the year with most rainfall and the year with least precipitation being 2:1. Fourth, the climatic elements of light, water and heat almost occur in the same season, which is a very favorable combination to the growth and propagation of the vegetation. Fifth, the wind speed is low. On the plain and in the mountainous areas, the normal speed of wind is around 1 to 1.5 meters per minute. The total sunshine hours average 1,042 to 1412 each year.

 

Culture Heritage
Chengdu is an important birthplace of the ancient Shu State culture. The large quantities of cultural relics of ancient Shu State currently excavated show that, as early as in the Shang and Zhou dynasties, people in ancient Shu State had created highly advanced bronze culture, which constituted an important part of Chinese culture.

Chengdu is a famous cultural city in China. The culture in Chengdu has been influencing the Chinese people all over the world. Even many people in Korea and Japan are keen on the Three Kingdoms culture in Chengdu. Profound and intensive, the culture in Chengdu, which includes the cultures of eating, leisure, tea, Taoism, and Three Kingdoms, has exerted a great influence on the Chinese people.

Chengdu food culture is very famous at home and abroad. There is a statement that “All good foods are found in Chengdu ”. In recent years, Sichuan dishes have developed extremely fast. In addition to the Mapo Toufu, Long Dumpling, Han Steamed Bun, Dragon Dumpling with Meat Stuffing and other famous snacks, more popular dishes are being derived from the hot pot such as boiled kebabs, hot boiled dishes, and lengdanbei. Sichuan cuisine is one of the four famous local cuisines in China ; the other 3 being Guangdong cuisine, Shandong cuisine, and Jiangshu cuisine. Tourists from any place can choose whatever they like from Sichuan dish menus. In preparing ingredients, Sichuan food cooks will try to balance strong spicy flavour with light flavour to suit accordingly. 
 
Hotpot itself is not to be missed. Although it is said to have originated in Chongqing, hotpot is very popular in Chengdu now. You'll see a lot of sidewalk hotpot operations in the older section of town near the Chunxi Lu market, as well as along the river. Big wok full of hot, spiced oil invites passers-by to sit down, pick out skewers of raw ingredients and make a do-it-yourself fondue. You pay by the skewer. During the winter months the skewered items on offer tend to be meat or 'heavy' vegetables like potatoes. In the summer months lighter, mostly vegetarian fare is the norm. This stuff is very hot, many outsiders can't take it, but they still love to have it a try.

Natural Resources and the Achievements
Chengdu abounds in natural resources and has a mild climate. The city locats between latitude 10255 and 10453 east and longitude 3006 and 3126 north. With an annual rainfall volume of 997.6 mm, it occupies an area of 12,389.6 square kilometers, and now has over 3 million inhabitants in the city proper, and over 10 million in greater Chengdu.

Chengdu has many places of interest, and is famous worldwide for its traditional arts and crafts, ethnic folklore, and beautiful landscapes. Chengdu enjoys an advantageous geographical location. It has easy access to the Three Gorges on the Changjiang(Yangtze) River in the east; to Tibet, Jiuzhaigou, and Huanglong Temple in the west; to the Terra-cotta Warriors of Xi'an in the north; and to Mt. Emei and the Giant Buddha of Leshan in the south.

Chengdu is one of the most important scientific and educational centers in southwest China. In this great city, there are a lot of national key universities (including Sichuan University) and scientific research/designing institutions with fairly strong scientific and technological powers, advanced scientific research means and comprehensive advantages. Many of the institutions for scientific research have technical level and developing ability that are in the top of the same trade of the whole nation; especially, Chengdu owns distinct advantages in high-tech research including the fields of optics, electronics, precision instrument, molecular electronics, biology, computer application, biomedicine, fibre-optical communication, nuclear application, new material application and aerospace. Some institutions of scientific research in Chengdu have taken part in many sophisticated and advanced S & T projects of China such as satellites, artificial intelligence and mainframe computers.


The Sightseeing
Jiuzhaigou Valley, Yellow Dragon Valley, Mount E’mei, Excavation site of Sanxingdui Site, Wuhou Shrine, Giant Buddha at Mt Leshan, Zhaojue Temple, Mountain Qingcheng, Dujiangyan Irrigation System, Wenshuyuan Temple,Qinyang Temple..
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