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Chéngdé
—  Prefecture-level city  —
Location of Chengde in Hebei Province
Chéngdé is located in China
Chéngdé
Location of Chengde in Hebei Province
Coordinates: 40°58′01″N 117°55′57″E / 40.96694°N 117.9325°E / 40.96694; 117.9325
Country China
Province Hebei
Area
 - Prefecture-level city 39,519 km2 (15,258.4 sq mi)
 - Urban 709 km2 (273.7 sq mi)
Population (2004)
 - Prefecture-level city 3,610,000
 - Density 91/km2 (235.7/sq mi)
 - Urban 457,300
 - Urban Density 645/km2 (1,670.5/sq mi)
Website http://www.chengde.gov.cn
City tree
Pagoda Tree
City flower
Rugosa Rose

Chengde (Chinese: 承德pinyin: Chéngdé) is a prefecture-level city in Hebei province, People's Republic of China, situated northeast of Beijing. It is best known as the site of the Mountain Resort, a vast imperial garden formerly used by the emperors of the Qing Dynasty. The urban center has around 450,000 people as of 2009.

Contents

History

The Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735–1796) touring Chengde.

In 1703, Chengde was chosen by the Kangxi Emperor as the location for his summer residence. Constructed throughout the eighteenth century, the Mountain Resort (避暑山庄; literally "avoiding the heat mountain villa") was used by both the Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors. Since the seat of government followed the emperor, Chengde was a political center of the Chinese empire during these times.

Under the Republic of China, Chengde was the capital of Rehe province. From 1933 to 1945 the city was under Japanese control as a part of the Manchurian puppet state known as Manchukuo. After World War II the Kuomintang regained jurisdiction. In 1948, the People's Liberation Army took control of Chengde. It would remain a part of Rehe until 1955, when the province was abolished, and the city was incorporated into Hebei.

The city is home to large populations of ethnic minorities, Mongol and Manchu in particular. The name for Chengde in Manchu is Erdemu be aliha fu.

Economy

With road and railroad links to Beijing, Chengde has developed into a distribution hub, and its economy is growing rapidly. The newly-built Jingcheng Expressway connects Chengde directly to central Beijing, and more freeways are planned for the city.

Sights

The Putuo Zongcheng Temple complex, completed in 1771 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor.

The project of building Chengde Mountain Resort started in 1703 and finished in 1790. The whole mountain resort covers an area 5,640,000 square meters. It is the largest royal garden in China. The wall of the mountain resort is over 10,000 meters in length. In summers, emperors of Qing Dynasty came to the mountain resort to relax themselves and escape from the high temperature in Beijing.

The whole Resort can be divided into three areas which are lakes area, plains area and hills area. The lakes area, which includes 8 lakes, covers an area of 496,000 square meters. The plains area covers an area of 607,000 square meters. The emperors held horse races and hunted in the area. The largest area of the three is the hills area. It covers an area of 4,435,000 square meters. Hundreds of palaces and temples were built on the hills in this area.

The elaborate Mountain Resort features large parks with lakes, pagodas, and palaces ringed by a wall. Outside the wall are the Eight Outer Temples (外八庙), built in varying architectural styles drawn from throughout China. One of the best-known of these is the Putuo Zongcheng Temple, built to resemble the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The resort and outlying temples were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The nearby Puning Temple, built in 1755, houses the world's tallest wooden statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.

Chengde's older name of Rehe (or Jehol) came from the name for the local river (热河; Pinyin: Rèhé) which translates as "hot river." The river was so named because it did not freeze in the winter. Most sections of the river are currently dry because of a new damming project.

Another popular attraction of the Chengde area is Sledgehammer Peak (磬锤峰), a large rock formation in the shape of an inverted sledgehammer. A variety of other mountains, valleys, and grasslands lie within the borders of the city.

Gallery

Sister Cities

Chengde has city partnerships with the following cities:

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Chengde (承德; Chéngdé) is a city in Hebei.

Understand

Rehe (the former name of Chengde) was the summer residence of the early Qing Dynasty emperors. The city still maintains the fine features of this hill-side resort, such as the outer wall and large expanse of parkland that incorporates lakes, pagodas, and palaces. Outside this complex are the impressive Eight Outer Temples. The resort, along with the Outer Temples, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

The city is located approximately 260km northeast of Beijing and currently has a population of around 700,000.

Get in

By plane

There is a small airport in southern Chengde where occasional charter flights shuttle between Beijing and Chengde. Chengde is 180 kilometers away from the Beijing Capital International Airport. To travel by air, visitors can take a coach to Beijing and connect with their flights from there. A coach departs for Beijing every twenty minutes, making it very convenient.

By train

There is a train (K7711) leaving Beijing train station (the main one, on metro line No.2) at 6.30am and arriving Chengde 10.48am.

By bus

Buses leave frequently (every 20 minutes) for Chengde from Beijing. The cost is around ¥65. The trip takes 4-6 hours, as it is not a direct bus, and makes many stops. Beware of getting on at the origin of the bus in the east of Beijing, as you may spend over an hour just going to Dongzhimen.

By car

Another option is to find an unofficial taxi (heiche) from Beijing to Chengde. You will share this car with the driver and three other passengers (so that the car is full). It costs about ¥150 and takes 2-2.5 hours. It is easy to find a heiche from Chengde to Beijing (ask in any hotel if you have trouble). The other way may be more difficult, but ask around.

Get around

By bus

Buses charge a flat rate of ¥1, but there is no attendant, so have correct change. The buses have no English and little pinyin signage.

Bus 118 goes from Chengde to the temples in the North and bus 119 to the temples in the East.

By taxi

Taxis generally are not metered, but sometimes will use the meter if insisted upon. Short trips are a flat rate of ¥5. Trips from one side of the city to the other are ¥10, and trips out to the temples should cost about ¥15 from the city center.

By foot or bike

Much of Chengde is accessible by foot or bike. One can walk from one end of the city to the other in an hour.

Eat

Donkey-Rolling Roll is a long roll with stuffing wrapped in yellow rice. The Roll is served on a bed of yellow beans. The act of turning the roll on the yellow beans is just like a donkey rolling on the ground. That is how the snack got its name. It could be found in Chengde more than 200 years ago. Generally, less than ¥100 for a large plate (in Chengde restaurants, there are always large and small plates; the large plate is about ten inches wide and the small one seven inches wide).

You noodle is a kind of coarse food grain. It is slightly dark colored. The local You noodle wozi dough is first rolled out to a thin skin, and then formed to its final shape. After that, it is put into a pot and braised. You dip it in the sauce when eating. It feels smooth and jelly-like in your mouth. You noodle jiaozi is a kind of ravioli stuffed with pickled vegetables.

Pubang deer meat clusters and the cooked deer meat clusters are quite tasty, and cost only ¥4-5 for each cluster. They are well worth trying. In the street south of the Summer Resort, there are many shops featuring local specialities which cater to tourists.

In the evening, you will find mini-booths selling tangy scented baked corn along Chengde Street.

Individual restaurants worth giving a try includes:

  • Daqinghua Dumpling Restaurant (大清花). This restaurant is a favorite among foreigners and Chinese alike. There are three locations in the city: Train Station, Summer Mountain Resort, and City Center (on the small street behind the two-story KFC). The menu varies slightly between branches: the City Center location has an excellent menu (in English and Chinese, with colour photos). Try the dumplings, they are unique to this restaurant.  edit

Get out

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