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Home > Destinations > Guangxi > Nanning


Nanning is the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. It is known as the "Green City" because of its abundance of lush tropical foliage.

A county seat was first established at the site in AD 318; called Jinxing, it also became the administrative seat of a commandery. Nanning was once the territory of the Baiyue people and became the capital of Jinxing Prefecture separated from Yulin Prefecture of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. It was the first time for Nanning to be the seat of a county and a prefecture, which marked the beginning of the founding of its administrative division.

In 589 the commandery was suppressed, and the county was renamed Xuanhua. Under the Tang dynasty (618 - 907) the prefecture of Yong (Yongzhou) was established there; it was garrisoned to control the non-Chinese districts in Guangxi and on the Yunnan - Guizhou provincial border. In the mid-9th century the Tang and the Yunnan state of Nanzhao fought over it, and after 861 it was briefly occupied by Nanzhao. It remained a frontier prefecture throughout the Song dynasty (960 - 1279), being the scene of a rebellion led by Nong Zhigao in 1052 and thereafter a garrison town.

In the Yuan Dynasty in 1324, it was renamed as Nanning Lu (an administrative division) from Yongzhou Lu meaning "May peace maintain in the southern frontier", hence the name Nanning. In its history, Nanning was famous for business trade, which had had permanent business offices from other areas in China since the Song Dynasty.

Under the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) dynasties, it was a superior prefecture, Nanning. In the Ming Dynasty Nanning developed into the commodity distributing center of the Zuojiang River and the Youjiang River with the reputation of "Little Nanjing".

Opened to foreign trade by the Chinese in 1907, it grew rapidly. From 1912 to 1936 it was the provincial capital of Guangxi, replacing Guilin in 1914.

Early in the 20th century the city spilled over from the old walled city into a southern suburban area. In the 1930s Nanning became the centre of a "model provincial government" under the warlord Li Zongren, and a spacious modern city was laid out. During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 - 45), Nanning was temporarily occupied in 1940 by the Japanese. It subsequently became an important U.S. air base supporting the Chinese armies in Guangxi, but during 1944 - 45 it was again under Japanese occupation.

In 1949 Nanning again became the provincial capital, first of Guangxi province and then (1958) of the Zhuang autonomous region of Guangxi, which replaced it. Until then Nanning had essentially been a commercial center dependent on Guangzhou and on the Xi River system. In the late 1930s a railway was begun, joining Hengyang in southern Hunan province with Guilin, Liuzhou, Nanning, and the Vietnam border, while another was begun from Liuzhou to Guiyang in Guizhou. The construction of the Nanning section of this line was halted in 1940 by the Japanese advances, however, and was not completed until 1951, after which Nanning was directly linked with central China; completion of a branch line to the port of Zhanjiang (in Guangdong) in 1957 gave it a direct outlet to the sea. During the French war in Indochina (1946 - 54), Nanning was the chief support base in China for the Vietnamese forces, and during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and early 1970s it again became a staging post for the sending of supplies southward to North Vietnam. It was also an important military supply center during the Sino-Vietnam confrontation in 1979.

Formerly an essentially commercial and administrative center, Nanning from 1949 experienced industrial growth. The city is surrounded by a fertile agricultural region producing subtropical fruits and sugarcane; food processing, flour milling, sugar refining, meatpacking, and leather manufacture are important in the city. Nanning has been a center for printing and paper manufacture, and it is also important in heavy industry.

After the recognition of the Zhuang ethnic minority in 1958, Nanning became the chief center for the training of Zhuang leaders. Guangxi University, a large medical school, and a school of agriculture all date from the 1920s.

Nanning served as host for annual China-ASEAN EXPO (CASEAN EXPO) in 2005 and as the venue for the 2006 "World Robotics Olympiad".

Nanning is located in the southern part of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 160 km from the border with Vietnam. It has an area of 22,293 square kilometers.

The city is located on the north bank of the Yong River, the chief southern tributary of the Xi River, and lies some 30 km below the confluence of the Yu and the Zuo rivers. The Yong River (which later becomes the Yu River) affords a good route to Guangzhou and is navigable by shallow-draft junks and motor launches, even though it is obstructed by rapids and sandbanks.

Nanning is situated in a hilly basin with elevations between 70 and 500 m above sea-level. Qingxiu Mountain dominates the southern part of town.

Nanning's climate is sub-tropical and monsoonal and it is sometimes warm in winters as well as summers. Average temperature is 21.7°C. It is often windy or breezy and very rainy, with more than 1300 mm of precipitation annually. It is also frost-free for all but 3 or 4 days a year and never snows. Summers are hot and humid with 33°C average highs in July and August. Winters are humid and chilly with 10°C average lows in January.


Nanning is home of the 21st tallest building in the People's Republic of China, the Diwang International Commerce Center (276 meters), it is currently the tallest building in Guangxi and southwestern China (excluding Chongqing). The second tallest building in Nanning is the World Trade Commerce City standing at 218 meters. The city currently has seven buildings taller than 100 meters, built or under construction. Nanning has many parks with tropical lush green landscape, it is one of the "greenest" cities in China, and it's known as "Green City"(绿城). Nanning's downtown skyline is rapidly changing and the city is becoming an important hub in China.

Nanning is the center of science and technology, education, culture and sanitation in Guangxi Province. There are altogether 54 scientific research institutes subordinate to districts. 10 colleges and 50 trade schools are training specialty personnel of all kinds for society. Now there are 62 mass cultural organizations, 13 performing groups, 8 cinemas, 285 projecting units, over 70 karaoke halls and over 1000 newsstands. Bookshops and cultural markets can be found everywhere.

Nanning has not only food in Guangxi cuisine but also food of any dish or cuisine home and abroad. There are traditional food cultures around every street in Nanning. The food of Nanning shares the elite of Cantonese food and exoticness of that of Southeast Asia and is defined by freshness, tenderness, tastiness and creaminess and nutrition, flexible with seasons and rich in food material selection. There are cuisines of Guangdong, Sichuan, Hunan and Jiangsu and flavor of Japan, Thailand and the West.

Rice noodles are very popular among the people live in Nanning. Laoyou rice noodles is the most famous. There are many kinds of Rice noodles offered by restaurants on the street, like Guilin rice noodles and Manual rice noodles.

Nanning is the jumping off point for scenic Guilin, with its world famous hill-scape, northern and western Guangxi and its minority villages, and the border with Vietnam in the south.

In 1998 alone, the city received 26,260 overseas tourists, earning foreign exchange totaling US$7.0663 million, some 5.01 percent of the city's total income. An addition of 6.89 million domestic visitors brought RMB 3.23 billion yuan into the city, some 19.95 percent of the total. Such achievements made Nanning the second place in the whole region in that year.

The major tourist attractions in Nanning
Qingxiu Mountains Landscape (a park at provincial level)
Guangxi Museum
Guangxi Medicinal Botanical Garden
Liangfengjiang River Scenic Spot (a state forest reserve)
Phoenix Lake Holiday Site
Minorities Cultural Relics Center
Western Suburbs Zoo (including the country's largest Crocodile, Elephant,and Hippopotamus Enclosure)
Golden Scented-Tea Park (the country's largest base for golden scented tea seeds)
The Ruins of the Battlefield of Kunlunguan
Yangmei Ancient Town
Lingshui Hot Spring (a large constant hot spring)
Mingxiu Park
Daming Muntain
The Beiqiu ruins of Dingshishan Mountain (one of 1997's 10 Greatest Archaeological Discoveries in China.)

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