Chengdu swarms with life. Introduction to Chengdu.
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There are teahouses full of earpickers and songbirds; department stores selling the newest international fashions; Buddhist and Taoist temples full of heavy incense and chanting monks; vendors hawking everything from pirated software to chicken feet; and everywhere, people. Life happens on the streets, in the markets and alleyways, restaurants and roadside shops and in Chengdu old and new China get along in splendid harmony.
Like all Chinese cities, Chengdu is a place of contrasts. BMWs share roads with roosters and a tourist can get a good cup of coffee and the International Herald Tribune or can feast on boiled blood and fish head. But Western culture has not made such inroads here as it has in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and Chengdu's appeal is that There are not McDonald's franchises on every corner, bicycles are still the overwhelming mode of transportation, and most Chengdu residents would still rather eat brain.
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province, China's second most populous with over 90 million people. There are 15 ethnic groups in Sichuan and it is common to See Tibetans, Uigurs, Miao, and Yao. Although Chengdu's population is only about two million, it is all a question of where one draws the city lines, and to get a sense of the city a better figure is its population density, which is nine times greater than New York's.
Maybe living on top of one another makes people merry, for the Sichuanese love to play and will often spend entire afternoons at nothing more productive then games of mahjong and endless cups of jasmine tea. They are proud of their way of life and, while some of their eastern cousins might call them lazy, the Sichuanese will always tell you, with a smile, that they have more fun. As one whiles away afternoons at teahouses and evenings at hotpot restaurants, it's easy to believe them. There is not the same competitive drive or acuteness of time here that one finds in the coastal cities, and while Chengdu is neither as modern or international as Beijing or Shanghai, it is possible for a tourist or expatriate to find all the comforts of home without being awash in them.
The isolation of Sichuan Province in the eighth century prompted Chinese poet Li Bai to famously proclaim, "it is more difficult to go to Sichuan than to get into heaven." While that's not true anymore, there is still enough "old China" in Chengdu to remind one that most of the Middle Kingdom is not discotheques and department stores, mobile phones and American movies but a culture at the tail-end of 5000 years of its own unique history. Undoubtedly Chengdu and the rest of China will change quickly, but for now, the city retains many older traditions and a distinct culture. Among the throwbacks to its rich past, Sichuan's most obvious are its teahouses, but There are also many parks, active temples, opera houses, and well-preserved historic sites.
Teahouses are everywhere here and are a focal point of Sichuan culture. French cafes with time to spare, they have a long history as places locals gather to discuss everything from dowries to politics. Locals don't argue dowries anymore, but many still talk politics and a visitor might suddenly find himself discussing the merits of the World Trade Organization or the significance of the quickly shrinking world. Teahouses are restive places, where retired men hang birdcages and no one ever hurries in for a quick caffeine pick-me-up.
Chengdu was the first of China's 30 provincial capitals to be awarded the title, "sanitary city," and it is a green city, as Chinese cities go. It is located on the flat Chengdu Plain, but 40 kilometers to its west wild and largely uninhabited mountains rise steeply towards the Tibetan plateau. Among many local sites are the world's largest panda reserve, the world's tallest Buddha statue, and one of China's four holy Buddhist mountains. Whatever one's interests, there is always plenty to do.
Sichuanese cuisine is arguably the best in China and if food is your passion, you will truly be in the proverbial tianfu zhi guo, 'the land of plenty.' Don't be fooled by Sichuanese food outside of Sichuan, it is a pale comparison to the spicy fare to be had here. The names of Sichuanese dishes are almost as interesting as the foods themselves, and There are such entrees as Pockmarked Grandmother's Bean Curd, Imperial Chicken, and Ants Climbing the Tree. Hotpot, a bowl of boiling oil and red pepper in which most anything can be cooked at your table, is a popular newcomer and, like teahouses, is an important part of Chengdu social life. Provided that one can get used to the hot red pepper and the numbing Chinese Prickly Ash used in Sichuanese cooking, they will eat well and cheaply. And if a person craves pizza, a hamburger, or even Japanese or Indian cuisine, there are authentic restaurants.
Chengdu, once the head of the Southern Silk Road, is famous for its silks. Other Sichuan specialties include lacquerware, silverwork, and bamboo products. Chunxi Road, in the heart of the city, is the main shopping street, though There are stores everywhere.
The best clubs and bars are in Yulin district (Yulinxiaoqu), in the south of the city, and in the center near grassy Tianfu Square, where a giant statue of Mao Zedong is lit by neon advertisements for beer and electronics.
There is something for everyone in this city Marco Polo called China's Paris, and expatriates and travelers will find both traditional and modern China. And, as the Sichuanese say in their heavy dialect, there will still be plenty of time to "swwar eehwar"-to play a little.
Dujiang Yan (Barrier Lake)
35 kilometers from chengdu, Dujiangyan is the oldest large-scale water conservancy project in China, a major historical site under state protection, as well as a national scenic area, characterized by its well-known irrigation system. Known as a ¡°field Museum of lrrigation Works¡±, Dujianyan was listed in the UN Education scientific and cultural Organization¡¯s List of World Heritage in 2000.
More attractions in China
- Attraction Chengdu
Chengdu swarms with life. Introduction to Chengdu.
- Attraction Chongqing
Chongqing is the largest city and inland harbor and a major transportation hub for southwest China. Introduction to Chongqing.
- Attraction Hangzhou
Hangzhou has altogether 12 national honors. Introduction to Hangzhou.
- Attraction Nanjing
As a famous historic city, Nanjing ranks with Xi'an, Luoyang, Beijing, Hangzhou and Kaifeng as six major ancient Chinese capitals.
- Attraction Qingdao
Beautiful City of Qingdao. Qingdao is a special city that combines the charm of south China with the generosity of north China.
- Attraction Suzhou
The city of Suzhou is praised as the earthly heaven for its fully developed traditional culture and its scenic gardens.
- Attraction Tibet
Most Tibetans are devout Buddhists while a few believe in the old Bon.
- Attraction Xinjiang
Xinjiang is one of the most exciting provinces in China.