Shenyang in China

Friday, 16 March 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  19 minutes

West Pagoda Street © Ecabal/cc-by-sa-4.0

West Pagoda Street © Ecabal/cc-by-sa-4.0

Shenyang, formerly known by its Manchu name Mukden or Fengtian, is the provincial capital and the largest city of Liaoning Province in the People’s Republic of China, as well as the largest city in Northeast China by urban population. The city’s urban area has 6.3 million inhabitants, while the total population of the Shenyang municipality, which holds the administrative status of a sub-provincial city, is up to 8.1 million. Shenyang’s city region includes the ten metropolitan districts of Shenyang proper, the county-level city of Xinmin, and two counties of Kangping and Faku. In the 17th century, Shenyang was conquered by the Manchu people and briefly used as the capital of the Qing dynasty.

Along with its nearby cities, Shenyang is an important industrial center in China, and serves as the transportation and commercial hub of China’s northeast — particularly with Japan, Russia and Korea. A center of heavy industry in China since the 1930s, and the spearhead of the Chinese central government’s Northeast Area Revitalization Plan, the city has been diversifying its industry.

Shenyang has classic northeastern Chinese cuisine. Traditional meals in the region are suan cai (also called Chinese sauerkraut), stewed chicken and mushroom, and meat pie. Korean food, such as rice cake and cold noodle, is a part of Shenyangers’ diet as there is a sizeable ethnic Korean population in the city. Also, as the area was traditionally occupied by Manchus, the cuisine in Shenyang was fundamentally influenced by Manchu food, as well as the famous Manchu Han Imperial Feast. Due to the sizeable Hui population in Shenyang, halal foods are a common and also enjoyed by non-Muslim people.

Two northeast folk dances, Er Ren Zhuan and Yangge, are very popular in Shenyang. The Big Stage Theatre near Middle Street is famous for its Er Ren Zhuan and Chinese comedy skit performances by Zhao Benshan and his disciples. Due to the popularity enjoyed by many Shenyang-based comedians, the city is nationally recognized as a stronghold of Chinese comedy. Shenyang is home of many performance art organizations, such as Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe of China, Liaoning Song and Dance Ensemble, and Liaoning Ballet. Many artists are from Shenyang, such as Zimei, Na Ying and the pianist Lang Lang.

  • Liaoning Provincial Museum, the largest museum in Northeast China. The museum hold many ancient relics and artefacts, including a selection of inscriptions in Chinese and Khitan that are some of the earliest known forms of writing.
  • Shenyang Steam Locomotive Museum, with 16 steam engines from America, Japan, Russia, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia and China.
  • 9.18 Historical Museum, a museum in memory of Mukden Incident on September 18, 1931. The museum has a shape of an opened calendar, and is located on the site where the Japanese troops destroyed the South Manchuria Railway, the prelude to the invasion of Manchuria.
  • Xinle Relic, located on the location where the Xinle civilisation was first discovered, containing a reconstructed Xinle settlement and housing artefacts discovered there.

West Pagoda Street © Ecabal/cc-by-sa-4.0 The arch entrance of Middle Street, a 3.5 km-long pedestrian shopping strip © Ecabal/cc-by-sa-4.0 © orca Mukden Palace © kallgan/cc-by-sa-3.0 Sacred Heart Cathedral of Shenyang © Roscoe x/cc-by-sa-3.0 Youths Avenue/Qingnian Street © ecabal/cc-by-sa-3.0 Dazheng Hall at Shenyang Imperial Palace © Wilson44691
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The arch entrance of Middle Street, a 3.5 km-long pedestrian shopping strip © Ecabal/cc-by-sa-4.0
Shenhe District
The Shenhe District (“Shen River district”) is the central area of Shenyang, and currently hosts the seat of the City Government. The old city wall is entirely located in Shenhe District. It has an area of 60 km² (23 sq mi) and a registered population of 717,000 (as per 2014). There is the Central Temple (Zhōngxīn Mìao), built during the Ming dynasty, showing the center of ancient Shenyang. This temple is located just south of the Middle Street (Zhōng Jiē), one of the most famous shopping streets and the first commercial pedestrian zone in China. Shenhe District is also home to the famous Wu’ai Market (Wŭài Shìchǎng), the largest light industry wholesale trading center in the entire Bohai Economic Rim. Shenhe District is the site of the Mukden Palace, just south of the Central Temple. It is also the site of Zhang Zuolin‘s former home and headquarters, Shengjing Ancient Cultural Street. In the western Shenhe District there is a Muslim town, and the South Pagoda (Nán tǎ) is located in southern Shenhe District. There are a lot of high-end hotels located in Shenhe District, such as Sheraton, Kempinski, Lexington, Marriott (which is the first Marriott Hotel directly named “Marriott” in mainland China, but due to finance conflicts is not administrated by Marriott International). The major thoroughfare of Youths Avenue (Qīngnián Dà Jiē), the city’s primary north-south arterial road that traverses past the City Government Square (Shìfǔ Guǎngchǎng) at the modern center of the city linking Beiling Park to the Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, separates the southern portion of Shenhe District from the neighbouring southern Heping District. The iconic 305.5 m (1,002 ft) Liaoning Broadcast and TV Tower is situated alongside this avenue. Shenhe District is also home to Northeast China’s main railway hub, the Shenyang North Railway Station (locally known as the “North Station”). The railways leading to the station forms the border between Shenhe District and the neighbouring eastern portion of Huanggu District. The station building has recently undergone a major overhaul and extension.

Heping District
The Heping District (“peace district”) is located slightly west of the center of Shenyang. It has an area of 59 km² (23 sq mi) and a population of 646,000. Heping District has all manner of commercial businesses that are brightly neon-lit at night, centered around Taiyuan Street (Taìyuán Jīe), one of the most famous shopping district in the Northeast. The district, better known as the downtown, sprung up around Shenyang Railway Station (known locally as the “South Station” in contrast to the “North Station” in Shenhe District), the former hub of the South Manchurian Railway. At the center of the district is Zhongshan Square (Zhōngshān Guǎngchǎng), which features one of China’s largest statues of Chairman Mao—a record of the era of the Cultural Revolution. Northwest of Zhongshan Square lies the West Pagoda Korean Neighborhood or Koreatown. Many of the boulevards in this area are lined of very large ginkgo trees, which become golden in color and produce their distinctive fruits in autumn. Heping District is also the core area for many political institutions in the Northeast, including CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee, headquarters of the Northern Theater Command (previously the Shenyang Military Region), General Logistics Department and the consulates-general of the United States, Japan, South Korea, North Korea and other countries. Northeast Electricity, China Post, railways, other such industrial hubs and many media outlets such as Liaoning Radio and Television, Shenyang Radio and Television and Shenyang Daily newspaper are also located in this district.

Dadong District
The Dadong District (“great east district”) is an industrial zone and used to be the largest of the inner city districts. Its name derives from the fact that the district started off as the residential area immediately outside the old inner city wall’s Fujin Gate, which is also called Great East Gate. It has an area of 100 km² (39 sq mi) and a population of 690,000. The district contains popular tourist landmarks such as the 9.18 Historical Museum, the North and East Pagodas, Bawang Temple and the Wanquan Park. The oldest airfield in Shenyang, the now-defunct East Pagoda Airport, is also located in Dadong District.

Huanggu District
The Huanggu District (“royal aunt district”) is named after Huanggutun (“tun” means village), where the Huanggutun Incident took place. The name is actually a mis-tranliteration of the pronunciation for Fiyanggū, the Manchu Prince Jian of the First Rank whose tomb was in the area. It has an area of 66 km² (25 sq mi) and a population of 818,000. The district is the site of Beiling park, the large historical mausoleum of Qing dynasty emperor Huang Taiji, as well as the Liaoning Mansion Hotel. It also hosts the seat of the Provincial Government of Liaoning.

Tiexi District
The Tiexi District (“railway’s west district”) is the most populous district and makes up the western part of the inner city, west of the South Manchurian Railway (hence the district’s name) and south of the Jingshen Railway, and is famous for its heavy industry. This mixed-use district also contains large blocks of residential complexes, so as well as strips of small to medium-sized shopping districts. It previously had only an area of 39 km² (15 sq mi) and a population of 765,000. In May 2002, the Shenyang city government annexed a large area of suburban land from the neighbouring Yuhong District to establish a new state-level development zone — the Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Zone (and transferred its administration to Tiexi District to form the Tiexi New District), thus giving Tiexi District the current “necked” shape on the map. The new Tiexi District now has a population of 908,000, a total area of 286 km² (110 sq mi), and enjoys the same administrative rank as a municipality (Administrative Committee of Shenyang). The district is featured in a 9-hour epic documentary film West of the Tracks by a young filmmaker Wang Bing. It shows the transition in this rust belt district—a palimpsest of not only Chinese but also world history. The first factories of this place were built in 1934 by the Japanese to produce war goods for the Imperial Army and nationalized after World War II. As late as the early 1980s, the factories here employed about one million workers, but all of them went jobless in the 1990s.

Hunnan District
The Hunnan District (“Hun River’s south district”), was formerly called the Dongling District (“East Mausoleum district”) before June 17, 2014, referring to the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed tombs dedicated to Nurhachi, the founder of Later Jin, and his empress Monggo-Jerjer. The large suburban district is located on the east and southeast side of urban Shenyang, with most of its territory south of the Hun River, hence its current name. It has an area of 734 km² (283 sq mi) and a population of 325,000. The Shenyang Botanical Garden and the Shenyang International Expo Garden (which hosted the 2006 International Horticultural Exposition) are also located in this district. Hunnan District hosts the city’s only operational commercial airport, the Shenyang Taoxian International Airport, and is rapidly becoming high-end residential areas with luxury apartments, fine neighbourhoods and commercial developments, as suburbs of Shenyang are growing steadily. The district is traversed by two corridors along two major highways, one leading to the Eastern Mausoleum and the neighbouring city of Fushun, and the other leading to the airport. Launched in 1988 as the Shenyang National New and High-Tech Industrial Development Zone and elevated to a national-level zone in 1991, the Hunnan New Area focuses on electronic and information technology products such as software, computers, network systems, communication equipment and audio/visual equipment; advanced manufacturing technologies, especially for automobiles, medical equipment; advanced materials and biological and pharmaceutical products. The zone has hosted more than 5,700 enterprises, including 700 foreign-invested enterprises. Foreign companies such as the General Electric Co., Tyco International, and Mitsubishi Group operate in the zone. Currently, the Shenyang City Government is working on expanding the city and plans to relocate its seat to the Hunnan New Area from the current site in Shenhe District.

Sujiatun District
The Sujiatun District (“Su family village district”) forms the southernmost part of the suburbs, located 15 km (9 mi) away from central Shenyang. The 2014 registered population of Sujiatun is 429,000 and it has an area of 782 km² (302 sq mi). Sujiatun is known mostly for its agricultural and industrial activity. It borders the districts of Yuhong and Heping to the north, Dongling to the northeast, Tiexi to the northwest; it also borders the prefecture-level cities of Fushun to the east, Benxi to the southeast, and Liaoyang to the southwest.

Shenbei New District
The Shenbei New District (“Shenyang’s north new district”), formerly Xinchengzi District (“new town district”), is a new development zone and forms the majority of the northern suburbs. It has an area of 884 km² (341 sq mi) and a population of 321,000. It borders Hunnan District to the southeast, Dadong and Huanggu Districts to the south, Yuhong District to the southwest, Xinmin City and Faku County to the northwest; it also borders the prefecture-level cities of Tieling to the northeast and Fushun to the southeast.

Yuhong District
The Yuhong District (“Yu and Hong district”) forms part of the northwestern and western suburbs. It has an area of 499 km² (193 sq mi) and a population of 436,000. It borders Shenbei New District to the northeast, Huanggu District to the east, Tiexi District to the south, and Xinmin City to the west. China Resources Beverage, the distributor of C’estbon Water, has its Northeast regional office in the district. The large southwestern part of the neighbouring Tiexi District also used to belong to Yuhong District, but in May 2002, the southwestern part of Yuhong District was ceded on order of the city government to establish the Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Zone, and the administration of the region was later transferred to Tiexi District instead. This annexation of land left an exclave territory lying between Tiexi District, Heping District and Sujiatun District, separated from the main body of Yuhong District, hence making the Tiexi District flanked at the “neck” by the two parts of Yuhong.

Liaozhong District
The Liaozhong District (“Liaoning’s center district”, referring to its central location within the province) is the newest and largest suburban district. Formerly the Liaozhong County, its rural county status was made defunct in January 2016, and formally instated as a suburban city district on April 11, 2016. It lies 67 km (42 mi) southwest of downtown Shenyang, near the intersection of G1 Beijing–Harbin Expressway and G91 Liaozhong Ring Expressway. As of 2014, it had a population of 533,000 residing in an area of 1,645 km² (635 sq mi). It is the most southwestern part of Shenyang City, bordering Xinmin City to the north, and Tiexi District to the northeast, as well as the prefecture-level cities of Liaoyang to the southeast, Anshan to the south and southwest, and Jinzhou to the west.

Xinmin City
TheXinmin City (“new residents city”), formerly Xinmin County before 1993, is a county-level city and contains the westernmost part of the Greater Shenyang area, and by far the most spacious of any county-level divisions of Shenyang with an area of 3,297 km² (1,273 sq mi), with a registered population of 691,000. It borders Faku County to the northeast, Shenbei and Yuhong Districts to the east, Tiexi District to the southeast, Liaozhong District to the south, the prefecture-level cities of Jinzhou to the west and Fuxin to the northwest. Xinmin has one of the leading horticulture industries in China, especially in apples, watermelon and white cabbages, as well as animal husbandry such as chicken and pigs. Light manufacturing is also an important part of Xinmin’s economy, with 57% of its GDP derived from food processing, pharmaceuticals and packaging products in 2012. The city also has access to the Liaohe oil field. There are also proposals to relocate the defunct East Pagoda Airport to Xinmin for reopening.

Faku County
The Faku County lies 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of urban Shenyang, and has an area of 2,281 square kilometres (881 square miles) with a population of 449,000. The county’s name is reportedly a phonetic transliteration of the Manchu word for fishing weir, due to the county’s fishing resources from its extensive network of rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The county borders the Kangping County to the north, Shenbei New District to the southeast, Xinmin City to the southwest, and the prefecture-level cities of Tieling to the east, and Fuxin to the west. Other than agriculture, Faku County has the richest source of minerals in the Shenyang area, including the largest reserve of kaolinite and wollastonite in China. As a result, in recent years the county has attracted a lot of foreign investment from the ceramic industry.

Kangping County
The Kangping County (“prosperous and peaceful county”) is the northernmost and most remote part of the Greater Shenyang area, and has an area of 2,167 km² (837 sq mi) with a population of 353,000 (2014). It was historically first established in 1880 under the blessing of the Guangxu Emperor, hence the name. The county borders the Faku County to the south, the prefecture-level cities of Tieling to the east, Fuxin to the southwest and Inner Mongolia‘s Tongliao to the north. The county is mostly agricultural, with majority of its GDP coming from crop and fruit planting. However, in recent years the synthetic fabric, carbon fiber and alternative energy industries begin to take hold in Kangping. The county currently has the third largest wind farm in the whole province.

Read more on TravelChinaGuide.com – Shenyang, Wikitravel Shenyang, Wikivoyage Shenyang and Wikipedia Shenyang (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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