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HUNAN
湖南

H unan Province is located in the regions south of the Yangtze River, and also the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, facing Jiangxi on the east, connecting Chongqing and Guizhou on the west, adjoining Guangdong and Guangxi on the south and adjoining Hubei on the north. Being China’s southeast hinterland, Hunan has a vast territory. Read More Below.


OVERVIEW

H unan Province is located in the regions south of the Yangtze River, and also the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, facing Jiangxi on the east, connecting Chongqing and Guizhou on the west, adjoining Guangdong and Guangxi on the south and adjoining Hubei on the north. Being China’s southeast hinterland, Hunan has a vast territory. It has become famous as most of the land is located to the south of the Dongting Lake, and it is also referred to as “Xiang” as Xiangjiang River, the largest river in Hunan Province, stretches across the province. It is also known as the “Land of Hibiscus” due to a vast expanse of hibiscus mutabilis that have been planted since ancient times.

W ith a long history, there are numerous talents and celebrities born in Hunan, just as the old saying goes, “The prosperity of Chu (an ancient name for the region covering Hunan and Hubei) cultivates outstanding talents while Hunan is the very cradle of all”. As a famous “Land of Abundance”, Hunan has rich natural resources, as people say that “the harvest of Hunan and Guangdong is enough to feed a hungry world”. It is reported that a vast expanse of hibiscus was planted in local basins of Xiangjiang Region.

T an Yongzhi, a poet in the Tang Dynasty, highly praised it as a “beauty land of hibiscus with mild autumn wind”, hence Hunan enjoys another name – “Land of Hibiscus”,. Hunan has a large number of attractions, including Yueyang Tower, Dongting Lake, Yuelu Academy, Han Tombs at Mawangdui, Yandi Mausoleum, Pavilion of Heaven’s Center, Phoenix Old City, Orange Isle, Mao Zedong’s Former Residence (Shaoshan), Former Site of Xinmin Institute, Qingshuitang Revolutionary Memorial Hall, Former Site of the Self-study University, Former Site of the Autumn Harvest Uprising Revolutionary Armies Joining Forces in Wenjiashi Town Liuyang City, Liu Shaoqi’s Former Residence, Yang Kaihui’s Former Residence, Lei Feng Memorial Hall, Mount Hengshan and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and so on.

T his piece of picturesque land has had a profound impact on China’s modern and contemporary history, breeding a number of historical celebrities with people’s respect that they deserve such as Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Cai E, Tan Sitong and Zeng Guofan. Hunan is so picturesque as most of the land is covered with green hills and clear waters, making people intoxicated by her beauty and forming a remarkable place producing outstanding people.

GEOGRAPHY

GEOGRAPHY

L ying in the regions south of the Yangtze River, Hunan is located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River with geographical position of 108°47’E-114°15’E, 24 in N~30 24 N, adjoining Jiangxi with Mufu and Wugong Mountains in the east; Guizhou with the eastern edge of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in the west; Chongqing with Wuling Range in the northwest; Guangdong and Guangxi with Nanling Mountain Range in the south; and Hubei with Binhu Plains in the north. It has an area of 211,800 km2, ranking the 10th in the country.

OVERVIEWCLIMATE

CLIMATE

H unan enjoys the subtropical continental monsoon climate, which has three characteristics: First, rich light, heat and water resources, of which the high values are basically synchronous. Second, the variation between annual and inter-annual climate is huge, featuring cold winter and hot summer, warm spring with varied temperature, warm autumn with plunged temperature, rainy spring and summer, dry autumn and winter. The climate also has a huge interannual variation. Third, the area with the most obvious vertical climate change is the mountainous regions embraced on three sides by green hills, and the mountainous regions in western Hunan and southern Hunan are especially significant. Hunan’s annual sunshine time is 1,300 to 1,800 hours, thus this region has a great quantity of heat. The annual temperature is high, and the average annual temperature is between 15-18℃.

H unan is dominated by the winter monsoon in winter, and the landscape features, where the east, south and west are surrounded on three sides by mountains and the north is open, can help the cold air march into such regions, thus the average temperature in January is usually between 4-7℃. The frost-free period in Hunan lasts for 260-310 days, and most of the regions are 280-300 days. The average annual rainfall is between 1,200-1,700 mm, and Hunan is one of China’s provinces with abundant rainfall.

GEOGRAPHYCULTURE

CULTURE

H unan culture is a unique part of the diversified structure of Chinese culture. Over the past century, with the outstanding interpretation of the figures in on the stage of history, Hunan culture has received world-wide attention and recognition. The basic spirit of Hunan culture can be summed up as “honesty and kindness”, “braveness and martial spirit”, “practical orientation” and “self-reliance”. Pioneered by Hu Anguo in the Song Dynasty, Hunan’s philosophy system has formed its own unique style after Hu Hong, Zhang Shi, Wang Chuanshan, Zeng Guofan, Tan Sitong, Yang Changji and Mao Zedong. Hunan literature and arts are significantly characterized by “integration of literature and ideology”. The Xiangxiang School of Literature headed by Zeng Guofan is one of its unique representatives. This feature was also clearly reflected on Mao Zedong.

H unan’s education was greatly developed in the Song Dynasty, and has formed its own unique traditions during the past ten centuries: emphasis on coexistence of learning and thinking and the unity of knowledge and practice, and emphasis on independent thinking and rational criticism. Yuelu Academy is a witness and representative of this tradition. Hunan culture takes an “all-embracing” attitude towards the religion, for which the coexistence of Buddhism and Confucianism in Nanyue Temple is a typical example. Hunan is one of the regions that have the most ethnic groups in China. During a long period of time, due to different historical evolutions, living regions, ways of production and religious beliefs, such ethnic groups have developed an abundance of ethnic customs and traditions with mutual penetration and influences, thus integrating into the Hunan-based folk culture with distinct and unique personality.

A s great importance has been attached to practice and utility, Hunan’s science and technology have been well developed. As early as the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, bronze smelting technologies had been considerably developed. In modern times, Antimony also ranks first in the whole country. The exquisiteness and delicacy of the cultural relics unearthed from Han Tombs at Mawangdui are very amazing and impressive. Hunan’s female features: as a Chinese traditional saying goes, Hunan’s women have a romantic nature.

CLIMATETOURIST SEASON

TOURIST SEASON

H unan enjoys a mild climate and four distinct seasons. In spring, visitors can go to the Peach Blossom Garden that is filled with fragrant grass and fallen flowers; in summer, visitors can go rafting along the Maoyan River and the Mengdong River, enjoying a cool and refreshing experience; autumn is the best season for western Hunan; in winter, visitors can enjoy the snow views on Hengshan Mountain, and watch the snow scenes that are rarely seen in south China. In different time and different places, with different kind of unique sceneries, the best tourist seasons around Hunan are as follows: 1. Changsha: autumn Except during the intense heat of summer, visitors will feel quite comfortable in Changsha in the rest three seasons. The most beautiful season in Changsha is autumn, as the Yuelu Mountain will be covered with elegant and intense red autumnal leaves and the Orange Islet also enjoys the beautiful landscape of the season. In addition, after Changsha enters winter in late November, the average temperature will only be about 5℃, and sometimes it will snow, where you can see the ice in the mountains. 2. Zhangjiajie: spring and autumn The best seasons to visit Zhangjiajie are spring and autumn. In spring, Zhangjiajie is filled with fragrant grass and fallen flowers, where visitors can walk along the Golden Whip Stream and Ten-mile Gallery, explore the Yellow Dragon Cave and experience the surprise of entering the Peach Blossom Garden as Wuling People do; in autumn, Zhangjiajie enjoys high bright blue sky and delightful sunshine, while trees all around turn golden as if they were deep-dyed. It is just the season when a great amount of delicious fruit like kiwi berries and mandarin oranges get ripe. For the sake of the intense heat of summer and severe cold of winter, it will be the most comfortable to visit Zhangjiajie in spring and autumn.

3. Western Hunan: all the year round As there are many special physical features in western Hunan, with high mountains and peaks, it will not be as hot as the central plain regions in summer. However, the purposes of many visitors visiting western Hunan are not only to explore its beauty, but also to savor the unique local customs. Visitors are recommended not to miss the grand Song Festival held in July or September (i.e., the 6th day of the 6th lunar month) or the Autumn Harvest Festival when the autumn begins. 4. Yueyang: May to October Situated beside Dongting Lake, Yueyang enjoys a subtropical humid monsoon climate. The dry season lasts from October to April next year in Dongting Lake while the wet season lasts from May to September. When the wet season comes, the water bamboos in Yueyang will be more graceful. It is also a fun and charm to watch the lake and enjoy the ornamental flowers. In addition, visitors can also experience a variety of tourism festivals in Yueyang, which take place around the wet season. 5. Hengshan Mountain: late summer and early autumn Due to its mountainous features, the best tourist seasons to visit Hengshan Mountain are in the late summer and early autumn. At that moment, when the summer heat still remains in the plain regions of Hunan, it has been cool in the mountain areas, with lush vegetation and beautiful mountainous scenery. It is very rainy in Hengshan Mountain, which is shrouded by cloud and mist for nearly seven months of the year. There are “three layers of heaven” on Hengshan Mountain, of which the first layer is from foothills to Yuban Bridge, the second layer is from Yuban Bridge to Halfway Pavilion, and the third layer is from Halfway Pavilion to Zhurong Peak. The temperature will get lower when climbing up. In addition, visitors will enjoy a different kind of beauty in Hengshan in cloudy days. In winter, visitors can also admire the famous snow scenery on Hengshan Mountain. Due to the special climatic conditions, Hengshan Mountain is characterized by its remarkable rime wonders that are seldom seen in other places. 6. Chenzhou: all the year round Chenzhou enjoys a subtropical monsoon climate, where it is neither hot in summer nor cold in winter, with an average annual temperature of 15.4-18.3℃.

T hus it is suitable for tourism all the year round, especially in spring and autumn. If visitors come for rafting in the East River, they will have to come between late April and late October. 7. Yongzhou: all the year round As Yongzhou is located in the junction of temperate zone and tropical zone, coupled with its unique topography, Yongzhou enjoys a mild climate and abundant rainfall, featuring four distinct seasons – warm spring and hot summer, cool autumn and cold winter. It features a mid-subtropical monsoon climate. Hunan is a multi -ethnic province. Similar to Yunnan, Guangxi and other provinces, it has rich ethnic customs and colorful festivals, which are not only the big stage for all ethnic groups to show their unique features, but also a travel opportunity that cannot be missed. 1. Three New Year Festivals for Tujia People: Tujia people residing in western Hunan have three New Year Festivals every year, namely the 29th (or 28th) day of the 12th lunar month, the 25th day of the 6th month and the 1st day of the 10th month. 2. Torch Festival for Bai People: Bai people residing in Zhangjiajie City has a traditional festival – Torch Festival held on the 25th day of the 6th lunar month each year. 3. June Six Festival (Lunar Calendar) for Tujia People: This festival was originally known as the Day of Traders, and now is commonly known as the “Birthday of Cup Official”, i.e., the 6th day of the 6th lunar month. 4. Valentine’s Day for Miao People: On the 3rd day of the 3rd month each year. 5. April 8th (Lunar Calendar): “April 8th” is a ritual ceremony that the Miao people offer sacrifices to ancestors. It is on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month. 6. Autumn Harvest Festival: At the beginning of autumn. 7. Birding Festival in Dongting Region: From February to March (Calendar) every year. 8. Wujian Mountain Forest Festival: In May (Calendar) every year. 9. Lotus Exhibition in Tuanhu: From August to October (Calendar) every year. 10. Climbing Festival: March 3th & September 9th (Lunar Calendar) every year. 11. International Dragon Boat Festival: May 5th (Lunar Calendar) every year. 12. Lusheng Festival in Tongdao: Around the Double Ninth Festival every year. 13. Azalea Festival in Huangyan: Held in Huangyan Tourist Resort from late April to early or mid-May every year.

CULTURE