Travel Destinations: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Lian Slayford By Lian Slayford, 29th May 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>China>Sichuan & Chongqing

This article explores Chengdu in China as a great place to visit.

Travel Destinations: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Travel Destinations: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Chengdu, located in central Sichuan Province, is one of the largest cities in China. With these larger cities, the word charming is not often applied but in the case of Chengdu, it is appropriate. Even with its large population, the city is simply charming, full of a rich historical heritage and friendly people.

Chengdu has always been known as ‘Perfect Metropolis’ and has been part of more than a dozen independent kingdoms throughout its long history. Founded in around 316 BCE, its strategic positioning and its rich agricultural land was sought after by all those wanting political power.

In addition to this, Chengdu has always been a key cultural city. During the Tang Dynasty the city has been home to some of China’s most famous artists, including the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu. It became one of China’s most famous cities for silk production during the Han Dynasty and was the starting locating for the Southern Silk Road.

The city’s name was originally called Brocade City from its silk production to Hibiscus City which is still used by the locals today. During the Song Dynasty, Chengdu was the first city to start making paper money.

Chengdu was once a city full of traditional wooden architecture; some still remain today but the glassy tall buildings have moved on making it a thoroughly modern city. However, hibiscus flowers and ginkgo trees line the roads and pavements, making it a truly beautiful place.

There are many things to see and do here. Start with the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre (Daxiongmao Fanzhi Yanjiu Zhongxin) where you can see one of China’s most famous icons – the giant Panda. The centre is home to around 50 gorgeous giant and red pandas, although you will probably only see and dozen or so out and about. The breeding season is between March and May and if you come here in the autumn then you may see one of the newborns in the nursery area.

Another great place to go to is the Wenshu Temple (Wenshu Yuan), dating back to the Tang Dynasty. It is the best-preserved and the largest temple in the city. A Buddhist temple, you can hear the monks chanting and admire the beautiful relief carvings and experience a sense of spiritual peace and tranquillity.

The Tomb of Wang Jian is another place tourists love to explore. It is the resting place of the general Wang Jian who established the kingdom of Shu when the Tang Dynasty fell from power. It is the only tomb in China that has been excavated.

Zhaojue Temple (Zhaojue Si) is a beautiful temple from the 7th century; unfortunately, little of the original structure has survived. It underwent reconstruction during the Qing Dynasty under Po Shan, the famous Buddhist monk. It was then damaged during the Cultural Revolution but has seen restoration recently.

There are several temple parks which should be visited when in Chengdu. Start with Culture Park (Wenhua Gongyuan) where the beautiful Green Ram Temple is. It is the oldest Daoist temple in the city. Here you will find a beautiful eight sided pagoda which was created without the use of a single nail. In addition to this, at night you can watch performances of tradition Sichuan opera and other theatrical programs.

Du Fu’s Cottage (Dufu Caotang) is another place you should visit. This humble home was the home of the famous Tang Dynasty poet who has been the inspiration for numerous Chinese artists.

Nanjiao Park (Nanjiao Gongyuan) is home to Wuhou Temple and surrounded by some of the loveliest gardens in the province. This was the area immortalised by the famous literature, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms which also immortalised the strategist Zhuge Liang as he played his zither here. The temple also hosts nightly opera performances here.

Sichuan is famous for its hot and spicy cuisine. The Chinese say that “Shi zia Zhongguo, wei zai Sichuan” which translates as “China is the place for food but Sichuan is the place for flavour”. A trip here is incomplete without sampling the incredibly spicy dishes here.

Chengdu is one of the most population destinations in China. Full of colour, culture and history, there is no doubt as to the reasons why.

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Chengdu, China, Chinese, Sichuan, Trave, Travel, Travel Agency, Travel At Ease, Travel Budget, Travel By Train, Travel Nepal, Travel Tip, Travel Tips, Travelling

Meet the author

author avatar Lian Slayford
Lian is a Research Archaeologist, specialising in Religious Archaeology.

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