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Yangzhou

Yangzhou (Yang-chou, Yangchow; literally "Rising Prefecture") is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu Province of China. Sitting on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, it borders the provincial capital of Nanjing to the southwest, Huai'an to the north, Yancheng to the northeast, Taizhou to the east, and Zhenjiang across the river to the south.

History
The first settlement in the Yangzhou area, called Guangling (Kuang-Ling) was founded in the Spring and Autumn Period. After the defeat of Yue by King Fuchai of Wu a garrison city was built 12 m above water level on the northern bank of the Yangtze River c 485 BCE. This city in the shape of a 3×3 li square was called Hancheng. The newly created Han canal formed a moat around the south and east sides of the city. The purpose of Hancheng was to protect Suzhou from naval invasion from the Qi. In 590 AD, the city began to be called Yangzhou, which was the traditional name of what was then the entire southeastern part of China.

Under the 2nd Emperor Yangdi (604-617) of the Sui Dynasty (581-617), was the southern capital of China and called Jiangdu upon the completion of the Jinghang (Grand) Canal until the fall of the Dynasty. It has been a leading economic and cultural center and major port of foreign trade and external exchange since the Tang Dynasty (618-907). There lived many Arab and Persian merchants, but they were massacred in 760 AD during the An Shi Rebellion (Perkins).

The city, still known as Guangling, was briefly made the capital of the Wu Kingdom during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period.

In 1280 AD, Yangzhou was the site of a massive gunpowder explosion when the bomb store of the Weiyang arsenal had caught fire accidentally. This blast killed over a hundred guards, launched debris of the buildings into the air that landed 10 li away from the site of the explosion, and could be felt 100 li away as tiles on roofs shook (refer to gunpowder article).

1342 tomb of Katarina Vilioni, member of an Italian trading family in Yangzhou.Marco Polo served there under the Mongol emperor Kubilai Khan in the period around 1282-1287 (to 1285, according to Perkins). Although some versions of Polo's memoirs imply that he was the governor of Yangzhou, it is more likely that he was an official in the salt industry. The discovery of the 1342 tomb of Katarina Vilioni, member of an Italian trading family in Yangzhou, suggests the existence of a thriving Italian community in the city in the 14th century.

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) - and, in fact, until the 19th century - Yangzhou acted as a major trade exchange center for salt (a government regulated commodity), rice, and silk. The Ming are largely responsible for building the city as it now stands and surrounding it with 9 km of walls.

After the fall of Beijing and northern China to the Manchus in 1644, Yangzhou remained under the control of the short-lived Ming loyalist government of the so-called Hongguang Emperor, based in Nanjing. The Qing forces, led by Prince Dodo, reached Yangzhou in the spring of 1645, and despite the heroic efforts of its chief defender, Shi Kefa, the city fell on May 20, 1645, after a brief siege. A ten-day massacre followed, in which, as it was traditionally alleged, 800,000 people died. Shi Kefa himself was killed by the Manchus as well, after he refused to switch his allegiance to the Qing regime.

The Yangzhou riot in 1868 was a pivotal moment of Anglo-Chinese relations during the late Qing Dynasty that almost led to war.[4] The crisis was fomented by the gentry of the city who opposed the presence of foreign Christian missionaries there. The riot that resulted was an angry crowd estimated at eight to ten thousand who assaulted the premises of the British China Inland Mission in Yangzhou by looting, burning and attacking the missionaries led by Hudson Taylor. No one was killed, however several of the missionaries were injured as they were forced to flee for their lives. As a result of the report of the riot, the British consul in Shanghai, Sir Walter Henry Medhurst took seventy Royal marines in a Man of war and steamed up the Yangtze to Nanjing in a controversial show of force that eventually resulted in an official apology from Viceroy Zeng Guofan and financial restitution made to the injured missionaries.

From the time of the Taiping Rebellion (1853) to the end of the Communist revolution (1949) Yangzhou was in decline, due to war damage and neglect of the Jinghang Canal as railways replaced it in importance; unfortunately, initial plans for railways connecting Yangzhou were deemed to be unimportant, and its status as the leading economic centre of China declined rapidly into a city of little importance. With the canal now partially restored, Yangzhou is once again an important transportation and market center. It also has some industrial output, chiefly in cotton and textiles. In 2004, a railway linked Yangzhou for the first time with Nanjing.

Geography and Climate
Rivers: the Yangtze River, Jinghang Canal, Baoshe River, Datong River, Beichengzi River, Tongyang Canal, Xintongyang Canal, Baima Lake, Baoying Lake, Gaoyou Lake, Shaobo Lake.

Local landscape: Slender west lake, Ge garden, He garden, Da ming temple, Phoenix island, etc. Subtropical monsoon climate with humid changeable wind; longer winters for about 4 months, summers 3 months and shorter springs and autumns, 2 months respectively; frost-free period of 222 days and annual average sunshine of 2177 hours. Average temperature: 15 °C annually; the hottest in July of 27.6 °C and the coldest in January of 1.7 °C; maximum temperature of 39.8 °C and minimum -19 °C

The annual average precipitation is 1,030 mm, and about 45 percent of rainfall is concentrated in the summer. The rainy season known as "plum rain season" usually lasts from mid-June to late July. During this season, the plums are ripening, hence the name plum rain.

Cuisine
Yangzhou dishes may be one of the reasons why the people of Yangzhou are so infatuated with their city. They have an appealing color, aroma, taste and also appearance. The original color of each ingredient is preserved after cooking, and no oily sauce is added, so as to retain the fresh savor of the food.

In Yangzhou all dishes, whether cheap or expensive, are elaborate. Cooks will not scrimp on their work, even with Zhugansi (stewed sliced dry bean curd), a popular dish that costs only a few yuan. Dry bean curd is made by each restaurant that serves it, so the flavor is guaranteed. The cook slices the 1-cm-thick curd into 30 shreds, each one paper-thin but none broken, and then stews them for hours with chopped bamboo shoots and shelled shrimps in chicken soup. In this way the dry bean curd shreds can soak up the flavor of the other ingredients, and the soup is clear but savory. It is not only Yangzhou cooks but also the ordinary people who are conscientious about cooking. 

Culture
Children's Library building, on the premises of Yangzhou Public LibraryThe Yangzhou Dialect (Chinese:Yangzhou Hua) is moderately understandable by an outsider as it does differ a lot from today's standard Mandarin. The Yangzhou Dialect is considered to be the representative dialect of Jiang-huai dialect group within the Mandarin language family. It is regarded by linguists to be very close to the official Mandarin (based on Nanjing dialect) spoken during Ming dynasty and early Qing dynasty.

During a period of prosperity and Imperial favour, the arts of storytelling and painting flourished in Yangzhou. The innovative painter-calligrapher Shitao lived in Yangzhou during the 1680s and again from 1697 until his death in 1707. A later group of painters from that time called the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou are famous throughout China.

Former President of China Jiang Zemin was born and raised in Yangzhou. His middle school is located right across from the public notary's office in Yangzhou.
Yangzhou is famous for its carved lacquerware and jade carvings.
Poet Li Bai (c.700-762) wrote in Seeing Meng Haoran off to Yangzhou from Yellow Crane Pavilion:

At Yellow Crane Pavilion in the west
My old friend says farewell;
In the mist and flowers of spring
He goes down to Yangzhou;
Lonely sail, distant shadow,
Vanish in blue emptiness;
All I see is the great river
Flowing into the far horizon.

Some of China's most creative and eye catching dishes come from the Yangzhou school of cuisine called Huaiyang (also commonly known as the Weiyang school). Along with Sichuan cuisine, Cantonese cuisine, and Shandong cuisine, Huaiyang cuisine is a distinctive and masterful skill that locals are quite proud of.

The city is famous for its public bath houses, lacquerware, jadeware, embroidery, paper-cut, art & crafts velvet flavers. The city was awarded Habitat Scroll of Honour in 2006.Yangzhou is also very famous for its toy industry (especially stuffed animals). Many tourists from neighboring cities travel to the city for its good-quality and low-priced toys.

It is worth mentioning that the city is also famous for an ancient folk art called Yangzhou storytelling, which is like Xiangsheng - the traditional Chinese comedic performance. It rose as a performing act during the Ming Dynasty. In the performance, the artist details an interesting historical story to audiences, using Yangzhou dialect. These stories have been edited by artists, so they sound very soul-stirring and funny. The most well-know artist of Yangzhou storytelling was Wang shaotang. His most famous works are The 10 chapters of Wu Song, The 10 chapters of Song Jiang, The 10 chapters of Lu Junyi, and The 10 chapters of Shi Xiu.

Shopping
Compared with the neighbouring cities of Nanjing and Shanghai, Yangzhou cannot be called a shopping paradise. Perhaps due to its history of more than 2500 years, the Yangzhou city government is fairly strict with new construction proposals in the city center. Consequently, most buildings in downtown area are not taller than 6 stories, which is a big restriction for the development of large department stores. Nonetheless, you can still find some grand shopping centers around #Wenchangge; the de facto city center. For those fans of big expensive brands, Golden Eagle Shopping center, Wanjiafu department store and Times Square are the easy choice. The new built Living Mall in west end of Yangzhou aims at a higher end of market, which could be seen from the sellers inside, such as Starbucks and Dairy Queen.

Located on the south-west corner of Wenchang Pavilion Roundabout, Yangzhou Golden Eagle Shopping Center is the most up-market store in the city center and features a wide variety of clothes, electronics and jewellery.

Situated diagonally across Wenchangge from Golden Eagle, Wanjiafu Department Store boasts a favourable geographical position. It has a business area of 18,000 square meters with a good selection of clothes.

Located on the west side of the Golden Eagle Shopping center, Times Square attracts thousands of citizens and covers an area of 23,000 square meters. Compared with the previous two shopping centers, Times Square is more like an "American" style mall, with a wide variety of clothing stores, appliances, restaurants, and a cinema. Many young people shop in the basement for cheap fashion. Also, a large book store is located on the top floor. English books could also be found. However, they are not originals.

Living Mall or Living City-Recently Yangzhou did get an "American" style mall known as: Living City. The mall is located in the west of city, about 1 kilometre east of the railway station, across from the Yangzhou Museum. Living City targets high market customers with many global brands. This is perhaps the easiest place in Yangzhou to meet foreigners, what with a Starbucks, Dairy Queen and the highest concentration of restaurents catering to western tastes.

Besides big stores, there are many small clothing outlets lining most of the streets in the city center. Unlike the stores listed above, here you can bargin with the shopkeeper for a better price, and usually the prices are cheaper than for like items in Nanjing or Shanghai.

Tourism
Tourist sights include Slender Western Lake and old residences in the moated town, such as the Wang Residence and the Daming temple. Yangzhou is famous for its many well preserved Suzhou style gardens. Most of the Historic city is in the Guangling District.

Slender Western Lake
Named after Hangzhou's famous West Lake, this long, narrow stretch of water which meanders through Yangzhou's western limits is a well-known scenic spot. A long bank planted with weeping willows spans the lake; at its midpoint stands a square terrace with pavilions at each of the corners and one in the center. Around the lake is a park in which are found several attractions: Lotus Flower Pagoda (Lianhua SO, a white structure reminiscent of the White Pagoda (Baita) in Beijing's Beihai Park; Small Gold Mountain (Xiao Jin Shan); and the Fishing Platform (Diaoyutai), a favorite retreat of the Qing emperor Qian Long. The emperor was so gratified by his luck in fishing at this spot that he ordered additional stipends for the town. As it turns out, his success had been augmented by local swimmers who lurked in the lake busily attaching fish to his hook.

Da Ming temple
Located on Shugang Hill, in the city's northwest, is Fajing Temple, formerly known as Daming Temple. The original temple was built by jian Zhen some 1,500 years ago. In the latter years of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), a nine-story pagoda, the Qilingta, was built on the temple grounds. A recent addition to the temple complex is the jian Zhen Memorial Hall, built according to Tang Dynasty methods and financed with contributions raised by Buddhist groups in Japan. When Qing Emperor Qian Long visited Yangzhou in 1765, he was troubled by The temple's name Daming (which literally means "Great Ming') fearing that it might revive nostalgia for the Ming Dynasty, which was overthrown by his Manchu predecessors. He had it renamed Fajing Temple. The temple was seriously damaged during the Taiping Rebellion at the beginning of the 20th century. The present structure is a reconstruction dating from the 1930s.

Flat Hills (Ping Shan) Hall
Built by the Song Dynasty writer Ouyang Xiu when he served as prefect of the city, this hall stands just west of Faji, g Temple. Looking out from this hall, the mountains to the south of the Yangtsc River appear as a line at the viewer's eye level, hence the name Fiat Hills Hall. When Ouyang Xiu's student Su Dongpo moved to Yangzhou, he too served as prefect of the city. He had a hall built directly behind the one erected by his master, and called it Guling Hall.

Pavilion of Flourishing Culture (Wenchang Ge)
Wenchang GeThis round, three-story pavilion in Yangzhou's eastern sector was built in 1585 and celebrates the city's rich cultural traditions. It is also the de facto center of the city.

Built during Ming dynasty, it is located on the cross of Wengchang Road and Wenhe Road. The whole building is about 79 foot high, and looks like Temple of Heaven in Beking. Today, boarded by many shopping stores, Wenchange had been a symbol of commercial center to residents.

Stone Pagoda (Shita)
Standing west of the Pavilion of Flourishing Culture is a five-story Tang Dynasty pagoda. Built in 837 AD, it is the oldest pagoda still standing in Yangzhou.

Tomb of Puhaddin (Puhading Mu)
The mosque complex at the tomb of PuhaddinThis is essentially a Ming Dynasty graveyard that includes the tomb of Puhaddin (Chinese: Puhading). According to information at the tomb, he was a 16th generation descendant of Muhammad, The Prophet. The tomb is on the eastern bank of the (Old) Grand Canal in the eastern sector of the city and is adjacent to a mosque which houses a collection of valuable materials documenting China's relations with Muslim countries.

Ge Garden (Ge Yuan)
The entrance to this typical southern style garden with its luxuriant bamboo groves, ponds, and rock grottoes is on Dongguan St. in the city's northeast section. Designed by the great Qing Dynasty landscape painter Shi Tao for Wang Yingtai, an officer of the Qing imperial court, this garden takes its name from the shape of bamboo leaves which resemble the Chinese character ge, meaning "a" or "an."

He Garden (He Yuan)
Built by He Zhidiao, a 19th century Chinese envoy to France, this garden is famous for a 430m. (1,377 ft) two storied winding corridor, the walls of which are lined with stone tablets carved with lines of classical poetry, In the garden is also an open air theater set on an island in the middle of a fish pond.

Yechun Garden (Yechun Yuan)
In this garden, which lies on the banks of the Xiading River at the city's northern limits, the Qing Dynasty poet Wang Yuyang and a circle of friends used to gather to recite their works. The thatched roofs of the pavilions in this garden give it a quaint, rustic air.

Yangzhou Museum
 
Yangzhou Museum / China Block Printing MuseumSituated by the west side of the Bright Moon Lake of Yangzhou, China Block Printing Museum and Yangzhou Museum look into the distance of Yangzhou International Exhibition Centre and covers an area of 50000 square meters, with a construction space of 25000 square meters, and an exhibition area of 10000 square maters. Its unique architectural form embodies the harmony of man nature, structure and natural environment. In August, 2003, over 300000 ancient books blockings were collected from Guangling Press of Yangzhou and China Block Printing Museum was established under the approval of the State Council, over 300000 ancient book blockings collected by Guangling Press of Yangzhou were included in the new museum. website:www.yzmuseum.com

Jiangdu Water Control Project
Construction of this multiple-purpose water control project, the biggest in China, started in 1961 and was completed in 1975. The project includes facilities for irrigation, drainage, navigation, and power generation. It consists of four large modern electric pumping stations, six medium sized check gates, thrice navigation locks, and two trunk waterways.

Yangzhou's three knives
Kitchen knife, Scissors, hair knife were Yangzhou's traditional products. the Qianlong Emperor had been hair care right here and famous with hair knife and skill .

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