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Kaifeng
—  Prefecture-level city  —
Chinese transcription(s)
 - Chinese 开封
 - Pinyin Kāifēng
Kaifeng in Henan
Kaifeng is located in China
Kaifeng
Location in China
Coordinates: 34°47′28″N 114°20′53″E / 34.79111°N 114.34806°E / 34.79111; 114.34806Coordinates: 34°47′28″N 114°20′53″E / 34.79111°N 114.34806°E / 34.79111; 114.34806
Country China
Province Henan
Area
 - Total 6,444 km2 (2,488 sq mi)
Population
 - Total 4,800,000
 - Density 744.9/km2 (1,929.2/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Area code(s) 378
GDP ¥7,250 per capita (2004)
Major Nationalities Han, Hui
County-level divisions 10
Township-level divisions unknown
Website http://www.kaifeng.gov.cn

Kaifeng (simplified Chinese: 开封traditional Chinese: 開封pinyin: KāifēngWade-Giles: K'ai-feng; Postal map spelling: Kaifeng), formerly known as Bianliang (Chinese: 汴梁 or 汴樑pinyin: Biànliáng), Bianjing (Chinese: 汴京pinyin: Biànjīng), Daliang (Chinese: 大梁 or 大樑pinyin: Dàliáng), or simply Liang (Chinese: 梁 or 樑pinyin: Liáng), is a prefecture-level city in eastern Henan province, People's Republic of China. Located along the southern bank of the Yellow River, it borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the west, Xinxiang to the northwest, Shangqiu to the east, Zhoukou to the southeast, Xuchang to the southwest, and the province of Shandong to the northeast.

Contents

Administration

The prefecture-level city of Kaifeng administers 5 districts and 5 counties.

History

Kaifeng is one of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China. Like Beijing, there are many reconstructions.[1]

In 364 BC, the state of Wei during the Warring States Period founded a city called Daliang as its capital in this area. During this period, the first of many canals in the area was constructed; it linked a local river to the Huang He. When the State of Wei was conquered by the Qin, Kaifeng was destroyed and abandoned except for a mid-sized market town, which remained in its place.

Early in the 7th century, Kaifeng was transformed into a major commercial hub when it was connected to the Grand Canal as well as a canal running to western Shandong Province.

In 781 (Tang Dynasty), a new city was reconstructed and named Bian (汴). Bian was the capital of the Later Jin (936-946), Later Han (947-950), and Later Zhou (951-960) of the Five Dynasties Period. The Song Dynasty made Bian its capital when it overthrew the Later Zhou in 960, and shortly afterward, they further expanded the city.

During the Song Dynasty, called Dongjing or Bianjing then, Kaifeng was the capital with a population of over 400,000, living both inside and outside the city wall. Typhus was an acute problem of the city.

In 1049, Youguosi Pagoda (佑國寺塔), or Iron Pagoda (鐵塔) as it is called today, was constructed, which measures 54.7 m in height. It has survived the destruction of wars and floodings and become the oldest landmark in this ancient city. Another Song Dynasty pagoda, Bo Ta (繁塔), from 974, has been partially destroyed.

The famous painting Qingming Scroll is believed by some to portray daily life in Kaifeng. The painting, of which several versions are extant (the above is an 18th century remake), is attributed to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) artist Zhang Zeduan.
Games in the Jinming Pool, a late 11th or early 12th century painting depicting Kaifeng, by Zhang Zerui.
The Iron Pagoda of Kaifeng
Earth Market Street, Kaifeng, 1910. The synagogue of the Kaifeng Jews lay beyond the row of stores on the right

Another well-known sight was the astronomical clock tower of the engineer, scientist, and statesman Su Song (1020-1101 AD). It was crowned with a rotating armillary sphere that was hydraulic-powered (i.e. by waterwheel and clepsydra clock), yet it incorporated an escapement mechanism two hundred years before they were found in clockworks of Europe, and featured the first known endless power-transmitting chain drive.

Kaifeng reached its peak of importance in the 11th century, when it was a commercial and industrial center at the intersection of four major canals. During this time, the city was surrounded by three rings of city walls and probably had a population of 600,000 to 700,000.

It is believed that Kaifeng was the largest city in the world from 1013 to 1127. [1]

This period ended in 1127, when the city fell to Jurchen invaders (see Jingkang Incident) and came subsequently under the rule of the Jin Dynasty. While it remained an important administrative center, only the city area inside the inner city wall of the early Song Dynasty remained settled and the two outer rings were abandoned.

One major problem associated with Kaifeng as the Imperial capital of the Song Dynasty was its location. While it was conveniently situated along the Grand Canal for logistic supply, Kaifeng was militarily vulnerable due to its position on the flood plains of the Yellow River.

Kaifeng served as the Jurchen's "southern capital" from 1157 (other sources say 1161) and was reconstructed during this time.[2][3] But they kept their main capital further north, until 1214, when they were forced to move the imperial court southwards to Kaifeng in order to flee the Mongol onslaught. In 1234 they succumbed to combined Mongol and Song Dynasty forces. Mongols took control, and in 1279 they conquered all of China.

At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, Kaifeng was made the capital of Henan Province.

In 1642, Kaifeng was flooded by the Ming army with water from Yellow River to prevent the peasant rebel Li Zicheng from taking over. After this disaster, the city was abandoned again.

Under the celebrated Qing emperor Kangxi (1662), Kaifeng was rebuilt. However, another flooding occurred in 1841, followed by another reconstruction in 1843, which produced the contemporary Kaifeng as we know it.

Kaifeng is also known for having the oldest extant Jewish community in China, the Kaifeng Jews.

It was here, too, that in 1969, the former Chairman of the People's Republic of China Liu Shaoqi, died in prison from medical neglect.

Transportation

Culture

Kaifeng offers a wide range of food specialities such as steaming pie and Chinese dumplings. In the evening, Kaifeng's streets turn into restaurants while hundreds open their stands and begin selling their food in the famous night market. Often people from the nearby Zhengzhou come to Kaifeng to spend an evening with their family as the atmosphere is very appealing. Less adventurous Western tourists may prefer to eat inside the restaurants and just have their drinks outside because they might not want to try chicken feet, pork feet or bucks. Particularly famous is Kaifeng's five-spice bread (wǔxiāng shāobǐng), which, like pita, can be opened and filled.

International relations

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Twin towns — Sister cities

Kaifeng is twinned with:

Colleges and universities

Public

  • Henan University (河南大学) (founded 1912)
  • Kaifeng University (开封大学) (founded 1980)
  • Kaifeng High School (开封高中) (founded 1902)
  • Ma Si Guang University (马思光大学) (founded 1988)

See also

Further reading

  • Cotterell, Arthur. (2007). The Imperial Capitals of China - An Inside View of the Celestial Empire. London: Pimlico. pp. 304 pages.. ISBN 9781845950095.  

References

External links

Preceded by
Chang'an
Capital of China (as Kaifeng)
960-1127
Succeeded by
Lin'an

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kaifeng (开封; Kāifēng) is on the southern bank of the Yellow River in northern Henan Province.

Understand

The city was the capital of China during several dynasties, and was visited by Marco Polo. Around 1,000 years ago, when it was the capital of the Song dynasty, Kaifeng was the most prosperous and busy city in China, even in the world.

Countless expats immigrated right here and lived their whole lives, especially Arabians and Persians, who afterwards formed a new ethnic group in China, named Hui (回族). Also jews settled in Kaifeng in the Bible Hutong (教经胡同; Jiaojing Hutong), still visited by tourists from israel.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is in Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport (FTAT Code:CGO), an hour away and a ¥160 taxi ride. An alternative way from the airport to Kaifeng is to take a shuttle bus from just outside the arrival gate to Civil Aviation Hotel (民航大酒店)in Jinshui Road (¥15), then walk east for around 20 minutes to the mini bus station Deyi Bus Station (德亿汽车站) from where you can take a bus to near Kaifeng Railway Staion (¥7).

By train

Kaifeng is on the Shanghai-Xi'an line. Hard seat tickets may be difficult to obtain but next day (or even same day) hard-sleeper tickets (from Shanghai, 12 hours, ¥216; from Xi'an, 7 hours, ¥140) are readily available outside peak periods. The train from Zhengzhou is around 45 minutes and costs ¥11-19.

By bus

There are buses to Kaifeng from other places in Henan, including from Zhengzhou Long-Distrance Bus Station and Luoyang Long Distance Bus Station.

Get around

By taxi

Taxis are ¥5 for the first 3km and ¥1 for each additional kilometer. Rides within the city will not exceed ¥10.

By bus

Local buses go everywhere within the city and cost ¥1. Bus 20 is a sightseeing bus going to all the major sights.

By rickshaw

One very good way to get around Kaifeng and see the sites is to take what the locals call "bengbeng"; essentially a tuktuk or motorised rickshaw. 6 kuai will take you from the train station to Henan University's old campus, essentially the length of the city. Short trips should be two or three kuai.

  • Daxiangguo Temple (大相国寺; Dàxiāngguó; lit. Temple of the Chief Minister), Ziyou Road (Bus 9 or 20). This temple was first built AD555 during the Qi Dynasty with new buildings added in 1661 and 1766. The entire complex has 64 temples but the three main halls are of the greatest interest. The large rectangular Tathagata Hall (Daxiongbaodian) is where monks perform daily chanting rituals in front of three huge Buddhas. In the middle is an impressive bronze Sakyamuni, left is Amitabha and right is the Medicine Buddha, each with a silk hood surrounding their head. At the back of the three Buddhas is a Goddess of Mercy standing on a dragon's head and flanked by a various golden figures. Rising behind them to the roof are a multitude of heavenly figures supported on clouds. Along the side are sculptures of some peculiar looking Arhats; look for the one with an abnormally long arm reaching almost to the roof. The octagonal Arhat Hall (Louhandian) is beautifully constructed with upturned eaves and painted roof beams. The hall houses a four-sided golden Avalokitesavara said to be carved from a single tree. She has six main arms, one set holding aloft a Buddha and 1000 other arms radiating outward with an eye in each palm. The rear Tripitaka Hall has two floors, the upper holding sutras and the lower a white Burmese jade Buddha in the Burmese style and a glass replica of the Emerald Buddha in Thailand’s Grand Palace. Unfortunately, all halls have a No Photo policy. ¥30.  edit
  • Baogong Memorial Temple, (At the bank of Baogong Lake, buses 1 and 20). 8AM-5:30PM. Temple built to honor Lord Bao. ¥20.  edit
  • Yanqing Taoist Temple, Western end of Dazhifang Street. A small temple containing a two-story pagoda with a beautiful blue glazed tile balcony and painted carvings on the front gate. It appeared to be closed for restoration at last visit. (02/09) ¥15.  edit
  • Shudian Jie (Bookstore Street). Running north from Gulou Square this busy street is lined with a mix of old wooden and newer concrete buildings in various styles. Originally called Big Store Street in the Ming Dynasty it was renamed Bookstore Street in the Qing Dynasty when it became the center for shops selling books, paper and pens. Carved doors, shuttered windows and painted roof beams peek out from between oversized billboards but there is still plenty of facade remaining visible to give a feeling of the old street.  edit
  • Dragon Pavilion, Northern end of Zhongshan Road. The area around Dragon Pavilion was the site if the Ming dynasty palace of Prince Zhou. At the southern end of the street leading to Dragon Pavilion stands a reconstructed Wu gate. The remainder of the street is lined with many old buildings. In the late Ming period the palace was destroyed by floods, leaving only the foundations buried 5m under modern Kaifeng, however the city walls were later built along the same axis. A long bridge divides Yangjia Lake leading to the pavilion itself. Much the same views of the pavilion and lake can be seen by walking around the right side of the lake (without buying a ticket) as from inside the park. ¥35.  edit
  • Iron Pagoda, Next to North Gate on Jiefeng Road. Built in 1049 the 13 story octagonal pagoda is said to be the most famous pagoda in China. It got its name in Yuan Dynasty due the brown glazed tile covering its exterior giving the appearance of iron. It is still in good condition and can be climbed using the internal stairs. There is a Buddhist temple located near the pagoda. ¥20.  edit
  • The city wall. Surrounding the city is the old city walls punctuated at various points with gates. Of most interest are the North gate and Little South gate on either end of Jiefeng Road that resemble the arched gates in Xi'an. The other gates are merely gaps in the wall.  edit
  • Kaifengfujian Street (Kaifeng Tourist Theme Park). Set on the edge of Baogong Lake this new construction is supposed to be a recreation of old Kaifeng and is of little interest unless you are into hourly parades of people dressed up like Song dynasty officials. ¥50.  edit
  • Banjiang Park, Next to Xinkai Gate. Just outside the city walls at XinKai Gate, a large statue of a heroic looking Mao fronts this unremarkable park. Inside are various gardens, statues and a rusting ferris wheel. ¥10.  edit
  • Millennium City Park (清明上河园; Qīngmíngshàngyuán), 5 Longting West Road, Longting District (龙亭区龙亭西路5号; Lóng​tíng​qū​ Lóng​tíng​xī​lù​) (Bus 1, 15, 20), +86 378 5663819, [1]. 9AM-10PM. This park is based on a Song Dynasty painting called Going Upriver for Qingming Festival. It illustrates Song Dynasty daily life, shops and workshops. The origianl painting can be seen the Forbidden City in Beijing. Copies can be bought in the park. ¥80.  edit
  • Cooking Museum, (On the West Gate).  edit
  • Kaifeng Museum (开封博物馆; Kāifēngguǎn), 26 Yingbin Road (迎宾路26号; Yíng​bīn​lù​) (Next to Baogong Lake, bus 1, 4 or 9), +86 378 3933624 (), [2]. Tu-Su 8:30AM-11:30AM, 2PM-5PM. Exhibits on Kaifeng's history in first half of 1900s as well as Kaifeng's period as capital of Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). ¥10.  edit
  • Walk inside the wall. Take a walk along the inside of the wall between Xinkai Gate and Song Gate to see houses made from bricks scavenged from the wall.  edit
  • Chrysanthemum Festival. Each autumn.  edit
  • Yellow River, (Besides taxis, there is a city bus which leaves from near the Iron Pagoda park).  edit
  • Embroidery — dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty
  • Fighting Kites
  • New Year Posters — originally made in nearby Zhuxianzhen and dates back to the Tang Dynasty, shows rural scenes with persons from famous legends.
  • Watermelon — the local watermelons are considered especially tasty
  • Spiced Bean Curd — the local tradition for spiced bean curd dates back at least 2000 years
  • Peanut Cake — has been made here for more than 1000 years
  • Shidun Street Market. Great varity of products for sale including clothes, cosmetics and kitchenware.  edit
  • Daxiangguo Temple Market, Ziyou Road (Just outside Daxiangguo Temple). The largest market in town, offering clothes, electronics and much other.  edit
  • Song Street. Tourist shops selling souvenirs.  edit
  • Sihou Street. The main shopping street in town.  edit
  • Renmin Department Store, 23 Madao street. State owned department store offering clothes and much other.  edit
  • Kaifeng City Antiques Store, Zhongshan Street.  edit

Eat

Budget

You will find a lot of snack stands around, which include Sandao (made of flour, bee honey, sugar and stuff), peanut cake, sesame cake etc. There are also many other cheap options.

  • Night Market, Gulou Square (Gulou Guangchang) (In the center of the city). Wonderful selection of foods.  edit
  • Simen (四门儿). This is one of the many Muslim restaurants in the city. The mutton soup is just perfectly boiled, try it for breakfast during the winter.  edit
  • Diyilou Restaurant. A famous place to get the Kaifeng specialty, baozi, in best quality. These baozi contains soup, so be careful when eating them.  edit
  • Nanyangshi (南羊市), (Opposite No. 7 Middle School). Serves hula soup, which is the main choice of breakfast for the locals (other similar food stands are almost everywhere). They only serve in the morning time should it be sunny.  edit
  • No. 3 Chemical Factory (化三). This food might make you guys feel weird, but it is highly recommended. This is a donkey meat soup shop. Buy it, sit there, close your eyes if you really doubt its taste, and eat! Do not worry, the bosses of the soup shop and the chemical factory do not know each other.  edit
  • Youyixin Restaurant, 23 Drum Tower street, +86 378 2552888. Serves traditional local food.  edit

Drink

Taiwan style milk tea stands in Bookstore Street (Shudian Jie).

  • Hangtian Night Club. Karaoke, disco and billards.  edit
  • Zuitaibei, Drum Tower Square, +86 378 5251619. Soft music and dance.  edit
  • Dajintai Binguan, Gulou Jie. Located in the large gray-brick building with red lanterns hanging along the front. Friendly English speaking staff and comfortable rooms make it the ideal budget place. Rooms look a bit run down but are clean and the central heating is very welcome in the winter. The attached ‘business center’ is very useful for photocopying (¥0.5 per page) and email (¥3 p/hour) Dorm ¥60 with free breakfast.  edit
  • Jin Xue Hotel. A few doors south of the PSB on ZhongShan Lu. This new hotel is no-frills, but comfortable. Standard ¥80-¥98.  edit
  • Bai Yun Hotel, 101 South Zhongshan Road, 0378-5968568. Jason "The Rickshaw man" negotiated 100RMB for me. Located in the center of the city. Walking distance to the night market.  edit
  • New Century Grand Hotel Kaifeng (开封开元名都大酒店), 开发区大梁路人民检察院对面, +86 378 3399999 (fax: +86 378 3398888). Five star hotel with rooms with free internet. Listed rates for doubles ¥1,280-2,280, inluding breakfast.  edit

Get out

Small town with mainly Karaoke Bar and restaurant to hang out. You can get a taxi ride to the "Huang He" (Yellow River) which is quite near from Kaifeng.

By train or bus, the bus station is across the street from the train Station.

Routes through Kaifeng
XianZhengzhou  W noframe E  XuzhouLianyungang
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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