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Chengdu

Chengdu, located in southwest of China, is the capital of Sichuan Province and a sub-provincial city. Chengdu is also one of the most important economic centers, transportation and communication hubs in Southwestern China.

Sites of Interest
The Qingyang Palace
Wuhou Temple
The Xiling Snow Mountain
Chengdu Giant Panda Base
Dufu's Thatched Cottage
Mount Emei
Leshan Giant Buddha
Mount Qingcheng
Dujiang Weir
Bamboo Sea in Southern Sichuan
Bifengxia Panda Base
Chengdu Zoo

Langzhong Ancient City
Wolong Nature Reserve
Jianmen Pass

Daocheng - Yadding
Jiuzhaigou Valley

More than four thousand years ago, the prehistorical Bronze Age culture of Jinsha established itself in this region. The fertile Chengdu Plain, on which Chengdu is located, is called "Tianfuzhiguo" in Chinese, which literally means "the country of heaven", or more often seen translated as "the Land of Abundance". It was recently named China's 4th-most livable city by China Daily.

History
In the early 4th century BC, the 9th Kaiming king of the ancient Shu moved his capital to the city's current location from today's nearby Pixian. He was said to have been inspired by the ancient story of King Tai of Zhou, Grandfather of King Wu of Zhou, moving his capital. History recorded King Tai of Zhou's move as "it took a year to become a town; it took three years to become a capital". Following this, the king of Shu named the new city as "Cheng Du", which means "become a capital" (In Chinese, the word "cheng" means "become", "du" means "capital"). There are, however, several versions of why the capital was moved to Chengdu, and more recent theories of the name's origin point to it as stemming from, or referring to, earlier non-Han inhabitants and/or their languages.

After the conquest of Shu by the State of Qin in 316 BC, a new city was founded by the Qin general Zhang Yi (who as a matter of fact had argued against the invasion). This can be seen as the beginning of the Chinese Chengdu. It was renamed Yizhou during the Han Dynasty.

During the partition following the fall of the Eastern Han Dynasty, i.e. the era of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei founded the southwest kingdom of Shu-Han (221-263) with Chengdu as its capital.

During the Tang Dynasty, both the "Poet God"  Libai and the "Poet Sage" Dufu spent some part of their lives in Chengdu. Du Fu constructed the celebrated "Caotáng" (thatched cottage or grass-hut) in the second year of his four-years stay (759-762). But today's Caotang, a rather sumptuous house in the traditional style, was only constructed in 1078 in memory of Du Fu. As early as the Tang dynasty more than 1,200 years ago, Chengdu became one of the foremost commercial cities in China, second to only Yangzhou.

Chengdu was also the birthplace of the first widely used paper money in the world (Northern Song Dynasty, around A.D. 960). The Qingyang Gong Taoist temple was built in Chengdu in the ninth century, meaning "Green Goat".

Two rebel leaders, one around the end of Song Dynasty, the other near the end of Ming Dynasty, set up the capitals of their short-lived kingdoms here, called Dàshu and Dàxi, respectively.

During the Second World War the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) government under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek fled to Sichuan Province to escape the invading Japanese forces. They brought with them businesspeople, workers and academics, who founded many of the industries and cultural institutions which continue to make Chengdu an important center.

In 1944 the American Bomber Command launched Operation Matterhorn, an ambitious plan to base B-29 Superfortresses at Chengdu and strategically bomb the Japanese Home Islands. Because the operation required a massive airlift of fuel and supplies over the Himalayas, it was not a significant military success, but it did earn Chengdu the distinction of launching the first serious retaliation against the Japanese homeland.

During the Chinese Civil War, Chengdu was the last city on the Chinese mainland to be held by the Kuomintang-controlled government. R.O.C. President Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo directed the defence of the city at Chengdu Central Military Academy until 1949, when the city fell into Communist hands. The People's Liberation Army took the city on December 10 and the remnants of the Nationalist Chinese government fled to Taiwan.

Today the industrial base is very broad, including light and heavy manufacturing, aluminum smelting and chemicals. The textile industry remains important, with cotton and wool milling added to the traditional manufacturing of silk brocade and satin.

Today it is the headquarters of the Chengdu Military Region. On May 12, 2008, a 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck causing damage to the area, killing about 80,000 people and injuring 26,413 in the area as of May 24, 2008. 4,021 of the casualties and most of the property damage were from Dujiangyan and Pengzhou, two suburban cities of Chengdu. While 75 kilometers (48 miles) from the epicenter, the urban area did not suffer any discernible damage..

Geography and climate
Chengdu has a humid subtropical climate and is largely mild and humid. Chengdu is situated at the western edge of the Sichuan Basin and is therefore sheltered from northwest winds from Siberia in winter by the Qinling Mountains to the north; the short winter is milder than in the Lower Yangtze because of the sheltering effect of the Qinling. Snow is rare but there are a few periods of frost each winter. The summer is longer, but not as hot as in the "Three Furnaces" cities of Wuhan, Nanjing, and Chongqing in the Lower Yangtze. The average daytime high in July and August is 29°C, with afternoon highs sometimes reaching 33°C or higher. The average low in January is 3°C, with lows sometimes dropping below freezing. Rainfall is common year-round but peaks in July and August.


Culture and Folklore
The native language in Chengdu is Sichuanese (Sichuanhua), otherwise referred as Sichuan dialect. More precisely, "Chengdu Dialect" is widely used in lieu of "Sichuanese" due to the largely different accents of Sichuanese speakers residing elsewhere.

People from Chengdu (or Sichuan, in general) tend to eat spicy food. Local specialties include Grandma Chen's Tofu (Mapo doufu), Chengdu Hot pot, and Dan Dan Mien (literally meaning, "Noodles carried on a pole" (Dan Dan Noodles). All three dishes are spicy. Mapo Doufu and Dan Dan Mien contain Sichuan peppers (huājiāo; literally "flower pepper") to give them additional flavor.

An article by the Los Angeles Times (2006) called Chengdu "China's party city" for its carefree lifestyle. Chengdu outnumbers Shanghai in the number of tea houses and bars despite having less than half the population. The inhabitants have a reputation in China for having a laid-back attitude and for knowing how to enjoy life.


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