As the capital of Liaoning Province and the largest city in the northeast of China, Shenyang is an energetic business and transportation center. It features the only existing royal palace in China outside of the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Three Mausoleums UNESCO World Heritage Site, a large forestry park and a great number of natural scenic spots and historical remnants.
Shenyang Mukden Palace (Shenyang Imperial Palace)
The Mukden Palace was the palace of the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors before moving their capital to Beijing. Built in 1625, the palace shows hints of Manchurian and Tibetan styles and it was home to the first three Qing emperors. The palace has now been converted into a museum conveniently called the Shenyang Palace Museum, boasting more than 10,000 relics. The museum has more than 300 Manchu-style buildings, covering an area of 60,000 square meters. In 2004, it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List as an extension of the Imperial Palace site, or the Forbidden City, in Beijing.
Three Mausoleums of Shengjing
The Three Mausoleums of Shengjing refer to the Fuling, Zhaoling and Yongling Mausoleums, the three royal mausoleums of the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Located in current Shenyang (called Shengjing at the time), the Three Mausoleums were included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2004. The Fuling Mausoleum, built between 1629 and 1651, belongs to the Qing Emperor Nurhach and his queen, Xiaoci Gao Yehenala. The Zhaoling Mausoleum, built in 1634, is the tomb of Qing Taizong Huangtaiji and Empress Boerjijite. Buried in the Yongling Mausoleum, built in 1598, are the remote ancestor, great grandfather, grandfather, father, uncles and wives of Nurhachi, Emperor Taizu of the Qing Dynasty.
Shenyang Botanical Garden
The Shenyang Botanical Garden, located about 10 kilometers (6.21 miles) away from the city center, was the site of the International Horticultural Exposition 2006. The Shenyang expo was the largest one in the expo’s history. Covering an area of 246 hectares, the garden exhibits thousands of flower and plant kinds, including azaleas and tulips, across its 53 domestic gardens, 23 foreign gardens and 24 specific gardens. A number of themed flower exhibitions are hosted here during different times every year. Undulating hills, a lake rippled by the breeze, flowing waterfalls, elegant pavilions and evergreen pine trees can also be found in the garden.
Marshal Zhang’s Mansion
Marshal Zhang’s Mansion, built in 1914, is the former residence of Zhuang Zuolin (chief of the Fengtian-faction Warlords) and his son Zhang Xueliang (a statesman of great achievements). This mansion is a large architectural complex located in central Shenyang City. Covering an area of 3.6 hectares, it is composed of an east courtyard, middle courtyard, west courtyard and several buildings outside. The traditional Chinese-style courtyard houses and gardens are well combined with the European-style Daqing Building, Bianye Bank and Honglou buildings. Xiaoqing Building and the Building of Miss Zhaosi make for a sound combination of Chinese and Western features. The mansion has been listed as an outstanding architectural complex in modern China and it was converted into a museum in 2002.
Qipanshan Scenic Area
The Qipanshan Scenic Area, located at 17 kilometers (10.56 miles) northeast of Shenyang City, is the largest natural scenic spot in Shenyang. It is composed of Qipanshan Mountain, Huishan Mountain, Dayangshan Mountain and Xiuhu Lake, also known as the Three Mountains and One Lake. The scenic area was named after the megalith sitting on the mountain which resembles a chessboard. It is famous for its green plants in spring, colorful scenery in summer, maple in autumn and snow in winter. The Shenyang International Ice and Snow Festival is held here from December to February every year, with millions of visitors enjoying snow sculpting, alpine skiing and other activities.
Shenyang National Forest Park
Located in Magang Town, Xinchengzi District, the Shenyang National Forest Park is 40 kilometers (24.85 miles) south to the urban center. Covering an area of 9.33 square kilometers (933 hectares), the park boasts dense forests, fresh air, mountains and waters, various species of rare plants and wild animals, as well as a number of pavilions and caves. The Shiren Mountain in the park is the highest peak in Shenyang. It is an ideal place for summer holidays.
Located at 29 kilometers (18.02 miles) northeast to Xinmin City, the Liaobin Pagoda is a historical remainder of a 1000-year-old ancient city. It resides at the convergence of Liaohe River and Xiushui River, which formed an important transport path and key military terrain in ancient times. Measuring 41.7 meters in height, the pagoda is a multi-eave octagonal brick tower with thirteen stories. The base of the tower is 10 meters high, with a shrine containing a statue of the Buddha on each side of the tower.
Shenyang Magic Slope
As we all know, it’s always easy to go downhill, but difficult to head up a slope because of gravitation. However, there is one strange slope in Shenyang that will break this concept of nature. The slope is 80 meters in length and 15 meters in width, higher in the east and lower in the west. When a car stops at the foot of the “hill,” it will automatically slide upward and can go downward only when you turn on the engine. This “gravity-defying” slope was uncovered in 1990 by a young policeman and nowadays has become a famous travel spot. The phenomenon remains a mystery though…
Shenyang Four Towers
The Shenyang Four towers were built around Shengjing City (now called Shenyang City) in 1643, by the early Manchu ruler Huangtaiji. The towers in the north, south, east and west are named Falun Temple, Guangci Temple, Yongguang Temple and Yanshou Temple respectively. They symbolize the Four Heavenly Guardians who help protect the people from natural disasters.
Shenyang Bird Island
The Bird Island, also known as Ganhezi Island, is the only natural bird watching area in Shenyang. It is an island located in the Hunhe River water system, covering an area of 49.26 hectares. With its forests, brushwoods, wetland and ponds, it makes the a perfect habitat for wild animals, especially wild birds such as the red-crowned crane, swan, peacock, wild goose, heron, parrot, sea gull and ostrich.