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In Ancient Home of Manchus
Winter is the best season to enjoy snow and Northeast China is the best place to find it. So why not make a trip to Shenyang in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, this winter?

Shenyang is one of the coldest cities in China, perfect for breathing chilly but pure air.

Shenyang is a famous scenic spot in Northeast China, renowned for its many ancient relics, beautiful scenery and convenient transport links.

Manchu Palace

The focus of tourism here is the Forbidden City, not the famous one in Beijing, but a similar one in Shenyang.

Before the Manchu people came to dominate central China and establish the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), they inhabited the northeast part of the country, where they built the palace in 1625.

The buildings cover more than 60,000 square meters and have more than 300 rooms and 20 gardens. Most of these are built in an extravagant but graceful style.

Sometimes, actors perform for travelers, enacting scenes from the Manchu imperial family's traditional ceremonies. Actors and actress in costumes act the parts of emperor, empress, officials and guards. Tourists can also take photographs for a small charge.

Fuling Tomb is another site that once belonged to the imperial family, serving as their mausoleum. Fuling is located on a hill in the east of the city. It backs onto Tianzhu Mountain and faces the Hunhe River, which is considered a most auspicious place according to Chinese geomantic tradition. Building a mausoleum in such a locations is seen as bestowing good fortune upon the younger generation.

The huge mausoleum is full of sculptures of horses, lions, tigers and camels. For Chinese people believing in life after death these sacred animals are seen as protectors in the afterworld.

At the end of the passage, there is a big hillock, under which the first Qing emperor and empress are buried.

In the north of Shenyang, there is another mausoleum, called Zhaoling Tomb, accommodating the remains of the second emperor and his wives.

Since Shenyang was an early capital of the Manchu people, many other ancient sites scattered about the city, such as towers, temples and small palaces, tell the old stories of this nationality.

Snow-capped Mount

If you like natural scenery, Qipan Mountain, 17 kilometers beyond northeastern Shenyang, is a good spot to visit.

As with many other beautiful mountains in the country, this one boasts forests, lakes and a wildlife park.

One unique feature is that every year, from December 20 to February 20, there are various activities held in the mountain, such as skating, skiing or performance events.

Even if you can't skate, just enjoying the snow-covered mountains, trees and houses suffices for a very enjoyable time.

Ludao Forest Park, which is 13 kilometers away from the city, is another great place to relax. It is actually a club, providing opportunities for golf, horse racing, shooting, fishing and bathing - a good place to kill time and rest.

If you want to learn something about the turmoil preceding Liberation in 1949, several museums such as the 9.18 History Museum, the Zhang Xueliang Exhibition Hall and the Liaoning Museum will teach you about the Chinese fight against Japanese aggression in that period.

(Shanghai Star January 3, 2003)

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