Shenyang (670 kilometers east-northeast of Beijing) is an industrial city located in the heartland of the industrial northeast and is famous for its factories and its "three treasures" — ginseng, sable pelts and furry antlers. Originally known as Mukden, it is the capital of Liaoning and was a Manchu town that was briefly the capital of the Qing dynasty in the 17th century. In 1625, Nurhachi (1559-1626), the founder of the Manchu line, named Shenyang the first capital of the Qing Dynasty, and the Shenyang Imperial Palace and the imperial tombs (the Fuling and the Zhaoling) were built. The Japanese made Shenyang an industrial center of Manchuria. Mao made it a major center of industry for China. era.

Most of the Shenyang region rests on a plain. Within the city’s prefectural area, are the Liao, Hun, North Sha and Xinkai Rivers and the South Canal. Shenyang is located to the north of Hun River (named Shen Shui River in the ancient time). The Chinese have traditionally called the north of a river "yang". So the city got its name as Shenyang. Shenyang's winter is a little longer than Beijing but both cities are equally hot in the summer

Shenyang is now the 14th largest city in China with around 5.1 million people in the city proper and 8.2 million in it metro-prefecture area. It used be the 6th largest. Between 1975 and 2000, Shenyang grew from less than 3 million to almost 7 million. In recent years places in the south of China have grown faster. Among its important industries in are machinery, electrical power, textiles, food processing and metallurgy. The city suffered during the Deng reforms. In the 1990s many of the state industries were privatized and restructured, leaving tens of thousands without jobs. The emphasis on industry has also left Shenyang with a pollution problem. Shenyang has been trying to clean up the pollution while revitalizing its moribund industries.

Run-down but ornate shops remain from the Japanese period. An epoxy-resin statue of Mao erected in the Cultural Revolution dominates a city square where people gather to dance, do tai chi and exercise to music from small boom boxes. The statue is surrounded by 58 figures that represent the phases of the Chinese Revolution. New offices, hotels and shopping malls are being built. There is a small financial district, a high tech industrial park, Wal-marts, KFCs and Ikea-like home furnishing stores. Shenyang hosted some 2008 Olympic soccer games.

Shenyang is located in the south of Northeast China and has traditionally been a political, military, economic and cultural center for the region. It is home to several of the region's largest state enterprises, but also contains several prominent universities and cultural attractions such as a smaller version of Beijing's Forbidden City, used by the Manchus before they captured the imperial capital in the 17th century. The founder of the Qing (Manchu) line is buried in Shenyang.

Web Sites: Travel China Guide Travel China Guide ; Maps of Shenyang: ; Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There:Shenyang is accessible by air and bus and is well-connected by train to major cities in China. Travel China Guide Travel China Guide

Transportation in Shenyang

The Shenyang Metro began operation in 2010. It consists of Line 1 (east-west), opened in 2010 with 27.8 kilometers of track and 22 stations; Line 2 (north-south), opened in 2012 with 27.16 kilometers of track and 22 stations; Line 9 opened in 2019 with 29 kilometers of track and Line 10 which opened in 2020. Construction is difficult due to the granite bedrock underlying much of the city. Shenyang Subway Map: Urban Rail

Shenyang has more than 160 bus routes. Shenyang used to have about 20 trolley bus routes, one of the biggest trolley bus networks in China, but the entire network was demolished in 1999 and replaced by diesel-powered buses after five passengers were killed in a serious electrocution accident in August 1998. A tram system was introduced to Shenyang in 1924 but was replaced over time by the buses and trolley buses, and eventually closed in 1974. In 2013, the Shenyang Modern Tram network started operation. The system is slated to have four lines with 60 kilometers of track in the Hunnan New District. Shenyang Tram Map: Urban Rail

According to ASIRT: Shenyang Qiche Kuaisu Keyun Zhan, the main bus station, is located on Huigong Jie and serves long-distance routes to major cities Local bus service is well developed. Difficult to use if you cannot read Chinese. Obtain a city bus map at a train station. Buses of major companies queue up near train stations. Bus 203 provides transport between train stations. Office of South Bus Station is on Minzhu Square, near South Train Station. Buses queue up on Minzhu Lu, Minzhu Square and nearby streets. Buses also serve shorter routes to cities in Liaoyang Province. Closes at 6:00pm. Taxis are readily available. Use taxis with meter mounted on dashboard where easily seen.

There are two railway stations in Shenyang City: 1) Shenyang Railway Station (South Train Station), on Shengli Beijie, between Heping and New Tiexi districts; and 2) Shenyang North Railway Station, on Beizhan, between Shenhe and Huanggudun districts. There are regular trains to destinations in northeast China and elsewhere in the country. More trains pass through and terminate at the Shenyang North Railway Station. The south train stations serves most trains to northeastern destinations and regional stops. Trains may stop at both stations; be certain which station your train uses. Both stations are served by public buses and maybe the subway too.

Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, the biggest airport in northeast China, is 22 kilometers away from the city center. There is a feeder highway stretching to the airport on the express from Shenyang to Benxi. Several domestic airlines serve Shenyang and there are has daily flights to Beijing, Pudong Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Haikou, Sanya, Chengdu, Kunming, Jinan, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Wenzhou, Xiamen and other cities. Shenyang also serves as a hub linking northeast China to northern and southern Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Pyongyang, Seoul, Qingzhou, Osaka, Zhahuang, Sapporo, Moscow, New Siberia, Irkutsk and Khabarovsk. It takes about 40 minutes to travel from the airport to the city by the airport shuttle bus. Airport shuttle leaves from the China Northern Airlines ticket office at 117 Zhonghua Road. The service is relatively frequent.

Shenyang Cuisine

Reporting from Shenyang, Kazuhiko Makita wrote in the Yomiuri Shimbun, “Spring pancakes” are a dish that serves up such tasty fillings as stir-fried vegetables, meat and eggs wrapped inside of a lightly baked, crepe-like flour shell. Called chunbing in Chinese, the traditional food is commonly found in the northeastern part of China. As “chun” means spring and “bing” means pancake, the dish is customarily eaten on Lichun, the holiday marking the beginning of spring. [Source: Kazuhiko Makita, Yomiuri Shimbun, November 25, 2014]

Chunbing Dawang Zongdian, a restaurant in central Shenyang, is always crowded with locals. The restaurant's standard fillings for the dish are jingjiangrousi, shredded pork sauteed in a salty-sweet fermented soybean paste, which costs 24 yuan (about $3.50) and stir-fried bean sprouts and scallions, which are priced at 14 yuan (about $2.25) The fillings are richly flavored so that they are delicious when eaten wrapped inside thin flour shells that are individually baked in the kitchen. The restaurant offers about 30 different kinds of fillings for the dish. The best part of spring pancakes is ordering a wide variety of fillings and enjoying different tastes by selecting fillings from the plates that are spread out all over the table.Speech

Sights in Shenyang

Shenyang has some interesting parks and monuments. Nanhu and Lu Xun Parks provide good jogging paths during the less crowded times of day. Families enjoying picnicking at Dongling, the imperial tomb of the first Qing emperor.

Forum 66 Tower 1 in Shenyang is the 73rd tallest building in the world. (as of 2020). Completed in 2015, it is 350.6 meters (1,150 feet) tall and has 68 floors. [Source: Wikipedia]

Zhongshan Square first built in 1913 and was called Central Square at that time. In 1919, its name was changed into Langsu Square. During Kuomintang period, the name was changed into Zhongshan Square, which was still used after the Communist takeover of Shenyang. In Cultural Revolution period, it was called Hongqi Square. Since 1981 the name Zhongshan Square has been reused.

Nanguan Catholic Church (40 Nan Le Jiao Road) features classic Gothic-style architecture. Erected in 1878, it barely survived the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. Today its tower reaches 35 meters into the sky. Open hours: 5:30am-6:00pm daily

Among the main museums in Shenyang are the 1) Liaoning Provincial Museum (26 Shiwei Rd., Heping Dist); 2) Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum (171 Shenyang Rd., Shenhe Dist.); 3) Shenyang Museum of Marshal Zhang’s Mansion (46 Shaoshuaifu, Chaoyang St., Shenhe Dist.); 4) Shenyang Xinle Site Museum (North of Huanggu Dist.); 5) Shenyang “9.18” Incident Historical Museum (46 South Wanghua Zone, Dadong Dist.).

Shenyang’s Unfinished Skyscraper

Baoneng Shenyang Global Financial Center is an unfinished skyscraper in Shenyang planned to be 111 storied and 568 meters (1,864 feet) tall. At the top is an executive club located within a giant "pearl" that measures 50 meters in diameter. The pearl described as “the jewel in the crown of this mixed-use development. Construction of the building started in 2014 and was expected to be completed in 2020. However, as of July 2019 the construction halted

In recent years Shenyang has made somewhat of a name for itself with its embrace of weird architecture. Baoneng Shenyang Global Financial Center, also called the North office tower, is held up as an example of the city’s indulgence. Dinny McMahon of the Wall Street Journal wrote: “To the less charitable, the building will stand as an 1,863-foot mixed metaphor. At its pinnacle, a giant sphere, representing a pearl, will sit, glowing gold at night. That light is meant to evoke molten steel in a nod to Shenyang’s rust-belt heritage. [Source: Dinny McMahon China Real Time blog, WJU, January 19, 2015]

“During the day, the thin building is designed to evoke a guzheng, a traditional Chinese string instrument. The main entrances on ground level flare out to suggest the tents used by the nomads that once roamed the area. The nuance is lost on some area citizens. “I didn’t get how the design represents Shenyang until you explained it,” says Song Yuanyuan, a 36-year-old woman laden with designer store shopping bags. “Otherwise, it’d just look like tall buildings in some other big cities.”

“Analysts call the tower rising in this metropolis of eight million symptomatic of China’s edifice complex. The office vacancy rate in Shenyang reached 28.7 percent in the third quarter in 2014, according to data from property consultancy DTZ Research. “Shenyang already has dozens of skyscrapers and I don’t think there is the demand for them,” says Huo Ke, an architecture professor at Shenyang’s Northeast University. Wang Guanhua, Baoneng’s project manager, says the tower won’t be a waste because of how quickly the city is growing. “I think the city needs more high buildings. Our building is characteristic and the location is the best, too.”

Shenyang Imperial Palace

Shenyang Imperial Palace (Subway Line 1, Central Street Station, Exit C) is second in China only to the Forbidden Palace in Beijing in size and grandeur. Used by the Qing emperors before they moved on to Beijing, it covers over six hectares and contains over 300 rooms and 70 buildings that harmoniously blend Han, Mongol and Manchu architectural styles. The Supreme Politics Hall houses the royal throne. The Phoenix Tower is the highest tower in the palace complex.

Shenyang Imperial Palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 as an extension of the Forbidden City and is now the most popular and renowned tourist attraction in Shenyang. First built in 1625 for the Qing founder Nurhachi and his son Huang Taiji of the Qing Dynasty, the Shenyang Imperial Palace is one of the two royal architectural complexes existing in China today (the other is the Forbidden City). The complex is composed of eastern, middle, and western parts. Exhibitions on history are held in some of the rooms. Many imperial relics and artworks are on display. UNESCO World Heritage Site: : UNESCO

Formerly called The Mukden Palace, Shenyang Imperial Palace is where the Qing Dynasty emperors lived while they conquered the rest of China before they moved their capital to Beijing. Though not as large nor as famous as its counterpart (the Forbidden City) in Beijing it is s significant for its representation of palace architecture at the time. The main structure of the palace was built in 1625 when Nurhachi was in power. It was finished in 1636 by his son Abahai (Huangtaiji). Nurhachi and Abahai were both founding emperors of the Qing Dynasty. Covering an area of more than 60,000 square meters (about 71,760 square yards), the Shenyang Imperial Palace is one twelfth the size of the Forbidden City. The 300 rooms are formed around 20 courtyards.

The Shenyang Imperial Palace houses many ancient cultural relics, such as Nurhachi's sword and Abahai's broadsword. There are also many artworks displayed here, such as paintings, calligraphy, pottery, sculptures and lacquer ware. Travel Information: Location: No. 171, Shenyang Road, Shenhe District; Admission: fee: 50 yuan; Hours Open: 8:10:00am to 5:00pm; Getting There: Subway Line 1, Central Street Station, Exit C; Bus route: 213,222.

Sections of the Shenyang Imperial Palace

Each section of the Shenyang Imperial Palace has its own of unique characteristics. 1) The eastern section contains the very impressive Hall of Great Affairs (Da Zheng Dian). Here emperors ascended the throne, enacted imperial edicts, and welcomed victorious generals and soldiers. A group of pavilions, known as the Ten Kings Pavilion, stand to its east and west. They formerly served as the place where emperors and leaders from the eight banners (Ba Qi) settled national affairs. This architectural style of Shenyang Imperial Palace is unique. The style of the buildings, which displays an amalgamation of Han, Manchu and Mongolian cultures, all originated from the shape of a nomadic tent. The eastern section of the palace is representative of the whole palace. [Source:]

2) The middle section starts from the Da Qing Gate, with Chong Zheng Dian (Jin Luan Dian), the Phoenix Tower and Qingning Palace arranged on a central axis from south to north. Chong Zheng Dian is the place where Abahai held court. It is the most important building in the Shenyang Imperial Palace. The Phoenix Tower, a three-storied building, was the highest structure in the whole city at that time. Qingning Palace was the bedchamber for Abahai and his concubines.

3) The western section was constructed by order of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799). Its main structure is the Wen Su Pavilion. In front of this, there are the Opera Stage and Jiayin Hall and behind it is the Yang Xi Room. The Wen Su Pavilion, which contains the Complete Collection of Four Treasures, has a black roof because black was considered to represent water which could be used to extinguish a fire to protect the priceless books contained inside.

Imperial Palaces in Beijing and Shenyang: UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties and Shenyang are UNESCO World Heritage Site is. The Shenyang palace was named in 2004 as an extension of the Forbidden City, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. According to UNESCO: Seat of supreme power for over five centuries (1416-1911), the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its landscaped gardens and many buildings (whose nearly 10,000 rooms contain furniture and works of art), constitutes a priceless testimony to Chinese civilization during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang consists of 114 buildings constructed between 1625–26 and 1783. It contains an important library and testifies to the foundation of the last dynasty that ruled China, before it expanded its power to the centre of the country and moved the capital to Beijing. This palace then became auxiliary to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. This remarkable architectural edifice offers important historical testimony to the history of the Qing Dynasty and to the cultural traditions of the Manchu and other tribes in the north of China. [Source: UNESCO]

“As the royal residences of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties from the 15th to 20th century, the Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang were the centre of State power in late feudal China. The Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing known as the Forbidden City was constructed between 1406 and 1420 by the Ming emperor Zhu Di and witnessed the enthronement of 14 Ming and 10 Qing emperors over the following 505 years. The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang was built between 1625 and 1637 by Nurgaci for the Nuzhen/Manchu forebears of the Qing Dynasty, which established itself in Beijing in 1644. Also known as Houjin Palace or Shenglin Palace, it was then used as the secondary capital and temporary residence for the royal family until 1911. The Imperial Palaces of Beijing and Shenyang were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987 and 2004 respectively.

“The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang while following the traditions of palace construction in China retains typical features of traditional folk residences of the Manchu people, and has integrated the architectural arts of Han, Manchu and Mongolian ethnic cultures. The buildings were laid out according to the “eight-banner” system, a distinct social organization system in Manchu society, an arrangement which is unique among palace buildings. Within the Qingning Palace the sacrificial places for the emperors testify to the customs of Shamanism practiced by the Manchu people for several hundred years.”

The Imperial Palaces are special because: 1) they “represent masterpieces in the development of imperial palace architecture in China. 2) The architecture of the Imperial Palace complexes, particularly in Shenyang, exhibits an important interchange of influences of traditional architecture and Chinese palace architecture particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries. 3) The Imperial Palaces bear exceptional testimony to Chinese civilisation at the time of the Ming and Qing dynasties, being true reserves of landscapes, architecture, furnishings and objects of art, as well as carrying exceptional evidence of the living traditions and the customs of Shamanism practised by the Manchu people for centuries. 4) The Imperial Palaces provide outstanding examples of the greatest palatial architectural ensembles in China. They illustrate the grandeur of the imperial institution from the Qing Dynasty to the earlier Ming and Yuan dynasties, as well as Manchu traditions, and present evidence on the evolution of this architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries.”

“The Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang, particularly the Forbidden City, genuinely preserve the outstanding embodiment of Chinese hierarchical culture in the layout, design and decoration of the building complex. The highest technical and artistic achievements of Chinese official architecture, conveyed by wooden structures, are preserved in an authentic way, and traditional craftsmanship is inherited. Various components of the Palaces bearing witness to the court culture of the Ming and Qing dynasties are retained, reflecting the lifestyle and values of the royal family of the times. The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang genuinely preserves the historical arrangement of Manchu palace buildings, the style and features of local buildings and information on the exchange between Manchu and Han nationalities in lifestyle in the 17th and 18th centuries.”

Shenyang Steam Locomotive Museum

Museum of Steam Locomotives (in the Shenyang Botanical Garden) is the largest of its kind in China. Located in a city that contained one of the last steam locomotive factories in the world, this museum houses steam locomotives from Russia, Poland, Japan as well as China. Tourists are sometimes permitted to play railroad engineer and drive a steam locomotive around for a kilometers or two.

The museum collections includes locomotives; from the U.S. Germany, Japan, Czech, Poland, Romania, England, China and the former Soviet Union. Model BDI and model PL locomotive produced by the U.S. in 1907 are among oldest still functioning steam locomotives in the world. Model SL 7 locomotive was made by Japan Heavy Industry Co. Ltd in 194. This train could reaches speeds of 130 kilometer per hour, and it is the only one that exists among the 12 that were made.The model China-made JS was made in 1957 and the model GJ locomotive was made in 1960.

The Shenyang Steam Locomotive Museum contains 15 historical locomotives and three copies of historical locomotives. Location: by Shenyang Railway Branch Bureau and Shenyang Botanical Garden, Shenyang, Liaoning 110001 Hours Open: 8:00am-6:00pm daily

Fuling Tomb

Fuling Tomb (eastern suburb of Shenyang) is the mausoleum of Nurhachi (1559-1626), the founder of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and his empress. Also known as East Tomb, it covers an area of 194,800 square meters (about 48 acres). It is well-preserved and is included in the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

According to UNESCO: “The Three Imperial Tombs of the Qing Dynasty in Liaoning Province include the Yongling Tomb, the Fuling Tomb, and the Zhaoling Tomb, all built in the 17th century. Constructed for the founding emperors of the Qing Dynasty and their ancestors, the tombs follow the precepts of traditional Chinese geomancy and fengshui theory. They feature rich decoration of stone statues and carvings and tiles with dragon motifs, illustrating the development of the funerary architecture of the Qing Dynasty. The three tomb complexes, and their numerous edifices, combine traditions inherited from previous dynasties and new features of Manchu civilization. Website:

Fuling Tomb was built between 1629 and 1651 on a slope of Tianzhu Mountain and has three parts. The first part is the outside part of the grand red gate-the Frontispiece of Fuling Tomb. On both sides of the Frontispiece stand delicately carved Stone Lions, Huabiao (ornamental columns like those in Tiananmen Square), Memorial Archways and Stone Tablets. On these stone tablets are carved three kinds of Chinese characters in Manchu, Mongolian and Han instructing visitors to dismount and pass here on foot, or else be punished. Through the Frontispiece is the second part-the Sacred Way. Pairs of stone lions, horses, camels and tigers stand either side of the way. At the end of the Sacred Way is the famous 108-step stairway revealing the sovereign right of imperial power. The second part also includes a stele pavilion built in 1688.

Continuing forward, you will arrive at the third part of Fuling Tomb. The castle-style architecture, called Square Castle, is the main construction of Fuling Tomb and is also the most characteristic of the architectural style of the Qing Dynasty. The Square Castle is about 5 meters (some 16 feet) high. On the four corners of the Castle stand small towers. The Bao Castle (Treasure Castle) is behind the Square Castle. Under the Bao Castle is the heart of Fuling Tomb-the mausoleum of Nurhachi and his wife. Admission: 32 yuan; Getting There: Bus route: 218, 234, 330.

Zhaoling Tomb

Zhaoling Tomb (in Beiling Park, just north of Shenyang) is the largest Qing imperial tomb in the northeast. Covering 4.5 hectares, it includes a tomb, a fortress, an altar hall, ornamental columns and marble animals. The architectural-style combines ancient Han construction methods and early Qing castle features.

According to UNESCO: “The Three Imperial Tombs of the Qing Dynasty in Liaoning Province include the Yongling Tomb, the Fuling Tomb, and the Zhaoling Tomb, all built in the 17th century. Constructed for the founding emperors of the Qing Dynasty and their ancestors, the tombs follow the precepts of traditional Chinese geomancy and fengshui theory. They feature rich decoration of stone statues and carvings and tiles with dragon motifs, illustrating the development of the funerary architecture of the Qing Dynasty. The three tomb complexes, and their numerous edifices, combine traditions inherited from previous dynasties and new features of Manchu civilization. Website:

Zhaoling Tomb is located in Beiling Park, the largest park in Shenyang. It is the mausoleum of Huang Taiji (Emperor Taizong) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and his queen Bo'erjijite. Huang Taiji was the eighth son of Nurhachi, a great leader who established the Later Jin State and laid the foundation of the Qing Dynasty. He was an outstanding politician and strategist of Manchu, like his father. As the tomb lies to the north of Shenyang City, it is usually called Beiling (North Tomb). Its total area is 4,500,000 square meters (1,112 acres). [Source:]

Construction of the mausoleum began in 1643 and was finished after eight years. Zhaoling Tomb, together with Fuling Tomb in Shenyang and Yongling Tomb in Xinbin are called the Three Mausoleums of the strategic pass (referring to the area between the east of Shanhaiguan Pass and the west of Jiayuguan Pass). Zhaoling is the largest and most magnificent. It is also one of the best preserved imperial mausoleums of China. In March, 1982, it was listed in the second group of Key Cultural Relics Units under the State Protection by the State Council. The long history of Zhaoling Tomb as well as its classical architecture attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The layout of Zhaoling Tomb can be divided into three parts from south to north by three buildings: the Horse Dismounting Tablet, the Red Gate and the Square City. The first two parts are used for worship and festivities, while the third part is the burial place of the Emperor.

The first part is between the Horse Dismounting Tablet and the Red Gate. On the Horse Dismounting Tablet, 'please dismount from the horse here' is carved in the three languages of Manchu, Han and Mongolia, to tell people that the frontage is the mausoleum of the Emperor and they should dismount to show respect to Huang Taiji. After the Horse Dismounting Tablet is the Divine Bridge which is built over a moat. The moat and Longyeshan (Longye Moutain) at the back of the tomb make up the so-call Feng Shui Bao Di (a valuable land with a good geomantic omen). Visitors can then see the Cloud Pillar (ornamental column) after walking over the bridge. The cloud pillar is a special kind of construction of ancient China. It is built in front of the mausoleum or palace to show that the emperor is not obstinate and is willing to listen to others' advice. To the north of the Cloud Pillar is the Stone Tablet. It is a standard construction of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties commemorating the departed saint.

The second part is between the Red Gate and the Square City. Passing the Stone Tablet, visitors can see the Red Gate, which has three gateways. During a festivity, the emperor walked through the left one and the ministers used the right one. The middle gateway led to the Divine Road which was prepared for the spirit of Huang Taiji and his queen. Only those who carried sacrifices could pass through the middle gate at that time. On both sides of the Divine Road is another pair of Cloud Pillars. Following them, there are six pairs of stone animals showing the strict distinction between the different statuses in feudal society. Walking along the road, we can see a stele of 50,000 kilograms (50 tons) built in a pavilion. These were built by order of Emperor Kangxi (a great emperor in Qing Dynasty) and the epigraph on the stele was also written by him.

The last part of Zhaoling Tomb is the main structure of the mausoleum which was built on the flat with a floor area of 160,000 square meters (39.5 acres). It consists of the Square City, the Crescent City, the Ming Pavilion and the Treasure Top. The most palatial place in this area is the Longen Hall in Square City. Its floor is covered with gold ore, which shines in the sunlight. It is the so-called Jin Shi Pu Di (ground paved with gold). On the top of the north gate of Square City is the Ming Pavilion which is the tallest building in the park. In the Ming Pavilion, there is a white marble stele 6 meters (19.7 feet) high. In the middle of the stele is written the character Zhaoling in the three languages of Manchu, Han and Mongolia. However after being struck many times by lightning, its surface has degraded. Behind the Ming Pavilion, is Crescent City-named because of its shape. Following Crescent City, visitors can see Treasure Top. The essential part of the tomb-the Underground Palace, which is the tomb of the Emperor and his queen, is located under Treasure Top. Longyeshan which is a man made hill is at the back of the Treasure Top.

Another characteristic of Zhaoling Tomb is its ancient pines, which stretch for miles. There are more than 2,000 pines, most of which are over 300 years old. The green pines form magnificent scenery around the palatial palace. Amongst them, the Phoenix Pine, the Spouse Pine and the Tortoise Pine stand out Admission: fee: 36 yuan; Hours Open: 8:30am-5:00pm; Bus route: 10, 213, 217, 220, 231, 232, 242, 245, 605

Strange Slope of Scenic Area

Strange Slope (30 kilometers northeast of Shenyang) descends eastwards from its western peak, occupying an area of nine square kilometers (5.6 square miles). Brought to world’s attention in 1990, is 80 meters (262.5 feet) long and 15 meters (49.2 feet) wide. Its uniqueness lies in its apparent violation of gravity. If a car stops at the foot of the slop, it will run to the top of the slop without any difficulty. The contrary occurs when cars attempt to drift downwards. Experts and scholars have attempted to discern the mystery of the Strange Slope. Commonly scholars attribute this phenomenon to magnetic fields and optical illusions. Owing to the lack of evidence for a solid explanation, Strange Slope is still regarded as a mystery.

Today, Strange Slope lies at the heart of the Strange Slope Scenic Area, which also features a number of other natural attractions, including those which comprise the area's well-known 'Three Mysteries' and 'Five Great Mountains'. Xiangshan is located on a hillside 100 meters (328 feet) away from the Strange Slope. Here, when one stomps on the hillside, he/she hears a loud sound resonating from the earth below. Its name, Xiangshan, means a hill which produces a heavy sound. Wongding is another hilltop located close by. Similarly, its name (pronounced 'wong') describes the sound which results from a wooden hammer or a stone hitting the ground. Together with the Strange Slope, these sights comprise the 'Three Mysteries' of the scenic area.

The area surrounding the Strange Slope Scenic Area is lush and mountainous. Yunmaoshan Mountain is tranquil yet prominent with its lofty peak remaining veiled by clouds year-round. Wolongshan Mountain winds up and down like a crouching dragon with valleys on its foot covered with Chinese scholartrees. Every year during May and June, petals whirl around covering the whole valley with a snowy guise. Guibeishan Mountain, which looks like three tortoises floating in the water, together with other two mountains, Changkongshan Mountain and Dagushan Mountain, make up the famous 'Five Great Mountains' of the Strange Slope Scenic Area.

There are many other attractions around the Strange Slope such as enchanting lakes and a fresh spring, Xiamei Spring. There is a labyrinth between the Strange Slope and Xiangshan, as well as a path with 518 steep steps. The view from atop the steps is fully worthwhile; here visitors can view a panorama of the scenic area as well as the nearby Wolong Temple Admission: Fee: 20 yuan; Hours Open: 05:30am-16:30 (Summer) 9:00am-5:00pm (Winter). Getting There: Tourist Bus bus routes: 331, 330, 4304, 328

Near Shenyang

Anshan (92 kilometers south of Shenyang) hosts the Anshan Jade Buddha, the largest Buddha statue made of jade in the world. Otherwise Anshan is an industrial center with about 3.5 million people and was the home of some of China's main iron and steel facilities and cement and chemical production. Tang-gangzi Park, a few kilometers south of the city, has two historic homes — one that belonged to a Manchu warlord, and another to the last Qing emperor. The park's hot springs and sanitarium attract visitors from many parts of the country. Eryijiu Park features three large lakes and several walk-ways.

Anshan is located near large reserves of iron and coal. Iron smelting here dates to 100 B.C. and was practiced until Manchu emperors shut down the operations. The Japanese revived production. The steel works were founded here in 1918. Because of its strategic importance, Anshan was the scene of intense fighting in the Chinese civil war (1946-1949), with both sides taking control of the district 11 times. The city was rebuilt following the war.

Mt. Qianshan (25 kilometers southeast of Anshan) is an unusual-looking mountain. According to a Chinese saying, "There is no peak in Qianshin that is not singular, no rocky cliff not perilous, and no monastery not ancient." Fushun (45 kilometers east of Shenyang) contains China's largest open pit mine. It is over six kilometers long and 300 meters across. The city of Fushun is home to 2.5 million people.

Benxi Cave (60 kilometers south-southwest of Shenyang) offers a boat ride though a large stalactite filled cave and underground river. Liaoyang (15 kilometers north of Anshan) is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in northeast China. It, has a number of historical sites, including the White Pagoda (Baita), that dates to the Yuan Dynasty.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization),, UNESCO, reports submitted to UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, China Daily, Xinhua, Global Times, 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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