Changsha Tourist Attractions
Changsha lies on the banks of the Xiangjiang, a large tributary of the Changjiang, in a fertile agricultural region in the northeast of Hunan province.
The town is served by the Beijing-Canton railroad and by a small airport.Changsha can look back on two thousand years of history. In the Spring and Autumn periods and the period of the Warring Kingdoms (771-221 BC) it was known as Qinyang because of the amount and quality of hand worked and artistic goods it produced (textiles, metallurgy, lacquer-work). It was given its present name in the Qin period (221-206 BC), when it was one of the most important towns in China. Under the Song dynasty (960-1279) Changsha became an educational center. The town walls, parts of which still stand, were built at the beginning of the Ming period (1368-1644). In 1664 the Qing rulers elevated it to the status of provincial capital of Hunan. In 1904, under pressure from western powers, the town was opened up to foreigners, and Europeans and Americans subsequently settled here. Mao Zedong (Tse-tung) lived in the town from 1911 to 1923; he studied and taught at the College of Education. In the Sino-Japanese war of 1937-45 a large part of Changsha was destroyed and reconstruction did not commence until after the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. Helped by its position on the Xiangjiang, the town developed as a commercial center; its harbor is now the largest on the river. Today it is also a financial and industrial center, with light industry predominating.
Island of the Oranges
The Island of Oranges - so named after the large numbers of orange trees growing here - is a narrow strip of sand 5km/3mi long in the middle of the Xiangjiang river. The southern end of the island has been made into a public park. Here the visitor will find a pretty pavilion and a stone tablet on which is engraved a poem about the town written by Mao Zedong. From the southern end of the island there is a particularly good view of the river.
Yuelushan Hill, to the west of the Old Town on the west bank of the Xiangjiang, is 297m/975ft) high and scenically charming. Historically interesting monuments are scattered over its slopes.
Pavilion for the Enjoyment of Twilight
In the evening there is an impressive view to be had from the Pavilion for the Enjoyment of Twilight (Aiwan Ting), which was built in 1792 and restored in 1952. The inscribed pillar (Yuwang Bei) standing on the top of Yuelushan Hill dates from 1212 and describes the struggles of the mythical Emperor Yu against the flooding river.
The Yuelu Academy (Yuelu Shuyuan) stands at the eastern foot of the Yuelushan Hill; since 1925 it has been the site of the University of Hunan.
Cahngsha - Provincial Museum
The Provincial Museum lies in the northeast of the town on the bank of Lake Nianjia. Various archaeological finds are displayed in a total of 10,000sq.m/11,000sq.yd of floor space. The exhibits include bronze articles from the Shang era (16th-11th C BC) and painted objects from the period of the Warring Kingdoms (475-221 BC). There are also finds from the Mawangdui burial site dating from the Western Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 24); these include the mummy of a lady of noble birth (the museum was specially built to house), which has been painstakingly preserved in its entirety, and the magnificent coffin and grave-goods which accompany it. The corpse is wrapped in about twenty layers of silk and linen sheets. The transmigratory banner placed in an inner coffin is in the form of a T-shaped silken picture displaying outstanding artistic skill and radiant colors and is one of the earliest examples of Chinese silk-painting. It portrays the journey of the deceased into the hereafter and also shows mythological creatures.
Lushan-Si Temple, built in 268, is one of the oldest Buddhist sanctuaries in the province. The main doorway and the Cangling Ge pavilion can still be seen.Close by stands a valuable stone tablet inscribed by the famous calligraphist Li Yong (678-747), which uses more than 1400 characters in describing how the temple was built.
Temple of the Beginning of Blissful Happiness
This temple in Kaifu Si Street was erected in 907. After repeated acts of destruction over the centuries the major buildings have now been restored. The complex includes the Halls of Sansheng Dian and Pilu Dian, as well as the Hall of the Great Buddha (Daxiong Badian) which was rebuilt in 1923. The temple houses two inscribed stone tablets dating from the 17th and 19th C.
Martyr Park, with its memorial pagoda, was laid out in 1955 in memory of those who died in the liberation struggle. There is an exhibition hall in the base of the 38m/125ft high pagoda.
Pond of the Clear Water
The early history of the Communist Party Committee of the province is portrayed in the Qingshuitang, which gets its name from a pond which once lay behind the house. The conference rooms and Mao Zedong's residential quarters can be seen.
Hunan College of the Education No.1
This college in the south of the town was burned down in 1938 and faithfully rebuilt after 1949. It was here that Mao Zedong (Tse-tung) studied (1913-18) and taught (1920-21). During that time he organized a student union and evening classes for the workers, as well as founding a Marxist study group. Photos, manuscripts and books in the college document his political career.