About Us | Contact Us | Feedback
Powered by a China travel agency - Easy Tour China Tel: +86-773-3810160
Home > Destinations > Hunan > Changsha

Changsha

Changsha 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. It covers an area of 11,819 sq. kilometers and has a population of 6,017,600 (2003 population census).

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.

History
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 Also found in the tomb were the earliest versions of Dao De Jing (道德经), the main text of Taoism, among many other historical documents.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  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.

1938 Changsha FireMao 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 - 1945), 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 1938-1939.

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.

Geography and Climate
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 has a monsoon climate within the sub-tropical zone, 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 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.

Cultural Life
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).

In May 2008, the BBC broadcast, as part of its Storyville documentary series, the four-part The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World, a study of animal cruelty at the 5000-seat capacity West Lake Restaurant (Xihu Lou Jiujia) which tortures and violates animals, located in Changsha.

Questions & Comments

  • David Zhao

    Dear Judy ong, our travel spcicialists had responed you via email, hope you're satisfied with their travel tips and the tentative tour itineary.

  • judy ong

    Hi there, We will be in Changsha from 18-20 Jan. Can you arrange a private tour for me and my 2 kids (age 10 & 5)? We will be arranging our own acommodation. Since we hv not bought our return ticket, we are open for a 3 or 4 day tour, depending on what's interesting in changsha & its surrounding areas. thanks.

Name (* required)
Mail (will not be published) (* required)

在线客服