On this amazing land, great civilizations had been created, ranging back in time to the Peiligang culture (dating back to 8000 years), Yangshao culture (dating back to 6000 years) and Longshan culture (dating back to 5000 years). Henan has many historical sites, such as Taihao Grave, located in Huaiyang (a county in southeast of Henan), which is the mausoleum of Fuxishi, the Great Ancestor of China. And Xinzheng city is the native place of Yellow Emperor (a legendary ruler of China in remote antiquity). There are many great and famous people from Henan. Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi, great thinkers and founders of Taoism of the late Spring and Autumn Period, are both from Henan. The world famous ancient scientist and astrologer Zhang Heng and the great musician Zhu Zaiyu are also from Henan. The Chinese ancestors created a marvelous civilization and made glorious achievements that all Chinese take pride in.
“Once being the political and economic center of the nation for centuries, Henan occupies a prominent position in the history of China. The famous ancient painting, Qingming Shanghe Painting by Zhang Zeduan, described vividly the prosperity of the flourishing capital of Song dynasty, the present-day Kaifeng” said Xu Guangchun, the former Party Secretary of the Henan Provincial Committee of CPC.
Located on the Central Plains in the mid-east of China, Henan, literally “to the south of the River” in Chinese, got its name by having most of her area to the south of the Yellow River. It is also named “Central Plains” or “Central China”, with the short form of “Yu”. It borders Anhui province and Shandong province to the east, Hebei province and Shanxi province to the north, Shaanxi province to the west and Hubei province to the south. The Yellow River sees Taihang Mountains lying to its north, from north-east to south-west, as well as the east stretch of Qinling Mountain range lying to its south. As a channel connecting the east and the west, the Yellow River basin, through which the famous Silk Road extends westward along with the second Eurasia Continental railway system consisting of Longhai railway and Lanxin railway, connects with the Central Shaanxi Plain and reaches out directly into the Great Northwest of China, and then to west Asia. The south-to-north thoroughfares, represented by the famous Nanxiang Channel of the ancient times and the present-day Jingguang (Beijing—Guangzhou) railway and the Jingshen (Beijing—Shenzheng) highway, were built in the joining areas of the mountainous regions and plains. From an administrative and communication view, Henan lies in the center of China. Starting from Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan, a circle with a radius of roughly 600—800 kilometers can be drawn, encompassing Beijing, Tianjin and the Tanggu region to the north, Wuhan in the south, the Central Shaanxi Plain to the west and Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou to the east. Henan, with its advantageous location, wins herself an important role in the social and economic activities in China. Historically, Henan was a transportation hub, and many great historic events took place in this land. Hence the old saying, “Those who gained the central plains would obtain China”. Nowadays, with the network of railways and expressways which reach all over the country and with convenient air transportation, Henan’s position as the transportation hub has been strengthened. Furthermore, the national key projects taking place in Henan such as the pipeline of transporting natural gas from west to east and the pipeline of diverting water from south to north are now under construction. Henan plays a major role in the national economic and social development.
The west part of Henan is higher than the east, geographically. In the west tower the Taihang Mountains and the Yuxi Mountains, the latter being the eastern extension of the Qinling range which fans out eastward. The Funiu Mountain, 1000-2000 meters above sea level, is recognized as the roof of Henan. In the southern part of the province lie the Tongbai Mountains and the Dabie Mountains with an average height of less than 1000 meters. They serve as the watershed of the Huaihe River and the Yangtze River. Along the Yellow River between the Taihang Mountains and the Yuxi Mountains disperse hilly loess lands. In the center of Henan stands the towering Songshan Mountain. In the east part of the province stretches the vast Huanghuai Plain.
The four major rivers, namely the Yellow River, the Huaihe River, the Haihe River and the Yangtze River, stretch over Henan. There are over 1500 rivers crisscrossing, 493 of which cover a drainage area of more than 100 square kilometers for each. The Yellow River flows across the middle of the province with a trunk stream of 711 kilometers long and a drainage area of 36,200 square kilometers, which accounts for approximately one fifth of the coverage of the whole province. The Huaihe River, which winds through the mid-southern part of Henan with numerous branches and abundant water yield, has a trunk stream of 340 kilometers long and a drainage area of about 88,300 square kilometers, which accounts for almost one half of the whole coverage of the province. The Weihe River and the Zhanghe River in the northern part flow into the Haihe River. The Danjiang River, the Tuanhe River and the Tangbai River in the southwest part flow into the Hanshui River. The gross water volume of the province is about 41.3 billion cubic meters, ranking it the 19th in China.
Henan, with its rich cultural relics, boasts abundant tourism resources. For tourists at home and abroad, especially those who enthusiastically seek oriental culture and origins of Chinese civilization, Henan is just like an immense natural museum of history. It is a textbook of Chinese history, which is visible, tangible, and accessible. The oriental cultural connotations here are rich and unique.
Henan holds a very important position in the formation and development of Chinese culture and oriental culture. A large number of historical records and years of study on archaeology have shown that at least 8,000 years ago, Henan’s ancestors were the first to create human civilization in China. During that period of more than 3,500 years from the Xia Dynasty ( the first dynasty in China, in the 21st century B.C.) to the Jin Dynasty (in the 13th century AD), over 200 emperors of 20 dynasties founded capitals in Henan or moved their capitals here, leaving innumerable places of interest and historical spots, which today can still be visited. Under the State’s protection are 96 establishments rated as “national treasures”. The number of underground cultural relics in Henan province ranks the first in the country and the 1.3 million pieces of relics housed in the museums accounts for one eighth of the total of China. Among the eight ancient capitals of China, four of them were in Henan, namely Zhengzhou, Luoyang (124 kilometers to the west of Zhengzhou), Kaifeng and Anyang (about 200 kilometers to the north of Zhengzhou). In addition, there are several historical sites and cultural cities, such as Nanyang, Shangqiu and Xunxian County. Numerous scenic spots and historical sites are not only famous for their historic and cultural connotations but also for their tourism value; such as the hometown of the Yellow Emperor (a legendary ruler of China) in Xinzheng (a city close to Zhengzhou). The Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng (82 kilometers to the west of Zhengzhou), the Mausoleum of Song Emperors in Gongyi (70 kilometers to the west of Zhengzhou), Longmen Grottoes, Baima Temple in Luoyang and the hometown of Xuan Zang (a famous monk in Tang Dynasty, who brought books of Buddhism from India to China) in Yanshi (a city close to Luoyang) are all cultural spots of interest in Henan. For those who love history there are the Imperial Street and the Bao Gong Temple in Kaifeng (the capital of Song Dynasty), the Yinxu Museum and Youlicheng (the origin of the famous classic work – Book of Changes) in Anyang, the chariot pit of the Tombs of the Kingdom of Guo (a kingdom in Zhou Dynasty, about 2800 years ago) and Hanggu Pass in Sanmenxia. Many famous people from ancient China are honored in Henan; such as Wuhou Temple built in memory of Zhuge Liang who is regarded as a wit master in China, Zhang Heng Tomb (a great scientist in Han Dynasty), and the Temple of Zhang Zhongjing (an ancient medical sage) in Nanyang. The Tomb of Suirenshi (the discoverer of how to use fire), Huamulan Temple (a well-known heroine who took the place of her father to join the army) in Shangqiu; as well as Taihao Mausoleum in Huaiyang. At present, new scenic spots are emerging in Zhengzhou, Luoyang and Kaifeng. Henan Museum has a rich collection and is unique for its great architecture. A great deal of rare culture relics are on display there. The Longmen Grottoes are listed as one of the world’s cultural heritages. As a vivid and authentic reproduction of the great painting, Qingming Shanghe Painting of the Song Dynasty, the Qingming Garden was duplicated strictly following the painting in Kaifeng. While visiting, tourists can enjoy the scenes and the customs of the ancient city with a history of a thousand years.
Henan Province is one of the most important places from which the Chinese surnames originated. More than 100 surnames recorded in TheBook of Surames arederived from Henan. Among them are the 4 well-known surnames for overseas Chinese, namely Chen, Lin, Huang, and Zheng. As the saying goes: “As to surnames, half of the overseas Chinese are either surnamed Chen or Lin, while the other half are either Huang or Zheng”. In recent years, more and more overseas Chinese from around the world have come to Henan to seek their roots and worship their ancestors. The quest for cultures and the roots of surname heritage has become the highlight of tourist activities. Henan also bears the reputation of the birthplace of Kung Fu. This is represented by the Shaolin Temple in the Songshan Mountain, where the Chinese martial arts originated, and Chenjiagou in Wenxian County, where the Chen Taijiquan (shadow boxing ) developed.
Henan boasts not only abundant cultural heritage for tourism, but also unique natural scenery. The Yellow River stretches for over 700 kilometers in Henan. Traveling from the middle reach to the lower reach, we will feast our eyes on the blue ripples in Sanmenxia reservoir, the vast expanse of waving billows in the Yellow River sightseeing zone in Zhengzhou City, and the wonder of the “protruding river” whose river-bed is 14 meters above the ground of Kaifeng. The Xiaolangdi reservoir, 3 kilometers wide, 132 kilometers long, is the largest expanse of water to the north of the Yangtze River, dwarfing the surrounding mountains. Recently, such new sightseeing programs as “boating down the Yellow River” and “cruising along the Yellow River” have been developed, which are described by tourists as interesting and adventurous. In addition, Henan is blessed with a host of tourist resorts of national class, including the Songshan Mountain close to Zhengzhou, Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, the Jigong Mountain in Xinyang, the Yuntai Mountain in Jiaozuo, the Wangwu Mountain in Jiyuan, the Shiren Mountain in Lushan, and the Red Flag Canal in Linzhou. These sites, together with the newly- developed picturesque spots like the Baligou in Xinxiang, the Baiyun Mountain in Songxian, the Qinglong Gorge in Jiaozuo, attract many a visitor from home and abroad.
Over the past two decades, the tourist industry of Henan has enjoyed a constant and rapid growth. In 2004, it received over 450,000 overseas visitors, with a revenue of US$160 million, which is a respective increase of 138.7% and 152% compared with those of last year. Moreover, Henan has received over 80 million domestic tourists on an accumulative basis, with a revenue of RMB 56 billion yuan, which is a respective increase of 58.6% and 63.8% compared with those of last year. The overall earnings have reached RMB 57 billion yuan, a rise of 65.2% compared with that of last year, accounting for 7.2% of the GDP of Henan province. So far, among China’s leading tourist cities, 17 of them are in Henan including Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Puyang, Jiyuan, and Dengfeng. There are also 43 national 4-star scenic spots including Shaolin Temple, Guanlin, Baima Temple, Longmen Grotto, the Qingming Garden, and the Memorial Temple of Bao Gong. There are altogether 338 star-grade hotels in Henan, five of which are five-star, fifteen are four-star and 113 are three-star. From the Airports in Zhengzhou, Luoyang and Nanyang, there are more than 800 flights shuttling among the major cities across the nation weekly, including Hong Kong, Macau and Tai Pei. Being one of the best airports in inland China, Zhengzhou Airport, with its 4E class flying area, has been approved as an international airport. Henan owns an advanced road transportation system, with a network of expressways linking the capital city of Zhengzhou with Luoyang, the ancient capital of nine dynasties, and Kaifeng of seven dynasties, It also links Anyang of four dynasties, and Xuchang, capital of Kingdom Wei (in the period of Three Kingdoms), thus forming a cross-shaped structure of expressways with Zhengzhou at the central point from which just a 50 to 100 minutes’ drive is needed to each of the above-mentioned cities.
Four main railway arteries, the Jingguang, the Longhai, the Jiaoliu, and the Jingjiu Railway meet at Zhengzhou, Luoyang and Shangqiu, constituting a comprehensive net of railways. 218 passenger trains leave Zhengzhou for different places nationwide on a daily basis.
In recent years the provincial government has attached much importance and priority to the tourism development，regarding it as a new economic growth point and one of the pillar industries in Henan.
The provincial government has decided to turn the tourist line, along the Yellow River, into a worldwide and nationwide venue that will radiate and fuel the tourism growth of the whole province. Lying in the key tourism development zone, cities along the Yellow River, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Luoyang and Sanmenxia in particular, bear unique advantages because of their important location, convenient transportation, abundant tourist resources and a harmonious industrial system. Relying on the rich ancient cultural resources scattered along the cities on the Yellow River, the Government has highlighted such programs as cultural sightseeing, origin seeking as well as pilgrimage, recreation, vacation and eco-tourism. In the meantime, it will refine the tourist programs around those major tourist areas such as the Taihang Mountains, the Funiu Mountains and the Tongbai-Dabie Mountains.
With vast plains and moderate climate, Henan is an important national base for farm and livestock production. The arable land of the province totals 8,110,300 hectares, including a cultivated land of 7,262,800 hectares, accounting for 6.24% of that of the whole nation and ranks the fourth, only next to Heilongjiang, Sichuan and Inner Mongolia. Henan is located in the transition belt from the subtropical zone to the temperate zone. It has a mild climate with an annual average temperature of 15.5℃-9.5℃ from south to north, a moderate annual rainfall of 1380.6-526.0 millimeters, and a frost-free period of 265-332 days. Therefore, Henan is suitable for the growth of various crops and it is one of the main national bases for all kinds of farm crops such as wheat, corn, cotton, tobacco leaf, legume, and sesame. The grain yield of the province amounts to one tenth of the national total. The oil crops yield and the beef output are both one seventh of the national total and the cotton yield is one sixth. Henan takes the lead in its yield of farm products including wheat, corn, cotton, tobacco leaf, legume, and sesame, as well as livestock products like meat, eggs and dairy. Henan also boasts a good number of famous, superior and special local products, such as Yuanyang rice; Kaifeng watermelon, Xixia kiwi fruits, Lingbao apples, Ningling pears and Xinyang chestnut; Zhongmu and Qixian garlic, Yongcheng green peppers; Luoyang peony, Yanling flowers. In addition, the well known Maojian tea and traditional Chinese herb medicines are also produced here.
Henan, with rich cultural relics, is a province of abundant tourism resources. For tourists at home and abroad, especially those who seek with great enthusiasm the oriental culture and the headstream of Chinese civilization, Henan is just like an immense natural museum of history and a textbook of Chinese history which is visible, tangible, and accessible. The oriental cultural connotations here are rich and unique.
The beautiful natural sceneries and the glorious cultural connotations of Henan combine the merits of many other places of China. The overall strengths for the growth of tourism lie in the following aspects:
1. The ancient cultural tourist resources in Henan are superior in taste.
Henan is one of the cradles of the Chinese civilization. In China’s history of over six thousand years, more than 20 dynasties had their capitals settled in Henan. Of the eight ancient capitals, four of them, namely Luoyang, Kaifeng, Anyang and Zhengzhou, are in Henan. The province boasts of seven historic and cultural towns of national class, 51 historic and cultural sites of national class. The underground cultural relics of Henan rank first in China, while those above ground rank second. The museums of the province have a collection of over 1.3 million pieces of cultural relics, accounting for nearly one eighth of the total of the nation. Therefore, Henan is eulogized by historians as “The Cultural and Natural Museum of China”. Henan Museum, with a fine collection of the cultural relics of the Central Plains, is one of the few modern large museums of national class. Being “the birthplace and the founder of the Zen” in China, the Shaolin Temple is world-famous for the Shaolin Kung Fu. The White Horse Temple, honored as "the Cradle of Buddhism in China", is imbued with extensive and profound Buddhist cultures. The magnificent Buddhist statues in the Longmen Grottoes are recognized as one of the greatest carving art works in the world. Kaifeng, capital city of the Song Dynasty, has won people’s admiration for such ancient celebrities as Bao Zeng, a widely known high civil official beloved and honored for centuries, and the Family of Yang, great in military. The two major sources of Chinese martial arts, the Shaolin Kung Fu and the Taijiquan, both originated in Henan. As sources and heritage of cultures of thousands of years, Henan is of great tourist value with its antiquity and rich tourism resources of multi-dimensions.
2. The “Genealogical Culture” of Henan is unique and advantageous.
First of all, Henan is the origin of Chinese nationalities, the native place of Chinese ancestory. Those legendary rulers of China in remote antiquity, such as the Three Sovereigns (Fuxi, Suiren and Shennong) and the Five Emperors (Huangdi, Zhuanxu, Diku, Tangyao, and Yushun) all thrived on this land. The Yellow Emperor, the ancestor of the Chinese, was born in Xinzheng, next to Zhengzhou. Fuxi, the primogenitor of the Chinese people, established his capital in Huaiyang, a county in Henan, which the former Premier Zhu Rongji called the “Capital of Emperor Fuxi”. Secondly, just as the culture of the Central Plains is the origin of the oriental culture, Heluo Culture originated from between the Yellow River and the Luohe River and is the cradle of the Central Plains culture. Judging from the cultural relics found, Henan has such ancient cultural sites as the Peiligang Culture, the Yangshao Culture, the Erlitou Culture, and the Miaodigou Culture. Thirdly, the oracle bone inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty (16th—11th century B.C.) found in Anyang are the earliest Chinese characters found up to now. Next, great ancient works, such as The Book of Changes, which is profound in that it embraces ancient culture, and Tao Te Ching which is deep in philosophy, were both written in Henan. Finally, 73 of the 100 largest family names of China came from Henan, thus blessing Henan with the special advantages for special tourism programs on seeking the origin of one’s family and even that of the Chinese people or worshiping the ancestors.
3. Henan is rich in historical and cultural heritages.
With dynasties coming and going, the Central Plains witnessed one historic event after another amid the vicissitudes of the nations on the more than thousand-year-long history of China. Henan can also be called the origin of Chinese scientific and cultural history involving astronomy, medicine, seismology, philology, and philosophy of Taoism. Every inch of the land in Henan is soaked with cultural connotations accumulated in the long river of history that witnessed such great events ranging from wars at the end of the Shang dynasty (1600—1046B.C.), the chaos in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period (770—221B.C.), the uprising led by Chen Sheng against the Qin dynasty (221—206 B.C.) to the Taiping revolution in the Qing dynasty (1644—1911). Many classic Chinese ancient stories taking place on this land, including those mentioned above, were later boiled down to idioms known almost to everyone in China. The Book of Songs, highly praised as ancestral classic works of Chinese literature, is regarded as one of the cornerstones in Chinese culture, together with Elucidations of the Signs and Literature Explications of the Graphs by Xu Shen, the Jian’an school of literature created by Cao Cao (the great statesman in the period of Three Kingdom) and his son Cao Zhi. The prose of the Tang dynasty and the Song dynasty represented by Han Yu and those classic works of great poets such as Du Fu, Li Bai, Bai Juyi as well as many others represent the classical achievements of Chinese artists.
4. The natural scenery of Henan is characterized by both the majesty of the north and the delicacy of the south.
Lying on the smooth transition belt from south to north, Henan covers the four major river systems in China, namely the Haihe, the Yellow River, the Huaihe and the Yangtze River. Within its domain, there are two natural reserves of national class, such as the Jigong Mountain and Baotianman, 12 reserves of provincial class, five scenic spots of national class and fifteen scenic spots of provincial class, including the towering Taihang Mountains, the beautiful Dabie Mountains, the majestic Funiu Mountains and the grand Songshan Mountain (the middle one of the five major famous mountains in China), and the charming Yellow River sightseeing area, with a huge value to tourism and a great potential in integrative development.
5. Tourist festivals held in Henan have widespread and positive influence.
The Luoyang Peony Festival, held annually since 1983, has made a considerable influence all over the world. Zhengzhou International Shaolin Kungfu Festival has become an important window in the opening up of Henan towards the world, with its purpose of making friends by means of Kungfu display. The Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Festival boasts of its unparalleled scale, richness of variety and superior taste. Other festivals, including the Xinyang Tea Festival, the Sanmenxia Yellow River International Tourism Festival, the Xinzheng Yanhuang Culture and Art Festival on the origin of the Chinese culture, and the Yinshang Culture Festival, have served as important attractions to tourists all over the world and major windows for tourists to learn more about Henan.
6. Henan has an advantageous location for the development of tourism.
Having been called “Zhongzhou”, namely “Central China” since ancient time, Henan enjoys convenient transportation, which guarantees the development of tourism. Major railways such as Jingguang, Longhai, Jingjiu, Jiaozhi, Xinhe and Xintai cross each other in Zhengzhou, Shangqiu, Luoyang, Xinxiang and Jiaozuo. The cross-shaped expressways centering on Zhengzhou offer excellent service. Henan has three airports, located separately in Zhengzhou, Luoyang and Nanyang, among which Zhengzhou Airport, the 4E class international airport, serves as the standby airport of the Capital Airport as well as the major junction in the air transportation of Central China.
Henan Tourism Information website (www.hnta.cn): Hosted by Henan Province Tourism Administration (HNTA), constructed by Henan Province Tourism Administration Information Center (HNTAIC) and Henan Tourism Information Co., Ltd. and assisted by Henan Feng ITS, Henan Tourism Information website is a bigly and comprehensively portal net, assembling tour E-government, public information service and tour E-commerce for an integral whole. Since May 2004, the web has been expanded twice in large scale. Now, with various language versions, several tens tour channels, high web traffic, it already has been the first portal tourism web of Henan province.
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