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Zigong

Zigong (or Tzu-kung), ancient name Ziliujing and Gongjing, is a prefecture-level city and the third largest city in Sichuan Province, in southwest China.

History
The area of Zigong has a long history in ancient China - with the invention and development of "Percussion Drilling rig" being one of the city's accomplishments. There are essentially two cities - that of the old and the new. The city was reached by rail in the 1950s. Several four lane highways reach the city from other cities in the Sichuan province. The new city of Zigong has been modernizing since the late 1970s - but more rapidly since the early 1990s. The old "Salt" city is based on industry and farmland and a new "Tourism" city which caters primarily to Chinese tourists (as Zigong is better known within mainland China). Zigong is host to the Sichuan University of Science and Engineering as well as a new High Technology Zone.

Geography and Climate
Zigong is located in the Sichuan Basin. Granted the recognition as one of the Historical and Cultural Cities of China by the State Council of the People's Republic of China. Zigong has long been renowned as "Salt City" for its brine extraction techniques and the attendant salt-related culture. In ancient China, Salt was regarded as the energy for body and valued higher even than Gold. Therefore, salt trading was always the most profitable business and salt merchants were the wealthiest people. Hence, Zigong had always been one of the richest cities in China until the founding of People's Republic of China with the introduction of new salt producing methods and advancing of technologies.

It has had the Zigong Salt Museum since 1736. The Zigong area's population is approximately 3.2 million (which covers five major districts and rural areas). The Fuxi River, a tributary to the Yangtze River, snakes through the city's core. The area is very humid and the visibility can be reduced dramatically in the area due to ground fog. The humidity and fog of Zigong can be attributed to that it sits on what was once a vast inland sea. Changes in the environment caused the water levels to subside leaving salt, brine, and natural gas.

During the summer months the temperatures can reach to 40°C (104°F) during the winter months the temperatures hover around 15.5°C (60°F). The humidity hovers between 80% and 90% year round. Using the coordinates link, one can find ariel photographic views, satellite imagery, night views, and road maps: Coordinates: (29°20′6.60″N 104°46′25.39″E / 29.335167°N 104.7737194°E / 29.335167; 104.7737194). Zigong is situated south of the Sichuan basin hill country. To the east of Zigong is Luzhou and to the west of Zigong is Leshan. To Zigong's south is Yibin and to the north-east is the city of Neijiang


Zigong Dinosaur Museum
Sinraptor at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum
A display at the museumIn the 1980s, vast dinosaur fossils were excavated in the Dashanpu Formation, 7 km north-east from downtown Zigong, including a dinosaur named after the township, Dashanpusaurus. Because of the unique and intact bone remains, Zigong has ever since been attracting paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts from around the world. In 1987, the Zigong Dinosaur Museum was established, becoming the first specialized dinosaur museum open in Asia. Mounted specimens include Omeisaurus, Gigantspinosaurus, Yangchuanosaurus hepingensis, Huayangosaurus and Xiaosaurus.

Lantern Festival
Zigong is the originator of the Chinese Lantern Festival - which has been copied in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. As one of the Historical and Cultural Cities of China, Zigong is called "Lantern Town in the South Kingdom". In recent years, although the annual lantern show forces the local residents endure unpredictable and extended blackouts during China's Spring Festival, the lantern festival is a boon for tourism in the remote but tranquil city and generates large revenues for the local government. The pattern of Lantern Show, a paradigm of China's festival economy, has been copied throughout China, which dilutes the uniqueness of Zigong's original version. As a measure to promote the city, the lantern show has already been brought to many cities in mainland China and even southeast Asia throughout of the years.

Since China is on a Lunar calendar - known in the west as the Chinese calendar, Spring Festival - which is also known as Chinese New Year will vary each year on a Gregorian calendar - but is roughly between January 16 and February 19 each year - depending on which of the Twelve earthly branches it is currently.

The Latern Festival has been going on since the Tang dynasty and gets more elaborate each year and is certainly a sight to behold.

Zigong Teahouse
Wangye Miao Teahouse on the Fuxi RiverNow a historic teahouse built by the Sichuan based salt merchants originally served as a guild hall for salt merchants. Originally called the Wang Sanwei Linneage Hall - it's now called the Wangye Miao Teahouse. The Wangye Miao Teahouse was popular during the height of the salt trade and still stands along a bend in the Fuxi River - which runs through the center of Zigong. The structure has classic Chinese architecture still operates today. The teahouse is located next to the river, on Binjiang Lu street. The teahouse is in fact part of the Zigong Salt Museum and is used to generate funds for the museum. However, the original purpose of the Teahouse was the assembly hall for shipping Merchants and called Wangye Miao Temple. For its origin please refer to "Merchants Assembly Halls" below.

The Ancient Streets
Along the Fuxi river are several stone paved roads that are called the "ancient streets". This section of Zigong has traditional houses and shops, typical of life in the days that Zigong was a bustling Salt trade center. Several salt well heads are capped and marked along the streets that wind along the river. At the end of the street is a hand rowed ferry boat that takes a visitor to the opposite shore where stone steps led up into the city.

Tourist Sites
-San Duo Zhai is a fortress complex built in 1859 by three rich families on the top of steep mountain, to protect themselves from the banditis and warlord during Chaos period. The name of the fortress means long happiness, long live, and more boy birth. Located along the Zigong to Neijiang expressway, about 20km drive from the city, hiring a roundtrip taxi would cost about 50RMB.

-Rongxian Buddha is the second largest sitting stone Buddha in the world. Located in Rongxian County, about 40km drive from the city, hiring a roundtrip taxi would cost about 100RMB.

-Fushun Confucius Temple, built in 1044, is the only Confucius temple in the world with a naked Confucius image on the top of the roof.

-Xianshi - the ancient Town, is a small town with over 1,400 years history of salt shipping, however, still kept most of its houses and streets in the ancient styles, 10 minutes from the city, along the Fuxi river.

-Night View of Fuxi River - you can step on to the touring boat for only 20 rmb with snacks and tea serving, and enjoying the amazing view of ancient "salt river" and imagining the busy ports by the restored sites.

-Merchants Assembly Halls,namely the Xiqing Assembly Hall, is the most famous and beautiful Meachants Hall in China, located in the old city downtown. Built in 1800, for the purpose of assemble Salt Merchants from Shanxi province.

-Wangye Temple (local neame: Wangye Miao), is the assembly hall for shipping Merchants, located in the old city downtown along the Fuxi river, with a estimated history of over 300 hundred years. The purpose is to serve both assembly and protection from the river god. the temple is delicatedly build on a cliff of the Fuxi river with designs being able to detect groundwork condition. The two original unique structure of this temple is road crossing inside the temple and the rare genuine Sichuan Oprea Platform.

-Huanhou Temple (local neame: Huanhou Ci) is the assembly hall for butchers built in 1875. The construction fund come from the butchers' rule "whenever a pig is killed, two hundred cents should be donated".

Local Food and Dishes
Zigong Food is one of a kind even in Sichuan, due to its rich culture and history. Some dishes found in Zigong are common to the Sichuan area (see Szechuan cuisine with local variations, and some are unique local recipes.

Various types of Dumpling or Wonton (served with hot oil and pepper paste)
Sichuan Hot pot, called Chuan Chuan Xiang
Twice Cooked Pork
Pepper Beef
Mapo doufu
Diced Rabbit in Hot Pepper Oil
Frog
Fried Eel with Hot Peppers
Turtle Soup
Duck in a Hot Pepper Oil
Tea Infused Duck
Sichuan DanDan Mian - spicyChinese noodles
Various Types of Tea
Babe Toufu (best in Fushun county and counryside)

Unique dishes include:
Fried rice-field frog with fresh pepper (very spicy pepper) (This dish is illegal)
Rice-field frog chicken soup (only a few family knows how to make this soup)
Try the night food market along the roads (Tongxing Lu), and remember best food are cooked at local's home.

Tour Package To Zigong

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