Hebei province lies on the Gulf of Bo Hai in northern China, between 113°27' and 119°53'E and 36°04' and 42°37'N. Beijing and Tientsin lie within this province.
It obtains its name from its geographical position - Hebei actually means ''north of the river'', namely the Huanghe.Some 60 per cent of the total area is accounted for by the mountain ranges scattered over the north and west of the province, the remaining 40 per cent being taken up by the fertile, alluvial Hebei Plain. Most of Hebei lies within the catchment area of the Haihe river.The climate is continental in character, with cold, dry winters and warm, humid summers.From an historical aspect, until the 11th C Hebei was of importance only because it was a border region. It was only when the Yuan (1271-1368) made Beijing their capital that it found itself in the center of the new kingdom and so was able to develop its trade and crafts.From 1421 to 1928 the region was called Chihli. Industrialization began in the mid-1800s. Since ancient times flooding had been an ever-present problem in Hebei, but after 1949 this danger was removed as a result of a program involving deforestation of the mountain region together with the building of water reservoirs and irrigation and drainage systems.Available minerals include coal, iron and copper ore. Sea-salt is obtained from the salt-marshes along the Gulf of Bo Hai.Hebei is also one of China's main cotton-growing regions. Wheat, maize, millet, soya beans, sweet potatoes and olives are also grown, together with fruit in the mountain regions.
Chengde lies 250km/155mi northeast of Beijing in the northeast of Hebei province. It is reached from Beijing either by rail or by road.In the 16th C Chengde (formerly known as Jehol) was still just a small village. In the early 18th C the Jiangxi Emperor built a summer residence here. Over the years the town gained in importance until finally it became the second seat of the Manchurian government.Today Chengde is a commercial center in the north of Hebei province.
Map of Hebei Attractions