Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Get up close and personal with Pandas in the sichuan capital of Chengdu!

Chengdu, located in the southwest region of the People's Republic of China, is the capital of Sichuan province and a sub-provincial city. Benefiting from Dujiangyan Irrigation Project which was constructed in 256 B.C., Sichuan Province is reputed as "Tian Fu Zhi Guo", literally a place richly endowed with natural resources. Chengdu, as the capital, is extremely productive. The Min and Tuo Rivers, two branches of the Yangtze River, connected to forty other rivers, supply an irrigation area of more than 700 square kilometres (270.27 square miles) with 150-180 million kilowatts of water. Consisting of abundant mineral resources, the land is extremely fertile.

The history of Chengdu can be traced back 2,400 when the first emperor built his capital here and named the city. Through thousands of years its original name has been kept and its position as the capital and as the significant center of politics, commerce and military of the Sichuan area (once called Shu) has remained unchanged. Since the Han (206B.C.-220) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties when its handicraft industry flourished, Chengdu has been famous for its brocades and embroideries. Shu embroideries still enjoy a high reputation for their bright colors and delicate designs, ranking among the four main embroideries in China. Chengdu was the place where the bronze culture, an indispensable part of ancient Chinese culture, originated, the place where the Southern Silk Road started, and the place where the earliest paper currency, Jiaozi (not the dumpling!), was first printed. It is listed among the first 24 state-approved historical and cultural cities and owns 23 state and provincial cultural relic units.

In addition to its profound historical and cultural background featuring historic places of interest such as the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu , Wuhou Memorial Temple and Wenshu Monastery , etc, natural beauty abounds in surrounding areas such as in the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area and Huang Long Valley (Yellow Dragon Valley) . The natural habitat of giant pandas, Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center , supports the world's only giant panda breeding and research base.

The native language in Chengdu is Sichuanese, otherwise referred to as the Sichaun dialect. More precisely, the Chengdu dialect is widely used in lieu of "Sichuanese" due to largely different accents of Sichuanese speakers residing elsewhere. People from Chengdu (or Sichuan in general) tend to eat spicy food. Local specialties include Grandma Chen's Tofu (Mapo dofu), Chengu Hot pot, and Dan Dan Mien (literally meaning "Noodles carried on a pole") All three dishes are spicy. Mapo Dofu and Dan Dan Mien contain Sichuan peppers to give them additional flavor.

An article by rhe Los Angeles Times (2006) called Chengdu "China's party city" for its carefree lifestyle. Chengdu outnumbers Shanghai in the number of tea houses and bars despite having less than half the population. The inhabitants have a reputation in China for having a laid-back attitude and for knowing how to enjoy life.

Sampling the famous spicy Sichuan cuisine is a must on a trip to Chengdu. Enjoying the food as well as the culture, shopping and having tea at a teahouse afford a deeper understanding of Chengdu.

Improved land and airlines extending nationwide provide greater convenience. Chengdu is also the main inland access city to Tibet.

To get started in planning your trip to Chengdu head to http://www.greatwalladventure.com/ChinaCityTour/tour-chengdu.htm

For more great China travel destinations and tours visit http://www.greatwalladventure.com/index.html

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