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—  Prefecture-level city  —
Changsha's Skyline
Location within Hunan Province (yellow shaded)
Changsha is located in China
Location in China
Coordinates: 28°11′46″N 112°58′20″E / 28.19611°N 112.97222°E / 28.19611; 112.97222
Country China
County-level divisions 8
Township divisions 172
 - Mayor Zhang Jiangfei
Area (ranked ??th)
 - Prefecture-level city 11,819 km2 (4,563.3 sq mi)
Population (2000)
 - Prefecture-level city 6,138,719
 Density 519.4/km2 (1,345.2/sq mi)
 Urban 2,743,826
 - Rank in China 19th
 - Major nationalities Han - 99.22%
Minorities - 0.78%
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Postal code 410000
Area code(s) +86/731
License plate prefixes 湘A
湘O (police and authorities)
ISO 3166-2 cn-??
GDP (2008) CNY 300.1 billion (16th)
 - per capita CNY 45,765 (?nd)
HDI (2005) ? (?nd) — high
City tree: Camphor; City flower: Azalea

Changsha (simplified Chinese: 长沙traditional Chinese: 長沙pinyin: ChángshāWade-Giles: Chang-sha) is the capital city of Hunan, a province of south-central China, located on the lower reaches of Xiang river, a branch of the Yangtze River. Its municipality covers an area of 11,819 sq. kilometers and has a population of 6,017,600 (2003 intercensal estimate), the urbanized area has around 2.7 million people.

Changsha was important from the time of the Qin dynasty (221–207 BC). In AD 750–1100 Changsha was an important commercial city, and its population increased greatly. Under the Qing dynasty, from 1664, it was the capital of Hunan province, and it was a major rice market. It was besieged during the Taiping Rebellion but never fell. Changsha was the site of Mao Zedong's conversion to communism. It was the scene of major battles in the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45 and was briefly occupied by the Japanese. Rebuilt since 1949, the city is now a major port and a commercial and industrial center.



The city of Changsha has direct jurisdiction over 5 districts (区 qu), 1 county-level cities (市 shi), and 3 county (县 xian) :

Subdivisions of Changsha-China.png Subdivision
Changsha City Proper   Changsha Suburban and Rural
Furong-qu 芙蓉区   Liuyang-shi 浏阳市
Tianxin-qu 天心区   Changsha-xian 长沙县
Yuelu-qu 岳麓区   Wangcheng-xian 望城县
Kaifu-qu 开福区   Ningxiang-xian 宁乡县
Yuhua-qu 雨花区  


During the 1st millennium BC, it was the centre of the southern part of the Yangtze River valley state of Chu. In 1935–36 some Chu graves excavated nearby produced important evidences of Chu culture. The city's most ancient name was Qingyang.

Under the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) it became a staging post for Qin expeditions into Guangdong province. By 202 BC it was already a fortified city. During the Han Dynasty it was also the capital of Changsha kingdom.

From Han times (206 BC–AD 220) it was named Linxiang County and was the seat of the Changsha commandery. The county was renamed Changsha in 589, when it became the administrative seat of Tan prefecture. It lost some importance at this period, however, because traffic from Guangdong was mostly diverted up the Gan River valley in Jiangxi.

Portrait of riding a dragon, found in a tomb dated back to the Warring States Period.

The celebrated Mawangdui Tombs of the Han Dynasty were constructed between 186 and 165 BC. The earliest tomb (no. 2), when excavated in the 1970s, had preserved the corpse of Lady Xin Zhui in a surprisingly good condition. Also found in the tomb were the earliest versions of Dao De Jing (道德经), the main text of Taoism, among many other historical documents.

During the Three Kingdoms period, Changsha was a much-fought-over territory. During the Sui Dynasty, Changsha was a county.

After the fall of the Tang dynasty (618–907), it became the capital of the independent Chu state and later fell to the Later Tang dynasty (923–937). Between 750 and 1100, as Changsha became an important commercial city, the population of the area increased tenfold.

Under the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911/12) dynasties it was made a superior prefecture and from 1664 onward was the capital of Hunan and prospered as one of China's chief rice markets. During the Taiping Rebellion the city was besieged by the rebels (1854) but never fell; it then became the principal base for the suppression of the rebellion. Changsha was opened to foreign trade in 1904. Further development followed the opening of the railway to Hankou in Hubei province in 1918, which was extended to Guangzhou in Guangdong province in 1936. Although Changsha's population grew, the city remained primarily commercial in character and before 1937 had little industry, apart from some small cotton-textile, glass, and nonferrous-metal plants and handicraft enterprises.

Yuelu Academy (岳麓书院) was founded in AD 976 (Song Dynasty), destroyed by war in 1127, and rebuilt in 1165 (Southern Song Dynasty). The celebrated philosopher Zhu Xi (朱熹) taught at the Academy in 1165. It was destroyed by the Mongols but was restored in the late 15th century (Ming Dynasty). In 1903 it became Hunan High School. The modern day Hunan University is a descendant of the academy. The architecture of some of the buildings was restored from 1981–1986, presumably according to the Song design.

In 1852 the Taiping forces laid a siege on Changsha, through 3 months, the Taiping gave up offensive and toward Wuhan.( Battle of Changsha (1852) )

The 1903 Treaty of Shanghai between China and Japan opened the city to foreign trade. Consequently, factories, churches and schools were built. A college was started by Yale University bachelors, and later became a medical center named Xiangya and a secondary school named the Yali School.

Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China began his political career in Changsha. He was a student at the Hunan Number 1 Teachers' Training School from 1913 to 1918. He later returned as a teacher and principal from 1920 to 1922. The school was destroyed during the Chinese Civil War but has since been restored. The Former Office of the Hunan Communist Party Central Committee where Mao Zedong once lived is now a museum that includes Mao's living quarters, photographs and other historical items from the 1920s.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), the strategic location of Changsha made it the focus of four campaigns by the Japanese to capture it from the hands of the Chinese Nationalists which resulted in the battles of 1st Changsha, 2nd Changsha, 3rd Changsha, and 4th Changsha. The city was able to repulse the first three attacks thanks to Bai Chongxi's leadership, but ultimately fell for a short time into Japanese hands in 1944 for another year until they were defeated in a counterattack and forced to surrender. The city itself was virtually destroyed by fire in 1938–39.

The city later became the territory of the People's Republic of China when it was formed in 1949 after the Kuomintang were driven to Taiwan.


Xiang River and Changsha's riverbank at night (2005)

Changsha is located at 111°53'–114°5' east longitude and 27°51'–28°40' north latitude, situated in the east central Hunan. Its terrain is high in the west and low in the east. There are many mountainous areas in the west and in the north. The Xiangjiang River flows south to northwest; 296 m high Mt. Yuelushan is in the west; and Liuyanghe River (Liuyang River) and Laodaohe River (Laodao River) east.


Changsha experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with annual average temperature being 16.8°C–17.2°C, 4.6°C in January and 28.6°C in July. Average annual precipitation is 1422 mm., and the yearly frost-free period is 275 days.

The four seasons are distinct. The summers are long and hot, with heavy rainfall, and autumn is comfortable with abundant sunlight. Winter is comparatively dry and rather brief, but cold snaps occur with temperatures occasionally dropping below freezing.

Changsha neighboring areas include: Jiangxi province, cities and counties of Hunan, such as Tonggu County, Wanzai County, Yichun City, Pingxiang City of Jiangxi province. Pingjiang County, Miluo city, Xiangyin County of Yueyang; Heshan District, Taojiang County, Anhua County of Yiyang; Lianyuan city of Loudi; Zhuzhou County, Liling City of Zhuzhou; Xiangtan County, Xiangxiang city of Xiangtan.

Climate data for Changsha (1971-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.7
Average low °C (°F) 1.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 66.1
Sunshine hours 76.2 63.0 69.4 88.3 122.8 144.8 238.3 229.6 160.0 133.4 115.7 103.2 1,544.7
Source: 中国气象局 国家气象信息中心 2009-03-17


Changsha is well connected by roads, river, rail, and air transportation modes, and is a regional hub for industrial, tourist, and service sectors.

  • Public Transport: The city's public transportation system consists of an extensive bus network with over a hundred lines as well as taxis.
  • Roads: National Highways 107 and 319, as well as Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan Express Way connect the Changsha metro area nationally. There are three main bus terminals in Changsha: South Station, East Station and West Station, dispatching long- and short-haul trips to cities within and outside Hunan Province.
  • River: Changsha is surrounded by major rivers, including the Xiangjiang, the Liuyanghe, and the Laodaohe. Ships transport mainly goods from Xianing port located in North Changsha domesticly and internationally.
  • Rail: Changsha Railway Station is located at city center and provides express and regular services to most cities in China, new passenger only high speed railway station under construction in Yuhua district, with two main high speed rail way line across in next ten years (Beijing -> Hongkong, Shanghai -> Changsha).
  • Air: Changsha Huanghua International Airport is a regional hub for China Southern Airlines, which serves major cities in China, including Hong Kong. Other major airlines also provide daily service between Changsha and other domestic and international destinations.


The Huángxīng Lù Pedestrian Commercial Street in Changsha (2006)

Rebuilt since 1949, its population nearly tripled between the late 1940s and the early 1980s. The city is now a major port, handling rice, cotton, timber, and livestock, and is also a collection and distribution point on the railway from Hankou to Guangzhou. It is a centre of rice milling and also has oil-extraction, tea- and tobacco-curing, and meat-processing plants. Its textile industry produces cotton yarn and fabrics and engages in dyeing and printing. Agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, farm implements, and pumping machinery are also produced.

A Pizzahut-Restaurant in Changsha

Changsha has a large thermal generating station linked by a power grid with the nearby industrial centres of Zhuzhou and Xiangtan; the three cities were designated in the 1970s as the nucleus of a major industrial complex. In the 1960s there was some development of heavy industry. The manufacture of machinery, especially machine tools and precision tools, became important, and Changsha became a center of China's aluminum industry. The city also has cement, rubber, ceramic, and papermaking plants and is a centre for many types of traditional handicrafts, producing hsiang embroidery, leather goods, umbrellas, and buttons. Coal is mined in the vicinity.

In 2008, Changsha's nominal GDP was ¥300.1 billion (US$43 billion), a year-on-year growth of 15.1% from the previous year. Its per capita GDP was ¥45,765 (US$6,589).[1]

Changsha is one of China's top 20 "economically advanced" cities. Its GDP has grown at an average of 14% per year from 2001-2005, compared with the national average of 9%. During the year 2005, the service sector represented roughly half of Changsha's GDP (at 49%), up 112% from 2001 figures, and it is expected to continue driving the city's economic growth. Leading to a disposable income for urban residents of 12,343 RMB annually.[2] The manufacturing and construction sectors have grown relatively steadily, growing 116% during 2001-2005. The primary sector, including agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishery, has grown slightly over this same period. In addition, the consumer market has grown dramatically with income levels. With a minimum salary level of 600 RMB per month in comparison to Beijing 640 RMB or Shanghai at 750 RMB per month.[3] Urban residents in 2005 had average income of about USD $1,500, 15% higher than national average, and up 10% from 2001 figures.[4]

The city has also attracted a tremendous amount of foreign investment. In 2005, for example, nearly USD $1 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) poured into the city, mainly in hi-tech, manufacturing, food production, and services. This figure is up 40% from 2001. 59% of the total FDI has come from Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan; 28% has come from the Americas and 9% from Europe.[5] Retail sales for Changsha in 2006 were 74 RMB per Billion Per Annum.[6]

Along with economic growth, environmental pollution in Changsha has become a serious problem, with rapidly increasing numbers of private cars, construction fields everywhere, and numerous industrial facilities on the outskirts of the city (2007).


In recent years, Changsha has become an important creative center for TV and entertainment arts, with its many TV stations producing some of the most popular programs in China, including Super Girl, a Chinese female version of the UK Pop Idol or American Idol that is the most watched program ever to air on Chinese TV. These programs have also brought a new entertainment industry, including singing bars, dance clubs, theater shows, as well as related businesses like hair salons, fashion stores, and hot spicy snacks at night(esp. in the summer time).

Changsha is home to the Lei Feng Memorial (Lei Feng Jinianguan) and statue.

In May 2008, the BBC broadcast, as part of its Storyville documentary series, the four-part The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World, explores the inner workings of the 5000-seat capacity West Lake Restaurant (Xihu Lou Jiujia) located in Changsha.


Colleges and universities

Changsha was the seat of many ancient schools and academies.[citation needed] It is the site of Hunan Medical University (1914) and has several colleges and institutes of higher learning.



Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.

Notable people

Changsha is the birthplace of:

Other famous people associated with the city:

Sister cities and friendship cities

Changsha has city partnerships with the following cities and regions:

See also


  1. ^ Changsha Statistical Yearbook 2007
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ China Briefing Changsha Report
  4. ^ Changsha Statistical Yearbook 2005
  5. ^ KPMG Changsha Investment Environment Study 2006
  6. ^ [2]

External links

Coordinates: 28°11′46″N 112°58′20″E / 28.19611°N 112.97222°E / 28.19611; 112.97222

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Changsha (长沙; Chángshā) is the capital of Hunan Province.

Get in

By air

Huanghua International Airport is the major airport for those seeking to visit Changsha. A 45 minutes drive on the expressway will take you to the city center. Traveling from the airport, will allow for some window-viewing of the relatively wealthy countryside surrounding the city. Although annual floods do sizable property damage, the overflowing of the rivers help irrigate the evergreen and enormous rice paddies.

By train

Jingguang Railway Station is in the heart of the city. There is train connections from any major city in China or at least you can find a connecting train. From Beijing it is about 16 hours by train.

Trolleys with the usual Chinese array of instant noodles, dried vegetables and packed fruit are noteable for their regularity, but for something slightly more fulfilling (and expensive), hop down to the restaurant car.

Get around

Ubiquitous taxicabs flood the city streets, willing to transport you just up the street or to the other side of town, the meters start at ¥5. There is a hidden charge that all taxi cabs will add on to your total tab, but that is usually only about ¥0.5.

If you want to spend like a native or just want to experience the sensation of being sandwiched between natives, then hop on a bus for ¥2 and feel the thrill of speeding down the bumpy roads with barely any breathing room.

  • Hunan Provincial Museum (湖南省博物馆). Museum hours are posted as 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (except closed Mondays), but expect to get kicked out 20 minutes before closing. See the Han-era tomb of Xin Zui, the Marquess of Dai, and her 2,100 year old preserved body. Its extraordinary and looks more real than Ho Chi Minh. Her body was still moist and flexible when they found her, complete elastic skin. Also at the museum, is many exhibits on all kinds of Han Dynasty artifacts, including pottery, to lacqureware, to an impressive collection of intact silk, etc. Admission is free, but it is on a first come first serve basis - your ticket will have a time stamped on it that will show when you are allowed to enter the exam. Show up early in the morning if you want to get in right away, otherwise you might have to pick up a ticket and then return in a few hours to enter.  edit
  • Hunan University, (Across the river). You will find lots of great places to eat in and around the studious atmosphere of the various campus' south of Yuelu Shan. Mao Zedong attended Hunan University and there is a statue in honour of this most famous of their alumni.  edit
  • Theaters. Watch traditional folk art, eg lion dance, drum opera, clam dance and Xiang Opera.  edit
  • Wuyi Shopping Circle. The most important shopping area downtown.  edit


When eating in Changsha there is nothing better than a plate of stinky tofu (chou dofu) or soo yo bing bought right off the street. If you have just arrived, be wary of eating from street vendors. Although the inviting aroma of food cooking may be too tempting to resist, you better have a strong stomach if you do not want to get an upset one.

Food in Changsha is famously described as "xiang cai“. As Xiang Jiang is the major river that borders the city to the west, Xiang denotes not only the flavor and taste of the food but also of the land. Changsha, like Szechuan is known for spicy food, but without the additional "ma", numbing affect of certain spices and pepper. In summer, oversized metal mixing bowls filled with crawfish seasoned with plenty of chili and spices, take the stage atop countless tabletops. Restaurants get so busy and overcrowded that tables, chairs along with diners spill into the busy streets and the parade of tantalizing dishes endlessly leave the kitchen to appear on the tables of hungry diners.

For international cuisine, four and five star restaurants have reputable chefs although for a visitor, the inifite array of dishes native to or with a Hunan flair are sure to please even the most discriminating palate.

Head straight to Snake Alley for the best "point-and-eat" in the city for merely pennies (US$ of course).

  • Food Street, (On the first floor of Huatian Hotel). Choices and a sampling of regional foods of the country. Long established and well-regarded, this cozy and rustic eatery stays bustling through the wee morning hours as food enthusiasts, businessmen, and families with their children flock to this fun food court styled eatery. Do not be fooled though by the fast-food style of ordering (prepared food is displayed at various stations, your orders are placed by a hole punched on your menu card and then served freshly prepared within minutes of ordering), the food here is superb. From the sweet taro dessert topped with gingko biloba nuts to steamed pork chops dusted with a layer of sticky rice powder, the food here arguably some of the best you will find. With the huge range and style that is presented at Food Street, you will be sure to find new favorites for you and each of the guests you bring.  edit


Jiefang West Road (解放西路; Jiefangxilu) - on this road reside a few Chinese clubs, including SoHo, the ubiqiutous Chinese chain. Drinks expensive, music loud, people-a-plenty. Just off the main walking street, so pretty handy location.

Taiping Street (太平街; Taipingjie) - this newly-refurbished area, with traditional/tacky facades (delete where your taste lies) has a few smaller bars, some with live music. Just off Jiefang West Road towards the river.

  • The Fifth Tone (Coffeeshop), Changsha's West Side, XinMin Road, Shimenlou Street #3. (After crossing the middle bridge to the west side, take a left onto Lushan Road. Take a left at the first light onto Xinmin Road. Halfway down the street on your left is a small street called Shimenlou street. The cafe is the third storefront on the left!), 0731-88805303, [1]. 2pm-10pm, Mon thru Sat. American-run, with real coffee drinks and homemade desserts like brownies and banana bread. A hangout for local foreigners, but also with a Chinese clientele. English Corner Tuesday evenings, live music on Friday nights. 15yuan.  edit
Routes through Changsha
ZhengzhouWuhan  N noframe S  ZhuzhouGuangzhou
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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  1. A city in south-central China; capital of Hunan province.


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