HEBEI PROVINCE

HEBEI PROVINCE

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Hebei Province
Hebei province is a rugged densely populated region that encircles Beijing and Tianjin. To feed the large numbers of people, ridges and mountains have been transformed into terraced farms. Located in the heart of the North China Plain, it covers 188,800 square kilometers (72,900 square miles), is home to about 75 million people and has a population density of 400 people per square kilometer. About 55 percent of the population live in urban areas. Shijiazhuang is the capital and largest city, with about 11 million people. Hebei had a per capita income of between $500 and $750 in 1997. Incomes are many times higher than that now.

Hebei Province covers 188,800 square kilometers (72,900 square miles), is home to about 75 million people and has a population density of 400 people per square kilometer. About 56 percent of the population lives in urban areas. Shijiazhuang is the capital and largest city, with about 3.3 million people in the city and 11 million in the prefecture. Ethnic make up: Han: 96 percent; Manchu: 3 percent; Hui: 0.8 percent; and Mongol: 0.3 percent. Languages and dialects: Jilu Mandarin, Beijing Mandarin, Jin. Maps of Hebei: chinamaps.org

Hebei’s one-character abbreviation (jì) is named after Ji Province, a Han Dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei means "north of the river", referring to its location completely above the Yellow River. Hebei was formed in 1928, after the central government dissolved the province of Chih-li, which means "Directly Ruled (by the Imperial Court)". A common alternate name for Hebei is Yānzhào, after the state of Yan and state of Zhao that existed here during the Warring States period of early Chinese history.

Beijing and Tianjin Municipalities, which border each other, were carved out of Hebei. Hebei province borders Liaoning to the northeast, Inner Mongolia to the north, Shanxi to the west, Henan to the south, and Shandong to the southeast. Bohai Bay of the Yellow Sea is to the east. A small part of Hebei, an exclave disjointed from the rest of the province, is wedged between the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin.

Early History of Hebei Province

The Hebei area was the home of Peking man — a member of the Homo erectus species that lived in the area around 200,000 to 700,000 years ago. Neolithic findings at the prehistoric Beifudi site date back to 7000 and 8000 B.C.

During the Spring and Autumn Period (722 B.C. – 476 B.C.), Hebei was under the rule of the states of Yan in the north and Jin in the south. Also during this period, a nomadic people known as Dí invaded the plains of northern China and established Zhongshan in central Hebei. During the Warring States period (403 BC–221 B.C.), Jin was partitioned, and much of its territory within Hebei went to Zhao.

The Qin Dynasty unified China in 221 B.C. The Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220) ruled the area under two provinces (zhou), Youzhou Province in the north and Jizhou Province ( Jì Zhōu) in the south. At the end of the Han Dynasty, most of Hebei came under the control of warlords Gongsun Zan in the north and Yuan Shao further south; Yuan Shao emerged victorious of the two, but he was soon defeated by rival Cao Cao (based further south, in modern-day Henan) in the Battle of Guandu in 200. Hebei then came under the rule of the Kingdom of Wei (one of the Three Kingdoms), established by the descendants of Cao Cao.

After the invasions of northern nomadic peoples at the end of the Western Jin Dynasty, the chaos of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Northern and Southern Dynasties ensued. Hebei, firmly in North China and right at the northern frontier, changed hands many times, being controlled at various points in history by the Later Zhao, Former Yan, Former Qin, and Later Yan. The Northern Wei reunified northern China in 440, but split in half in 534, with Hebei coming under the eastern half (first the Eastern Wei; then the Northern Qi), which had its capital at Ye, near modern Linzhang, Hebei. The Sui Dynasty again unified China in 589.

During the Tang Dynasty (618–907) the area was formally designated "Hebei" (north of the Yellow River) for the first time. During the earlier part of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, Hebei was fragmented among several regimes, though it was eventually unified by Li Cunxu, who established the Later Tang Dynasty (923–936). The next dynasty, the Later Jin Dynasty under Shi Jingtang, posthumously known as Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin, ceded much of modern-day northern Hebei to the Khitan Liao Dynasty in the north; this territory, called The Sixteen Prefectures of Yanyun, became a major weakness in the Chinese defense against the Khitans for the next century, since it lay within the Great Wall.

During the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), the sixteen ceded prefectures continued to be an area of hot contention between Song China and the Liao Dynasty. The Southern Song Dynasty that came after abandoned all of North China, including Hebei, to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty in 1127.

The Mongol Yuan Dynasty divided China into provinces but did not establish Hebei as a province. Rather, the area was directly administrated by the Secretariat at capital Dadu. The Ming Dynasty ruled Hebei as "Beizhili" ( , pinyin: Běizhílì), meaning "Northern Directly Ruled", because the area contained and was directly ruled by the imperial capital, Beijing; the "Northern" designation was used because there was a southern counterpart covering present-day Jiangsu and Anhui. When the Manchu Qing Dynasty came to power in 1644, they abolished the southern counterpart, and Hebei became known as "Zhili", or simply "Directly Ruled". During the Qing Dynasty, the northern borders of Zhili extended deep into what is now Inner Mongolia, and overlapped in jurisdiction with the leagues of Inner Mongolia.

Later History of Hebei Province

The Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1912 and was replaced by the Republic of China. Within a few years, China descended into civil war, with regional warlords vying for power. Since Zhili was so close to Peking (Beijing), the capital, it was the site of frequent wars, including the Zhiwan War, the First Zhifeng War and the Second Zhifeng War. With the success of the Northern Expedition, a successful campaign by the Kuomintang to end the rule of the warlords, the capital was moved from Peking (Beijing) to Nanking (Nanjing). As a result, the name of Zhili was changed to Hebei to reflect that fact that it had a standard provincial administration, and that the capital had been relocated elsewhere.

The founding of the People's Republic of China saw several changes: the region around Chengde, previously part of Rehe Province (historically part of Manchuria), and the region around Zhangjiakou, previously part of Chahar Province (historically part of Inner Mongolia), were merged into Hebei, extending its borders northwards beyond the Great Wall. The capital was also moved from Baoding to the upstart city of Shijiazhuang, and, for a short period, to Tianjin.

On July 28, 1976, Tangshan was struck by a powerful earthquake, the Tangshan earthquake, the deadliest of the 20th century with over 240,000 killed. A series of smaller earthquakes struck the city in the following decade.

In 2005, Chinese archaeologists unearthed what is being called the Chinese equivalent of Italy's Pompeii. The find in question, located near Liumengchun Village in Cang County in east-central Hebei, is a buried settlement destroyed nearly 700 years ago by a major earthquake. Another possible explanation may be the four successive floods which hit the area around the time when the settlement met its sudden end. The settlement appears to have been a booming commercial center during the Song Dynasty.

Geography of Hebei Province

Most of central and southern Hebei lies within the North China Plain. The western part of Hebei rises into theTaihang Mountains (Taihang Shan), while the Yan Mountains (Yan Shan) run through northern Hebei, beyond which lie the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. The Great Wall of China cuts through northern Hebei from east to west as well, briefly entering the border of Beijing Municipality, and terminates at the seacoast ofShanhaiguan in northeastern Hebei. The highest peak is Mount Xiaowutai in northwestern Hebei, with an altitude of 2882 m.

Hebei borders Bohai Sea on the east. The Hai He watershed covers most of the province's central and southern parts, and the Luan He watershed covers the northeast. Not counting the numerous reservoirs to be found in Hebei's hills and mountains, the largest lake in Hebei is Baiyangdian, located mostly in Anxin County.

Hebei has a continental monsoon climate, with cold, dry winters, and hot, humid summers. Temperatures average −16 to −3 °C (3 to 27 °F) in January and 20 to 27 °C (68 to 81 °F) in July; the annual precipitationranges from 400 to 800 millimeters (16 to 31 in), concentrated heavily in summer.

Hebei Culture

Dialects of Mandarin are spoken over most of the province, and most Mandarin dialects in Hebei are in turn classified as part of the Ji Lu Mandarin subdivision. Regions along the western border with Shanxi, however, have dialects that are distinct enough for linguists to consider them as part of Jin, another subdivision of Chinese, rather than Mandarin. In general, the dialects of Hebei are quite similar to and readily intelligible with the Beijing dialect, which forms the basis for Standard Chinese, the official language of the nation. However, there are also some distinct differences, such as differences in the pronunciation of certain words that derive from entering tone syllables (syllables ending on a plosive) in Middle Chinese.

Traditional forms of Chinese opera in Hebei include Pingju, Hebei Bangzi (also known as Hebei Clapper Opera), and Cangzhou Kuaiban Dagu. Pingju is especially popular: it tends to be colloquial in language and hence easy to understand for audiences. Originating from northeastern Hebei, Pingju has been influenced by other forms of Chinese opera like Beijing opera. Traditionally Pingju makes use of just a xiaosheng (young male lead), a xiaodan (young female lead), and a xiaohualian (young comic character), though it has since diversified with the use of other roles as well.

Quyang County, in central Hebei, is famous for its Dingzhou porcelain, which includes various vessels such as bowls, plates, vases, and cups, as well as figurines. Dingzhou porcelain is usually creamy white, though it is also made in other colours. Famous people born in Hebei Province include: Feng Dao (881-954), Confucian minister; Yan Yuan (1635–1704), Confucian philosopher; and Chi Jushan (1876–1962), playwright and scholar.

Food and Shopping in Hebei Province

Hebei cuisine is typically based on wheat, mutton and beans. The food and dishes from Hebei Province are mainly salted. Cookery in Hebei is good at quick-fry and stir up laying stress on color, flavor, smell and pattern. The special local foods produced by Hebei includes braised chicken of Shijiazhuang, noodles made from various coarse cereals of Raoyang, honey fried dough twist of Tangshan, pot-stewed chicken of Baoding and sea crab from Qinghuangdao.

There are plenty of local products and handicraft articles tsturned out from Hebei Province. The local products are Chinese chestnut, candied date of Shenzhou, small date from Cangzhou, snow pear from Zhaozhou, duck pear of Weixian County, grapes from Xuanhua, tribute rice from Zhuozhou, palace flour of Zhuozhuo and naked oat flour from Zhangbei County. Handicraft articles are inner painted bottle from Hengshui, stone sculpture from Quyang, paper cut of Weixian County. New Year picture of Wuqiang, reed weave ware of Baiyangdian, cloth covered painting of Fengning, pottery and porcelain both from Tangshan and Handan, tapestry from Zhuozhuo and cloisome enamel from Langfang.

Sights in Hebei Province

Hebei has well-developed transportation and boasts a wide expanses in the Central Hebei Plain, numerous peaks and rock formations in the Taihang Mountains and Yanshan Mountains along with beaches and forests. Tourist sights include Chengde Mountain Resort and the Eight Outer Temples, the Great Wall, Mulan Imperial Hunting Ground, the Western Qing Tombs, Beidaihe, and Yesanpo. Chengde Mountain Resort and the Great Wall have been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Zhaozhou, or Anji Bridge, built by Li Chun during the Sui Dynasty, is the oldest stone arch bridge in China, and one of the most significant examples of pre-modern Chinese civil engineering. Baoding, the old provincial capital, contains the historical Zhili Governor's Residence. Saihanba National Park in Inner Mongolian plateau grassland border is north Chengde. Baiyangdian Lake is the largest freshwater lake on the Hebei Plain. Covering an area up to 500 square kilometers, the lake has the beautiful and unique waterside appeal, and also teams with rich aquatic products, including fish and shrimps. Tourists may also watch fishermen catching fish in the Lake and experience the fishermen’s life here.

Xibaipo (90 kilometers from Shijiazhuang, in Pingshan County) was the location of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army during the decisive stages of the Chinese Civil War between May 26, 1948 and March 23, 1949, at which point they were moved to Beijing. Today, the area houses a memorial site.

Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of Coast was recognized by UNESCO: According to UNESCO: The property features an intertidal mudflat system considered to be the largest in the world. These mudflats, as well as marshes and shoals, are exceptionally productive and serve as growth areas for many species of fish and crustaceans. The intertidal areas of the Yellow Sea/Gulf of Bohai are of global importance for the gathering of many migratory bird species that use the East Asian-Australasian flyway. Large gatherings of birds, including some of the world's most endangered species, depend on the coastline as a stopover to moult, rest, winter or nest. [Source: UNESCO]

Shijiazhuang

Shijiazhuang(270 kilometers southwest of Beijing) is the capital and largest city of Hebei Province , with about 3.3 million people in the city and 11 million in the prefecture. Formerly known as Shimen, it has experienced dramatic growth after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, with its metropolitan area more than quadrupling between 1980 and 2010 as a result of industrialization and economic development. Maps of Shijiazhuang: chinamaps.org ; Shijiazhuang Subway Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net

The city's name, Shijiazhuang, first appeared during Ming dynasty. The literal meaning of the name is "Shi family's village". The origin of the name is disputed. One story claimed that the Wanli Emperor sent 24 officers and their families to the area, after which the group splits into 2 settlements consisting of 10 and 14 families. The growth of Shijiazhuang into one of China's major cities began in 1905, when the Beijing–Wuhan (Hankou) railway reached the area, stimulating trade and encouraging local farmers to grow cash crops. Two years later the town became the junction for the new Shitai line, running from Shijiazhuang to Taiyuan, Shanxi. The connection transformed the town from a local collecting centre and market into a communications centre of national importance. [Source: Wikipedia]

Hebei Provincial Museum's exhibitions include prehistoric pottery, bronze artifacts, Buddhist statues and excavations from the Western Han Tombs. In 2014, the GDP of Shijiazhuang reached about US$80.45 billion, an increase of 12 percent over the previous year. The city is a major base for the pharmaceutical and textile industries. Other sectors include machinery and chemicals, building materials, light industry and electronics. With abundant agricultural resources, Shijiazhuang has 590,000 hectares of cultivated land and is the main source of cotton, pears, dates and walnuts in Hebei province.

Zhangshiyan National Geological Park

Zhangshiyan National Geological Park (40 kilometers south of Shijiazhuang) is part of the Taihang Mountains which were nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017 According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The most typical part of the Hebei section of Taihang Mountains lies in the Zhangshiyan National Geological Park/National Park/Provincial Nature Reserve, located in Zanhuang County on the southwest of Shijiazhuang. The unique red sandstone landform represented by Ω-shaped gorges is known as “Zhangshiyan landform”, forming a “natural geological museum”. As the most intact and complete “natural botanical garden”, the area is home to 654 plant species in 98 families, as well as rare animals. [Source: National Commission of the People's Republic of China]

“The special relics of geology, stratum, rock, structure, sedimentation, ancient extinct life fossil and hydrology, as well as the unique Zhangshiyan landform of Taihang Mountain have recorded the long geological history and profound changes (several movements of crustal rising, destructive activities, and fault block activities) of the Loess Plateau and step zone of Bohai Bay Basin in eastern Asia for over 2.5 billion years. It is a typical example of mountain range geological evolution in the hinterland of ancient continent (craton). [Hebei Section coordinates: : 113°27 44.30"-115°57 18.02" E, 36°16 03.96"-40°21 07.54"N

“Located at the intersection of the Inner Mongolia-Xinjiang region, the Loess Plateau region, the North China Plain region and the Tibet region, Taihang Mountain is endowed with complex biological components. It is an important geographical unit of global biodiversity and one of the central distribution areas of endemic birds in the world, as well as an important corridor for the survival of rare species in Northern China.

“Taihang Mountain, represented by the unique Zhangshiyan landform, has towering peaks, deep gorges, continuous waterfalls, peculiar caves. Together with the unique ecological landscape, astronomical phenomena in four seasons and beautiful colors, it has formed a special kind of long painting with mountains and rivers at the turning place of two major tablelands in China.

“Different parts of the nominated site are: 1) Hebei Section: 113°27 44.30"-115°57 18.02" E, 36°16 03.96"-40°21 07.54"N; 2) Shanxi Section: Huangya Cave Scenice and historic area 113° 23 37" E, 36° 46 53" N; 3) Henan Section: Wangwu Mountain Scenice and historic area 112° 17 40" E, 35° 8 50" N; 4) Yuntai Mountain Scenice and historic area 113° 21 23" E, 35° 25 58" N”

Taihang Mountain Geology and Ecosytem

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The special relics of geology, stratum, rock, structure, sedimentation, ancient extinct life fossil and hydrology, as well as the unique Zhangshiyan landform and Yuntai landform of Taihang Mountain have recorded the long geological history and profound changes (several movements of crustal rising, destructive activities, and fault block activities) of loess plateau and step zone of Bohai Bay Basin in eastern Asia for over 2.5 billion years. It is a typical example of mountain range geological evolution in the hinterland of ancient continent (craton). [Source: National Commission of the People's Republic of China]

“Taihang Mountain is a typical example of the mountain range form in eastern Asia. The section of Taihang Mountain in Hebei Province is located at the east of the major ridge of Taihang Mountain, being the section that best demonstrates the majestic appearance of the towering Taihang among Beijing Municipality, Hebei Province, Shanxi Province and Henan Province. Zhangshiyan landform is the geomorphologic landscape that develops widely in the central and southern sections of Taihang Mountain. Zhangshiyan landform is the geologic record of landform evolution and strong uplifting of the mountain system in Taihang Mountain region and even the entire North China since the Neogene period and has become an important example of the strong uplifting of Taihang Mountain in the Quaternary period. The complex topography and long evolution history of Taihang Mountain are also very rare among existing mountain world heritage sites and have extremely high aesthetic and scientific research value.

“The Taihang Mountains contain rare, almost intact natural secondary forests, alpine meadows and steep slopes. The region is a key habitat for many species endemic to China, such as Chinese leopard (Panthera pardus fontanierii), brown eared pheasant (Crossoptilon mantchuricum), green-backed flycatcher (Ficedula elisae) and grey-sided thrush (Turdus feae). The Zhangshiyan landform of Taihang Mountains also is the only habitat for rare endemic plants such as Taihangia rupestris var. Taihangia, Clematis lanuginose, Oresitrophe rupifraga and Corydalis fangshanensis. The waterfront cliffs of Taihang mountains provide unique breeding habitats for black stork (Ciconia nigra), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo). The valleys provide key wintering area for endangered Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus squamatus). Meanwhile, the region is an important corridor for most migrating raptors in East Asia. In a word, the Taihang Mountains constitute a unique geographic unit for biodiversity conservation.”

Qinhuangdao

Qinhuangdao (300 kilometers east of Beijing) is a seacoast city of 3 million people that hosted a couple 2008 Olympic women's soccer games. It is located on the Bohai Sea and is the chief port of Hebei province. The Qin emperor Qin Shi Huang is said to have sought immortality on an island in the Haigang district, but did not find it.

Qinhuangdao City is to the southwest and Lianfeng Mountain is in the north and the Bohai Sea in the south. Its nearness to the sea gives it a relatively pleasant climate in the summer. Even in June and July, the average temperature is only 23 degrees C. The entire scenic area is roughly 13 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide, forming a narrow coastal zone from the Geziwo and the Jinshanzui in the east to the estuary of the Daihe River in the west. With the soft sand and even beach, it is a good place to enjoy the seaweather bath. Beidaihe is a famous tourist attraction in China, and also a summer & recuperation resort famous at home and abroad.

Qinhuangdao has three main developed areas: 1) Beidaihe: a seaside resort. Many political decisions affecting China are made here, making it the eqivalent to resorts in Maine or Camp David in Maryland in the United States. 2) Haigang District: the harbor city. Qinhuangdao proper. 3) Shanhaiguan: a popular tourist destination, featuring the eastern end of the Great Wall.

Nandaihe Amusement Center lies in the Provincial Nature Park in Nandaihe Tourist Area. Covering 5.5 square kilometers, it has a broad beach, forests and amusements such as sand-skiing, grass-skiing, mountain boat-skiing, cable railway and yachting. There is a children’s playground, sand beach, sea-viewing corridor, woods train, car race and bird show. Web Sites: Travel China Guide; Maps of Qinhuangdao: chinamaps.org ; Budget Accommodation : Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There : Qinhuangdao is accessible by air and bus from Beijing and well-connected to Beijing and other Chinese cities by train.

Happy Ocean Park

Happy Ocean Park (40 kilometers from Beidaihe, 10 kilometers from the Great Wall at Shanhaiguan Pass) covers 26 hectares and includes eight different sites and offers different entertainment services. The main attractions are shark hall, seal hall, fur seal hall, sea turtle hall, and exhibition hall for animals from the South Pole and North Pole. Over 60 sharks and dozens of seals are on display. In the polar animal exhibition, polar bears, penguins and many other polar animals are raised in different pools.

Animal performances are shown in the Sea Circus Theater, where 2000 people can watch dolphin and sea lion shows or feed the seals in the seal pool. The park even offers an opportunity for visitors to go scuba diving. The park also offers 13 submarines for visitors without any diving experience. The park is the only one so far to offer submarine trips in China. Seven submarines can take 50 passengers each and the other six submarines can only take four passengers per trip. Usually the deep-sea trip lasts 20 minutes and the four-person submarine trips cost more than the 50-passenger submarines. Happy Ocean Park also has two dining and shopping areas. Inside the park, both Chinese and Western cuisine, as well as exotic souvenirs, gifts and imports in various shops are available;

Admission: 90 yuan (US$10.80) per adult and 50 yuan (US$6) for children between 1.2 meters and 1.4 meters. Entrance to the park is free for child under 1.2 meters. The entrance covers several items but not all the entertainment services offered inside. Separate tickets are required for the submarine rides or surfing. getting There: It takes about 3.5 hours cover the 300-kilometer distance from Beijing Drive along Jingshen (Beijing-Shenyang) Highway to Shanhaiguan Exit. Follow the road signs. Many of the signs are in Chinese and English. Trains from Beijing Railway Station to Qinghuangdao or Shanhaiguan are frequent. Train tickets usually cost 30 yuan (US$3.60) for a seat and the trip takes three hours.

Beidaihe Beach

Beidaihe Beach (300 kilometers from Beijing and16 kilometers from Qinhuangdao) is a six mile long resort beach along the Bohai Sea. Immortalized in a poem by Mao, it has traditionally been a popular retreat for Communist Party elite and a home to spas and sanitariums where model workers and local party bosses were sent as a reward for good service. Mao apparently like the place. Lin Biao's former mansion sits on the top of Lianfeng Mountain Park.

Beidaihe boasts over 3000 restaurants, hotels, shops and guesthouses. Located on bay shaded by trees, the beach is noted for its golden sand and rock formations. Behind the guesthouses and hotels are lovely green hills. Tourist boats travel the bay. The streets are lined with willow and plums trees that are filled with large, buzzing cicadas in the summers.

During the summer, the Communist party elite have traditionally headed en masse to Beidaihe for recreation, meetings and purges. The tradition was began by Mao soon after the Communists came to power in 1949. Ordinary people who have been coming to the resort for years have never seen the party members. Haitan Road, where most of the officials have their villas, is closed to traffic. Sometimes people see their motorcades, which bring traffic to a stop.

Beidaihe is dismissed by many Chinese as a "once pretty places with crowded beaches, dirty grayish-brown water and unsafe seafood." The beaches are carefully divided. There is one area for soldiers in the People's Liberation Army; another for the Diplomatic Services Bureau; and another for the State Council. The public beach, which has a $1 admission charge, is full of women in skirted bathing suits, men in shorts, socks and loafers and vendors who sell tourists the chance to have their photograph taken dressed up as emperors or monkey kings. Many ordinary people stay in places like the Railway Cadre Resort, the Sanatarium for Chinese Coal Miners and the Tianjin Teacher's Sanatorium.

Visitors enjoy local snacks and delicious seafood, ride in speedboats, or engage in ballroom dancing. Tiger Rock Park had many huge rocks that conjures up an image of a “herd of tigers.” To the east is Yingjiao Stone — a twenty-meter (66 feet) steep rock that looks like an eagle perched on the cliff. Because groups of doves nest in the cracks there, it is also called Dove Nest Park. Yingjiao Pavilion on the top is a popular place to watch the sunrise.

Pine-covered Lianfeng Hill, which backs on to Beidaihe beach, comprises two peaks, the east peak and the west peak. A path leads to Wanghai Ting (Seaside Pavilion) at the top of the hill, where you can get a good view of the sea and the scenery around the mountain. At the foot of Lianfeng Hill is a beautiful park named Lianhuashi (Lotus Stone Park) because of the many unexpectedly huge lotus shaped stones. Beidaihe Scenic Spot attracts more and more attention from more than 4 million people a year. Web Sites: Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Getting There: Beidaihe is accessible by taxi from Qinhuangdao which is accessible by train from Beijing.

Liu Ling Zui Liquor Making Site

Li Du Liquor Making Site (Xushui County, Baoding City, 150 kilometers southwest of Beijing) is one of the Sites for Liquor Making in China that was nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Liu Ling Zui Liquor Making Site is located in the first workshop of the Liu Ling Zui Distillery. It was discovered in July, 1997. According to textual research made by experts, it belongs to Jin or Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368).[Source: State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People’s Republic of China]

“The site is 60.5 meters in length from south to north, 85 meters in width from east to west. The site consists of 6 zymolytic pools and one ancient well. The zymolytic pools are in two lines from south to north, 8 pools either line. The pools are rectangle and built with caesious bricks. They are 1.6-1.7 meters in width, 3.45 meters in length and 2 meters in depth. The pools were built with the single-brick-flat-laying style and the middle substrates of the fourth walls are enchased with bamboo strips and the top parts are nailed iron boards which were used to fix the ferment. The ancient well is located to the north of the zymolytic pools. It has a diameter of 1.2 meters and is in the single-brick-laying style. The bricks are 30.5 centimeters in length, 5.5 centimeters in width and 5 centimeters in thickness. The part above 1.6 meters of the well had been demolished when the workshop was rebuilt, but was later restored. In the underground storeroom, there are still wooden cases and green flower water jars of Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) with a history of more than 300 years. [Coordinates: N39.00534 E 115.38586]

“During the excavations carried out in 1997, 2000 and 2005, the foundation, kitchen range, slot and ash pit were discovered one after the other. Besides these many remnants like cock leg bottles, four tied pots, water crocks, wooden cases were also discovered. The relics and remnants clearly outline one integral liquor workshop. Research done by the expert group of the State Bureau of Cultural Heritage dated the site back to Jin or Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368). This discovery provides new evidence for the research on social, political and economical status in ancient northern area as well as on the change from making wine to distilled alcoholic beverages. From the known archaeological information, we can say that Liu Ling Zui Liquor Making Site is one of the cradles of distilled alcoholic beverages making in China.”

Sites for Liquor Making in China

Sites for Liquor Making in China — consisting of five different sites: 1) Li Du Liquor Making Site in Jiangxi Province; 2) LiuLing Workshop, Xushui County in Hebei Province; and 3) Shuijingjie Workshop, Chengdu City; 4) Cellar Cluster for Luzhou Laojiao Daqu Liquor, Luzhou City, and Tianyi Workshop for Jiannanchu Alcohol, Mianzhu City, all three in Sichuan Province — were nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.

According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “Liu Ling Zui Liquor Making Site offers important witness for the research on Chinese traditional techniques of distilled alcohol production, and the development, creation process in the future. Li Du Liquor Making Site, with the discovered cellars, wells, slots, cooking ranges, airing halls, distilling facilities and other relics, has witnessed the whole process of strong white spirit brewing in China. Shuijing Street Liquor Making Site is the material carrier of the essence of Chinese "thick aroma" spirits brewing craftwork, of which the abundant sorts of traces and unearthed relics have provided evidences for traditional Chinese brewage culture. Furthermore, based on the traditional brewage technology, the present "thick aroma" spirits are continuously absorbing and perfect the essences, carrying on and making innovations of the unique connotation of Chinese liquor culture. Luzhou Daqu Liquor Making Site bears a unique testimony to a cultural tradition. The folk culture and traditions that facilitated the formation of the wine culture in this region are especially diverse and peculiar and they in turn can be reflected by social, historical and cultural milieu of people living in this region. The unearthed relics in Jian Nan Chun Liquor Making Site are magnificent in scale and bountiful in brewage heritage. The discovery of these relics gives us a vivid picture of brewage procedures hundreds of years ago. [Source: State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People’s Republic of China]

“The discovered relics in Liu Ling Zui Liquor Making Site constitute a set of intact, peculiar sight of traditional distilled alcoholic beverages workshop. In Li Du Liquor Making Site, the glazed pottery vats with the edge built with laying bricks and distilling facilities built with laying bricks are unique to Chinese alcohol sites and also provide an example of the global alcohol brewing. Shuijing Street Liquor Making Site represents an exemplification of science and technology combination which has a unique style, regional characteristics and cultural values. With the core of traditional distillery craftwork, the site, along with the ancient bodegas which have been used for hundreds of years, is not only the carrier and mine of brewing microbes, but also the scarce material for researching the brewing microbes and the changes of brewage craftworks, as well as the representative of solid biotechnology engineering, hence it has very important scientific values. Besides, the site represents the entire craftwork flow from distiller's yeast making, brewage, lees supplement and materials arrangement to storage, blending, etc., and represents the scientificity and rationality of Chinese liquor brewing technology. Luzhou Daqu Liquor Making Site can serve as an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural ensemble or landscape to illustrate (a) significant stage (s) in human history. Especially from mid Qing Dynasty to early Republic of China, this was a period when Luzhou Daqu had accounted for an unprecedented large share of the city's economy.

“Jian Nan Chun Liquor Making Site also witnessed unique techniques such as batch operation, ferment preparation, fermentation, distillation, flavouring and storage, etc., which cannot be displaced, imitated or copied. In the case of Li Du Liquor Making Site, Because of the prosperity of Lidu alcohol industry, some local cultural forms became flourishing, such as literature, calligraphy and music. The discovery of Shuijing Street Liquor Making Site has provided a powerful material evidence for researching the developing processes of Chinese liquor brewing craftwork and the traditional Chinese liquor culture. No liquor, no ritual. The traditional Chinese liquor culture is bearing the important content of the traditional Chinese Li (ritual) Culture. Meanwhile, the site has important meanings for researching the history and culture in Sichuan area, the social and economic statuses, folkways and folk-customs form ancient times to modern times. So the site is in accordance with the standard vi of the world cultural heritage assessment. Luzhou Daqu is also directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. So far, in Luzhou there have been many liquor-praising poems, legends, songs, dances and folk traditions that are a direct indication of the rich liquor culture in this region.”

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2020

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