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Home Chinese Cities and Province Information Chengdu, Sichuan Province

China City and Province: Chengdu

Chengdu Basics
Area:   12,600 square km
Population:   10.41 million
Postal Code:   610000
Phone Area Code:   028
Local Time  
A Brief Introduction of Chengdu

Chengdu (also called Rongcheng), the capital of Sichuan Province in the southwest, has been the economic and cultural center of China's most populous province since 400 BC .

During the Eastern Han Dynasty (35-330 AD), the imperial court appointed an official to supervise the fast-growing brocade industry in the town. It was then known as Jincheng, or Brocade Town. When it was discovered that the brocade turned brighter and fresher after being washed in a nearby river, the river was given the name Jin Jiang, or Brocade River.


During the Five Dynasties era (907-960 A. D.), it was for a time the capital of China, and hibiscus was planted all along the city wall. Because of this, it then became known as the City of Furong or Hibiscus. Today, flowers and trees grace the wide streets and its many parks. Agriculture and light industry are the mainstays of the region. Brocade is still manufactured along with other textiles and handicrafts. If you stay in Chengdu, you may be able to see an operatic production. The Sichuan Opera has been in existence for many years and is slowly winning nationwide fame.


Tourist Attractions in Chengdu

Places of interest in the city include Du Fu Caotang, a small thatched hut in which the great poet, Du Fu, of the Tang Dynasty, wrote many of his 340-odd poems. But more exciting sights can be seen on excursions to Mt. Emei, the Great Buddha Statue at Leshan, the Thousand Buddha Cliffs at Guangyuan and the Guanxian Dam.

Mmunt Emei (Emeishan)
Mount Emei rises sharply on the left bank of the Dadu River 135 miles south from Chengdu by road. Reaching a height of 10,337 ft., it is the highest of the four sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. There were once over 70 temples and monasteries that sheltered thousands of Buddhist monks. Pilgrims spent days climbing to the top of Mt. Emei to offer prayers to the Buddha. Most of the temples still remain, and you can see them on your climb to the summit. The climb is tiring and the path difficult to follow in places. At the summit you may see the sun rise over the famous Ocean of Clouds. Late in the afternoon, if you are lucky enough, you may also see the Precious Light of Buddha formed by the diffraction of light passing through moisture particles in the atmosphere.


Great Buddha Status at Leshan
Leshan, about 100 miles southwest of Chengdu, once known as Jiading or Jiazhou, is a 1,300-year-old city in southwestern Sichuan Province, where the Minjiang River and the Dadu River converge. It is a junction for land and water traffic in southern Sichuan.

On Lingyun Hill, an enormous Buddha, 331 ft. tall, sits erect with an armed guard standing at either side, a path with nine bends winds down the cliff from the top of the Buddha's head, at the crest of the hill, to the statue's feet. Legend has it the Monk Hai Tong of Lingyun Monastery, disturbed at seeing many boats capsized in the turbulent waters nearby, initiated the carving of this Buddha to subdue the waters and ensure the safety of the river folks. It was completed in 803, in the Tang Dynasty, after 90 years of work. The figure, not only a great work of art, incorporates the sophisticated technical features of hidden drains, which were skillfully cut through the body to prevent the surface from weathering.

Thousand Buddha Cliffs at Guangyuan
If you travel from Chengdu to Xi'an by train and are interested in Buddhist cave sculptures, it is worth stopping at Guangyuan, about 175 miles north of Chengdu and only 30 miles from the Shaanxi border. Not far from the town is the Thousand Buddha Cliffs, or Qian Fo Yan, where there are Buddhist sculptures comparable with those at Yungang (see Datong) and Long Men (see Luoyang). The carvings were begun in the early part of the eighth century. Of the original 17,000 statues, only a few hundred remain.


The Guanxian Dam This dam is located about 30 miles northwest of Chengdu. The Minjiang River splits into four tributaries near the town, two of which flow on either side of Chengdu.

Over the centuries, a series of water systems have been developed at Guanxian, the first as far back as 350 BC The water has been diverted from Minjiang River to the nearby plains, creating one of the most productive agricultural areas in China.

There are models at the dam site that illustrate the water systems, as well as inscriptions commemorating the scholar, Li Bing and his son, who began the task of diverting the waters more than 33 centuries ago.

Nearby is a Taoist temple, the Fulongguan, commanding a superb view of the river valley. A short drive away stands the Two Kings' Temple, built in honor of Li Bing and his son, who were both awarded the title of “King” after their deaths.

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 China's Administrative Divisions
4 Municipalities

23 Provinces

5 Autonomous Regions

2 Special Administrative Regions (SAR)

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