Located in south of the middle reaches of Yangtze River, Hunan Province borders on Jiangxi, Chongqing, Guizhou, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hubei. It is named “Hunan” (south of the lake), as most part of the province lies to the south of Dongting Lake; abbreviated as “Xiang” from Xiang River, the biggest river flowing through the province with north south orientation.
With east-west linear distance of 667 km and south-north 774km, Hunnan covers an area of 211,800 km. With Changsha as its provincial capital, Hunan governs 13 cities, 1 Tujia and Miao minority autonomous prefecture and 122 counties in total, with a population of over 71 million by 2011, mainly including ethnic groups of Han, Tu, Miao, Hui, Dong, Yao, Hui, Uygur, and Zhuang, etc.
Featured by lots of elegant landscapes, profound historic cultures and colorful attractive folk customs, numerous historic sites, Hunan’s tourism resources can be summarized as three words: picturesque, magical and attractive.
Hunan Province is famous for its picturesque scenery. It not only has two World Natural Heritages –Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area with the famous Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (China’s first National Forest Park) in its southwest, and Mount Lang, but also has places with peculiar natural views such as Mount Heng – one of the Five Great Mountains in China, and Dongting Lake, as well as unique cultural landscape including Yueyang Tower, Yuelu Mountain and Yuelu Academy, Shaoshan noted as the birthplace of Mao Zedong, Ancient Town of Phoenix, the Mausoleum of Emperor Yan and Hongjiang Ancient Commercial City.
Emperor Yan and Shun, ancestors of Chinese nationality, were buried in Hunan. And there are lots of celebrities in Hunan history and numerous classic works were left by them. For example, Cai Lun who invented papermaking and made the first piece of fabric paper in the world, Qu Yuan, a great poet and one of the four ancient cultural celebrities in the world, and Qi Baishi, the most famous contemporary Chinese painter. Hunan has also given birth to a lot of great men, such as Mao Zedong and Liu Shaoqi, founders of the People’s Republic of China, Peng Dehuai, He Long and Luo Ronghuan, Three Marshals of PRC, and Yuan Longping who is well known in the world for the rice-hybriding skill. The former residences of these celebrities and the distinctive ethical folk arts of Miao and Tu ethnic minorities in Hunan are quite worth a visit.
As a capital of fun, Hunan has also been known throughout China for its “Screen Culture”, “Karaoke Culture”, “Pub Culture”, “Leisure Culture”, “Cartoon Culture” and “Hunan Cuisine Culture”. Hunan Cuisine, also called Xiang Cuisine, is one of the Eight Great Cuisines in China. The Xiang Opera, Huagu (Flower Drum), Shadow Plays, and Flower Lamp of Hunan are famous around the country. The traditional local specialties include Changsha Xiang Embroidery, Liuyang Fireworks and Firecrackers, Yueyang Fan, and so on. In Hunan you can also enjoy the fantastic evening shows, such as the classical Tianmen Fox Fairy show and Charming Western Hunan.