Resources in the series Cities of China
We talk a lot about the massive urbanization that has taken place in China since the 1980s but what does it look like?
I have been to Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region twice. The first time was in 1992; a teammate and I took the train. Back then it was a journey that took two days and three nights; today the fastest train makes the journey in 30 hours. On my second visit to Urumqi (in 2004) I also travelled by train, but from the southern Xinjiang city of Kashgar. That was a 24-hour run along the edge of the Taklimakan Desert.
One of the striking things about the coastal city of Qingdao is the surviving European feel of much of the older sections of town. Qingdao was a German colony from 1898 to 1914, and unlike most other cities that had once been under colonial rule, the old European zone was not razed.
When I was living in Changchun in the 1990s, as the city was beginning to shed the past and put on a modern skin, I often wondered what it would look like twenty years hence. This video answers the question.
Harbin, situated in the heart of China’s northeast is the capital of Heilongjiang province. Once part of the Manchu homeland and later a Russian outpost, the city today is one of the major industrial and commercial centers of northeast China.
Here’s a question for you: what was the capital of China when Jesus was born? If you said Luoyang, in Henan province, then you are correct! It was the capital of the Han Dynasty, which lasted from 206 BC to AD 220.
You may have heard that Chongqing is China’s largest city by population (approximately 30 million), but as is the case with many things in China, “nothing is as it seems.”
I’ve only been to Dalian once, and that was way back in 1992. I was studying Chinese in Changchun at the time, and a classmate and I decided to head to Dalian for a weekend getaway at the only western hotel in the city, a Holiday Inn. Western food! CNN! It was great.
My first visit to Wuhan was in January of 1984. I was travelling with a group of 17 teachers on a boat trip down the Yangtze River from Chongqing to Wuhan. We disembarked in Wuhan three days before Spring Festival, and set out to acquire 17 train tickets to Guangzhou. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
I have been to Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, twice and have three distinct memories.
My first visit to Chengdu was in 1985, just before the Spring Festival holiday in late January. Having just completed one semester of teaching in Zhengzhou, Henan Province my teammates and I decided to take a boat ride down the Yangtze River from Chongqing to Wuhan on our way out to Hong Kong for a teaching conference. A dozen or so other teachers working in other parts of the country wanted to make the journey as well, so we decided to meet up in Chengdu.