China’s Most Famous Cities

BEIJING

One of the most exotic and beautiful places in the world, Beijing holds a lot of culture and heritage properly represented in is fanciful buildings, language, dressing and lifestyle. The city formerly known as Peking, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China and has dominated the north of China for many years. It is interesting to note that before settling on the name Beijing in  1403, the city was known by different names. Some of which are Jicheng (‘City of Ji’), Yanjing (Capital of Yan’), Nanjing (‘Southern Capital’), Zhongdu (‘Central Capital’); Beijing was the 16th name given.

The history of Beijing dates back as far as 3,000 years ago making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Beijing boasts of historical sites  such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. As one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Beijing has a heritage of the Peking man, fossils which can be seen at Zhoukoudian really exemplify the whole existence of the ancient city.

Tiananmen Square

The ancient city of Beijing has also been the capital of six notable Chinese governments. For over 700 years, China has been ruled from Beijing. This is probably why there are a lot of historical sites to explore in the city. Furthermore, the city is home to Seven UNESCO World heritage site : The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, The Temple of Heaven, The Ming Tombs, Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian, and The Grand Canal.

Beijing is the second largest city in China of almost 22.5 million. It has a wide range of architecture, arts, cuisine  and other cultural facets. These among other things make the city a cultural hub and one of the best places to visit in China. Beijing will also be the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics in 2008 and 2022 respectively. The best times to visit Beijing to avoid unnecessary hassles are April, May, September, October and November.

GUANGZHOU

The “City of Flowers” as it is fondly called is arrayed with evergreen plants and flowers that bloom all day long. Also, Guangzhou is notable for having some of the most elegant and aesthetically appealing buildings in the whole of China. Tourists come to get a glimpse of the sky touching towers: Tha Canton Tower and CTF Tower.

Guangzhou is the third largest city in China and it also boasts of being the capital of China for three times. The first time was from the year 1925 to 1927, the second was a short period in 1931 and its third spell was about two months in 1949. The enriched city also holds a monumental value as it houses the oldest mosque in the whole of China, The Huaisheng Mosque which was built in the 630’s.

Another important feature of Guangzhou is hosting of one of the biggest fairs in the country. The Canton fair is a trade fair that takes place every year in the “city of flowers”. The massive event comes up in spring and is regarded as the biggest fair among Chinese most likely because of the title Guangzhou holds as China’s largest commodity manufacturing city. Guangzhou also hosted the 16th Asian games in  2010 which put on the display a total of 9704 athletes making it one of the largest in the history of the games.

The city lies in the Pearl River region which has served to be an important port for China over the years. It is an important harbor in China making the city a major transportation and trading hub of the country. The weather here is very comfortable with the best times to visit in October and December. April and May are also good months except you can maneuver during the rainy season.

SHANGHAI

Blessed with a population of over 20 million people, Shanghai is easily the world’s largest city by population. Interestingly, Shanghai is known as “The Pearl of Asia” and “The Paris of the East” more reason why crowds of people throng to the city.

Shanghai for over two decades has become an international arena for finance and culture. Many reputable companies have their headquarters in this illustrious city. With the conglomeration of fashion, art, and design it is easy to see why Shanghai is one place people love to visit. Furthermore, the city boasts of a rich blend of modernity and history which is shown when it was a colonial territory in the mid-nineteenth century. Shanghai was divided into British, U.S. and French concessions and a Chinese walled city. This division brought a whole of dynamism into the fray with a unique variety of architectural styles and a fascinating history.

Pride fills this next focal point of the city of Shanghai as it is known for having the longest metro system in the world. The metro system spreads beneath the city of Shanghai with 400 miles (644 km) of tunnels and track. The Shanghai metro has 393 stations spread throughout the city and connecting major attractions, making it easy to navigate for international visitors. The airports – Pudong and Hongqiao international airports, in the city are also major strengths in the area of transportation.

There are other stunning buildings guaranteed to bring visitors all year long, some of these sitings are Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, Jade Buddha Temple, City God Temple and the Shanghai Disney Land. Consequently, the best times to visit Shanghai are in spring and autumn where conditions are favorable with mild temperatures and clearer air.

Lastly, for travelers around the world, Shanghai offers a 144-hour (6 day) Visa-Free option for Shanghai and the neighboring areas of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Visitors can avoid the hassles for applying for visa only if they limit their sojourn to these areas mentioned.

SHENZHEN

This exotic city is regarded as one of the wealthiest in China. With a population of around 10 million people, Shenzhen has become one of China’s most vibrant and thriving cities. The city is situated in the Guangdong province,  famous for its parks and nightlife. Ironically, Shenzhen was initially a small market town of just 30,000 people up until 1979 where it gained city status. Consequently, Shenzhen was designated China’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The first major stock exchange opened in Shenzhen in 1990. This led to Shanghai opening its very own a year later.

Shenzhen is a leading global technology hub, dubbed by media as the next Silicon Valley

Another major landmark of Shenzhen asides its rich history is the city’s economy. Shenzhen is known to be the world’s largest manufacturing hub and one of China’s richest cities. The city’s income is said to be much higher, about 50% more than Shanghai and Beijing. Shenzhen is the home to the fourth tallest building in the world. The Ping An finance centre is the second tallest building on China measuring up to 599m, however the Shanghai Tower is the tallest in the country measuring 632m.

Amidst the massive migration of people to Shenzhen every year, the city was designated as UNESCO city of design in 2009 further reinstating its worldwide status as a leading city. There are also a lot of beautiful theme parks in Shenzhen such as Window of the world, Splendid China folk Village and others.

Most hi-tech companies find their niche in Shenzhen. The city is a great manufacturing centre thereby creating a conducive environment for these companies to excel. Companies like Huawei, ZTE, BYD and others are found in Shenzhen. The city also hosts China hi-tech expositions annually.

The city has a warm and humid subtropical climate. The winter seasons are usually mild – not so cold. Invariably, the weather is beautiful there. However, Shenzhen has a high crime rate so be extra careful when navigating the city.

QINGDAO

The city’s name is a combination of two entities; “Qing” in Chinese means “green” or “lush”, while the character  “Dao” means “island”. In 1984, the Chinese government named a district of Qingdao a Special Economic and Technology Development Zone (SETDZ). Also,  in 2008, the city was named the 7th most livable city in China – a worthwhile title for its relatively small population. It borders Yantai to the northeast, Weifang to the west and Rizhao to the southeast. The city is also a major seaport, naval base and industrial centre. Qingdao port international co. ltd hosts one of the world’s busiest seaports. Cooperative relations have been established with 450 ports in 130 countries worldwide.

Qingdao is the home of many mineral resources. Up to thirty different kinds have been mined. It is also rich in invaluable stock of fish and other sea resources which makes it a viable niche for traders to come to. Also, the seaside setting, parks, beaches and temperate weather attract many tourists who come to explore in the city’s richness in diversity.

Its uniqueness in culture and pride in diversity dates back to the city’s colonial days. German was the official language and it was rigorously taught and promoted. However, since the demise of the German colonial era, the language has gone extinct with the people speaking the local Qingdao dialect which some other speak Mandarin and English. Although, the German language is dead, the city still boasts of some German heritage. The architecture in the city is state of the art done compared with some German style buildings.

There are some notable festivals that have been held in the city of Qingdao, one of which was very popular. The Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition 2014 was the biggest international fair held in the history of the city. Another notable festival which holds annually is the Qingdao beer festival.

It is very important to note that Qingdao hosts a wide variety of higher education institutions, some of which are very prominent in China. The Ocean University of China is one of the most important universities of maritime sciences in China. Other institutions include, China university of petroleum, Shandong University of science and technology, Qingdao Agricultural University and a host of others. The city also has a rich blend of sports lovers with football, basketball and surfing taking centre stage. The weather is monsoon-influenced and falls on the borderline between humid subtropical and humid continental.

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