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Top 10 China Ancient Small Cities


In China, apart from the mega-cities like Shanghai and Beijing, there are also a large number of small cities; besides majority of them has a longer history than that of Shanghai. To Chinese culture lovers and learners, Shanghai is just a show window of Chinese 150 years of modern history, and the exhibition of Chinese achievement of reform and opening since 1978. As for Chinese long and complicated history and culture, learners and lovers had better probe into these small-size cities that unknown to the outside of world. For simplifying searching and reading, we create this special page and list some representative cities.

 

Dunhuang

Dunhuang(敦煌)  :  the oasis of Buddhism

In ancient times, Dunhuang was the center of trade between China and its western neighbors. At that time, it was the most westerly frontier military garrison in China. With the flourishing of trade along the Silk Road, Dunhuang was prompted to become the most open area in international trade in Chinese history. It provided the only access westward for the Chinese Empire and eastward for western nationalities. Today, as a reminder of this historical area, we are left with the Mogao Caves, Yangguan Pass, Yumenguan Pass and many wonderful Chinese poems depicting the time. Although what remains of the two Passes are crumbling walls, one can still experience the atmosphere of that time while visiting in person...

Jingdezhen

Jingdezhen(景德镇): Cradle of Porcelain

Jingdezhen is an essential part of Poyang Lake Ecological and Economic Zone, and also a famous and important historic and cultural city featured by its natural ecology. Jingdezhen has a long history of porcelain production, besides the quality of these porcelains is very wonderful, so it has a wide influence. To some extent, Porcelain Capital has become the calling card of Jingdezhen. Up to 2007, Jingdezhen has been awarded the honorable titles of China’s Wonderful Tourist City, China’s Ecological Garden City and China’s Civilized and Sanitary City. The city flower of Jingdezhen is camellia and the city tree is camphor tree...

Kaifeng

Kaifeng(开封) :Capital of Six Dynasties

 Kaifeng was also extremely famous for a large-sized painting named Qingmingshanghetu(清明上河圖,an epoch-making painting initially painted by Zhang Zeduan, the greatest painter of Chinese painting in Northern Song Dynasty, this long and complicated painting is themed with the daily market image and commoners lives in Northern Song Dynasty, and it was the first painting specially showing the commoners life and the prosperity of urban market. It currently is considered as the national treasure). In Kaifeng, a large amount of famous people such as clean-handed Bao Lord, Honest Generals from Yang Family...

Qufu
Qufu(曲阜) : Hometown of Confucius
 
Qufu, as Chinese cultural and historical city, is the cradle of Chinese ancient emperors in politics and ideology. It is the old capital of the Yin and Shang Dynasties, the capital of Lu Kingdom in the Zhou Dynasty. It is also famous as the birthplace of Confucius who was the most celebrated ideologist, politician, educationist, and the initiator of Confucianism in later Spring and Autumn Period. Its time-honored history and civilization as well as gorgeous oriental culture make it world-widely popular. Qufu was always thought of as the holy land in China's long feudalistic society. Nowadays, it is also called Oriental Jerusalem by many westerners...
Pingyao

Pingyao(平遥) : an Unwalled Museum 

Pingyao has been recognized for its beauty and cultural significance as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The reason it has received this recognition is because during the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was the financial center of China, and has the oldest bank in the nation. During this time, banks in Pingyao were the most efficient of their day and helped paved the way for keeping financial records and modern banking in China. You can see this history by visiting the Rishengchang (日升昌) Financial House Museum, a popular destination for those interested in the history of banking in China...

Pingyao

Lijiang(丽江) : a pearl along Tea-Horse Road

Lijiang is the very city suspected as the Shangri-La in James Hiltons masterpiece Lost Horizon first published in 1933. It lies in Yunnan Province in southwestern China. It has many magnificent natural beauties such as high mountains and deep valleys, snow on the mountains which never melt even in summer, and highland lakes. They will be exposed to specialized folklore of the ethnic Bai, Naxi, Tibetan and the Mosuo minorities in Yunnan. Visitors will also get chances to admire the Dongba culture of the Naxi people in Lijiang Old Town...

Dali

Dali(大理) : land of Buddhism,  Paradise of Bai people 

 If you are addicted to Chinese Martial Arts novels, you will probably know this big name: Jin Yong ; if you know much about him, you will know that one of his greatest works is Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. Being acquainted with that, then you will be sure to know Dali, for one of the main characters Duan Yu, the prince of Dali kingdom lived there. Many visitors come to Dali for nothing other than to relive the journey and the legends that appear in that novel...

Datong 

Datong(大同)  Hometown of Yungang Grottoes

Datong is the important place for military affairs and strategy. Different sized wars or battles broke out here for thousands of times. In his area, there is a Mapu Mountain used to be the battlefield for seven-day war between troops of Han Dynasty under the leadership of Emperor Gaozu who was the first emperor of Han dynasty and troops of Hun. There is also a place named Jinshatan is the battleground of General of Yang family against of entry of Liao dynasty, which used to be in north China. Datong in history was always one of the influential cities in north China, and traditionally Datong was the north central cityof China...

Huizhou

Huizhou(徽州) : Traditional Chinese Painting-like Villages

Huizhou Tourism resources are unique and dense with high-level quality. There are two world heritages and one famous historic and cultural city all around China. There are also three state-level places of interest, one state-level natural reservation, one world Natural Park, three National Forest Park and 10 national historic and cultural protection units. World-famous Huangshan Mountain is also in this area, and it is the gem of China’s nature and culture. Xidi and Hongcun as the historic relic of Huizhou material civilization could bring you the countryside feeling of tranquility and calmness. The erecting paifang means the spiritual arena of Huizhou people. More and more ancient villages and architectures show the long-standing prosperity and richness. Come here, visitors can always find what they want....

Chengde

Chengde(承德) : the Imperial Summer Resort

Chengde is generally famous for its Chengde Imperial Summer Resort and its Outlying Temples as one of the World Cultural Heritages in China. Chengde is one of the 24 national cultural and historical cities that have been declared by the State Council. It is also one of the ten greatest places of interest in China. Chengde is also crowned as one of the China’s 44 most important scenic areas in China and one of 40 famous travel destinations in China. In 1994, Chengde Imperial Summer Resort and Its Outlying Temples were listed to be the world cultural heritage.

 

 
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