Chinese City Fact: Nantong

Nantong is a city in Eastern China of nearly 2 million inhabitants. Due to the constantly shifting sands around the estuary of the Yangtze River, the current location of Nantong is not the same as the earlier settlements in the region.

'nantong/old building01' photo (c) 2010, Robin Chen - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Due to it’s deep harbour, Nantong is one of 14 ports in China open to Foreign Investment in recent years. It remains an important trading hub, particularly within the textile industry. Nantong is also still a strong agricultural area in China with many improvements being made in this area. For those of you interested in slightly more random facts, Nantong holds the title of being the first city in China to open a folk museum!

For more information on Nantong, please visit: http://nantong.jiangsu.net/

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Chinese City Fact: Haikou

Haikou is the capital of Hainan Province (Island) in Southern China and is home to a population of more than 2 million people in the built up area. Haikou started out as a port city and much of it’s trade continues to come through it’s port now.

'Haikou: Hai Rui Tomb1' photo (c) 2007, Pavel Krömer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

In the old part of town there is a rich mix of architectural styles. Portuguese, French and South East Asian influenced mansions were built by wealthy Chinese individuals whose families have long since returned to the mainland. Haikou has the cleanest air in China although in recent years, with more people buying cars for transportation, air quality has diminished somewhat. The groundwater is classed as “mineral” quality and residents in Haikou are being encouraged to maintain their clean environment through a number of initiatives unique in China.

'Haikou: Huandao Tide Hotel' photo (c) 2007, Pavel Krömer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

For more on Haikou please visit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Haikou

Chinese City Fact: Yangzhou

Yangzhou is a medium sized city of some 4.4 million inhabitants in it’s greater area with 2.1 million based in it’s urban area. It is a historically rich city (no pun intended) being known in the past as one of China’s wealthiest cities. Scholars, merchants, painters and poets have all lived and worked here.

'DSC_0151' photo (c) 2006, sjiong - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

It’s historical importance and rich heritage however was somewhat destroyed during the wars in the early 20th Century and the city was in a state of decline. Railways replaced usage of the Grand Canal and the city fell into disrepair. It was only in the 1990’s that things began to recover. Now Yangzhou is a prominent tourist destination with sites such as the “Slender West Lake” and the “Tomb of Puhaddin” a popular draw. Yangzhou resident are also known for being fiercely passionate about their cuisine which is often extremely complex but without using an oily substances, instead relying on the natural flavour of high quality produce.

For more information on Yangzhou, please visit: http://yangzhou.jiangsu.net/

Chinese City Fact: Anshan

Anshan is a city of more than 3.6 million people in northern China. Unusually Anshan is also known for holding one third of the world’s supply of talcum, commonly converted into talcum powder and found in bathrooms across the globe.

Following the 1940’s Anshan became an important centre for the manufacture of steel. Unfortunately the steel works were open-hearth furnaces producing lots of dust and pollution. Innovations in the 1990’s has reduced pollution levels and Anshan is now regarded as a much cleaner city.

In a 2010 government White Paper, Anshan was identified as one of the top 20 emerging cities in China alongside the likes of Chongqing, Shenyang and Hefei. In recent years Anshan has tried to transform itself into a tourist destination with a number of parks designated as important areas.

For more information on Anshan please visit: www.wikitravel.org/en/Anshan

Chinese City Fact: Xuzhou

Xuzhou is a city of 2.4 million inhabitants located in eastern China. It acts as an important transportation hub with rail and highways linked to Shanghai and the provinces of Henan and Shandong.

In 1948-49, it was the site of the final critical battle of the civil war which ultimately led to the fall of the capital Nanking to Chinese Communist forces. Now Xuzhou is home to an economy reliant on machinery and food production.

'Terracota Statue' photo (c) 2010, Daniel Foster - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Tourists travel to Xuzhou to see the Han Dynasty relics which include the Terracotta Army of the Han (not to be confused with the more famous Terracotta Army of the Qin near Xi’an) and the Han Mausoleum.

For more information on Xuzhou please visit: http://xuzhou.jiangsu.net/

Chinese City Fact: Nanning

Nanning is a city of some 2.8 million inhabitants in Southern China. It is known as the “Green City” for it’s lush tropical landscape and wide variety of flora. Culturally the city has a diverse range of 35 different ethnic groups who live in close knit communities together.

'Nanning-31' photo (c) 2003, www.viajar24h.com - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Tourism, both international but still mainly domestic, is an important source of income for the city. Located close to Guilin and the border with Vietnam in the South, tourism accounted for nearly 20% of the city’s income in 2010. Nanning is about to be linked by high speed rail to Guangzhou making it much more accessible and cutting the journey time by 10 hours to just 3.

'a street in nanning' photo (c) 2007, Rex Pe - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

For more on Nanning please visit: http://www.chinatoday.com/city/nanning

Chinese City Fact: Guiyang

Guiyang is a cultural diverse city of nearly 4 million people in Southwest China. It is home to a mix of more than 30 different ethnic minority groups including Buyi, Miao, Dong and Hui. During the invasion of the Mongol army in the 13th Century, it became an important army post acting as a “pacification office” during the fighting.

Guiyang streetphoto © 1999 Peter Van den Bossche | more info (via: Wylio)

The city has expanded rapidly in the 1990’s and has been built up around a cross shaped layout (the Chinese character for the number 10). It is known as one of China’s “Spring Cities” for it’s generally temperate climate. It is also known for being home to some of the most laid back people in China. It is common for people to stay up late and rise late in the day and tourists can often find local inhabitants playing chess and games together along the streets.

Kina 2009 0446photo © 2009 Einar Fredriksen | more info (via: Wylio)