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Changsha -- 'Long Sand Isle'
Changsha is a beautiful old city located on the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway and the Xiangjiang River in the eastern part of Hunan Province. It got the name of Changsha - "long sand isle" - because of a shoal in the river. Changsha belonged to the State of Chu 2,500 years ago and was later ruled by the Qin Dynasty. Today, it is the political, economic, and cultural center of Hunan, of which it is the capital. It is a comprehensively developed industrial city, with machinery, textiles, and food processing as its mainstays. Changshan's handicraft products include porcelain, embroidery, carved bamboo articles, and stone carvings.

Yuelu Hill

This famous scenic area is on the west bank of the Xiangjiang. The ancient Lushan Temple on the hill slope, built in A.D. 268 by Emperor Wu of the Western Jin Dynasty (263-316), is one of the oldest monasteries in Hunan. The huge yew podocarpus tree standing in front of the temple is said to be more than 1,700 years old. There is a clear spring near the temple, named White Crans Spring (Baihequan), whose water, when boiled, gives off whirling steam said to look like a flying crane. The Loving Youth Pavilion (Aiwanting) at the foot of the hill was built in 1792 during the Qing Dynasty; the beauty of this spot, with its blossoming peach trees, graceful willows, and flowing streams has attracted many poets and artists.

The Yuelu Academy of classical Learning, hidden in the woods, was built at the beginning of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and was one of the greatest classical academies of that time. Zhu Xi (1130-1200), a famous Confucianist philosopher, used to teach here. The late leader of the Chinese revolution, Mao Zedong, also studied here.

Other places of interest to tourists include King Yu's Stele (yuwangbei); the tomb of Huang Xing, a martyr who gave his life to the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty; the tomb of Cai E, a general of the Northern expedition against the traitor Yuan Shikai in late 1910s; Snake Cave (Mangshedong); and the legendary Rock That Flew Over (Feilaishi). Yuelu Hill is charming all year round, with pink peach blossoms and green willows in spring, a pleasant climate in summer, colorful maple trees in Autumn and snow-covered evergreens in winter.

Orange Isle (Juzizhou)

This tiny island, one square kilometer in area, lies in the Xiangjiang under the newly built Xiangjiang River Bridge. Tourists can get to the island by a ramp or by a spiral staircase from the middle of the 1,500-meter-bridge. Groves of orange trees are found at the southern tip of the island, and the Heavenly Heart Pavilion (Tianxinge), built on the remains of an old wall dating from the Han Dynasty, commands a panoramic view of the river and of the city of Changsha.

Han Dynasty Tombs at Mawangdui

Mawangdui is a horseshoe-shaped mound of earth about ten meters high and thirty meters in diameter situated at a place called Wulipai in the eastern suburbs of Changsha. It contains three ancient tombs belonging to the family of Duke Dai from the earl Western Han Dynasty. The coffins and burial objects in the Number One and Number Three tombs were all in excellent condition when they were unearthed during 1972 and 1974. The most fascinating archaeological find here was the well-preserved female mummy discovered in the 2,100-year-old Number One tomb. The tomb has also yielded a rich hoard - more than three thousand pieces in all - of cultural relics, including silk books, silk paintings, bamboo slips used for writing before paper was invented, lacquerware, and silk fabrics. The Number Three Tomb has been restored to its original state for the benefit of visitors.


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