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Tangshan: The Cradle of Chinese Modern Industry

       Tangshan

Tangshan (táng shān 唐山) is located in the central section of circum-Bohai Gulf (bó hǎi wān 渤海湾) region, facing the Bohai Sea in the south, depends on Yan mountains (yān shān 燕山) in the north, border Luanhe (luán hé 滦河) River, which ranks No.2 in North China, with Qinhuangdao (qín huáng dǎo 秦皇岛) city in the east, the west adjoin with Beijing and Tianjin (tiān jīn 天津). Tangshan is part of North China Plain, and it is the corridor linking two major regions of North China and Northeast China, making it a throat strategic area.
Tangshan was well known by the whole world for an earthquake. It suffered this earthquake of moment magnitude 8.2 (7.8 from official report) at 3:42 a.m. on July 28, 1976, which caused a tragically tremendous number of injuries and deaths. The official death toll was 255,000, but many experts believed that the actual number of fatality was two to three times that number, making it the most destructive earthquake in modern history. As a result of the earthquake, most of the town had to be rebuilt.
Historically, the Chinese modern industry started in this city. The first railway in China was built from Xugezhuang (xū gè zhuāng 胥各庄) to Tangshan in 1877 and the first fire-resistant material manufactory, and the first and largest cement manufactory were constructed in Tangshan as well.

Folk Art and Handicraft
Tangshan is a city of rich culture. It is the birthplace of Ping Opera (píng jù 评剧), the most characteristic local operas, and the shadow play (pí yǐng xì 皮影戏).

Ping Opera Ping Opera features beautiful singing. Songs are enunciated clearly and the librettos are easy to read and understand. Ping Opera performances are similar to folk song, with a free, lively style. Although Ping Opera was influenced by the figures and patterns of Bangzi (bāng zi 梆子) and Peking operas, it has preserved its folk origins and ties to everyday life. Ping Opera often depicts contemporary life, and is therefore popular in both urban and rural areas. Many famous Chinese Ping Opera artists are Tangshan natives, including Cheng Zhaocai (chéng zhào cái 成兆才), the creator of Ping Opera, and Zhao Lirong (zhào lì róng 赵丽蓉), who was loved by audiences around China.

Shadow playShadow play or shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment using opaque, often articulated figures in front of an illuminated backdrop to create the illusion of moving images. It is popular in various cultures. At present, more than 20 countries are known to have shadow show troupes.

 

porcelain of TangshanTangshan is well recognized as the Capital of Ceramics in Northern China (zhōng guó běi fāng cí dū 中国北方瓷都). The ceramic industry of Tangshan is relatively developed, making Tangshan one of the three major porcelain production bases. First founded over 600 years ago in the Ming Dynasty, Tangshan's ceramic industry is still flourishing today, with its products enjoying great popularity all over the world. As the Capital of Ceramics in Northern China, Tangshan has been hosting the annual China Ceramic Fair (zhōng guó táo cí bó lǎn huì 中国陶瓷博览会) successively for 10 years since 1998. Every September, hundreds of porcelain makers will come here from all over China and abroad with their best products, attracting numerous visitors and customers to the Fair.

Bone china of TangshanBone china (gǔ zhì cí 骨质瓷) is a type of porcelain that is composed of bone ash, feldspar and kaolin. Developed by English potter Josiah Spode, bone china is known for its hardness, high level of whiteness and translucency. Only few countries can produce bone china nowadays, and Tangshan is the birthplace of Chinese bone china as well as the largest bone china production base in the world. The component responsible for bone china's famous whiteness and translucency is the calcined bone ash, which makes up as much as 50% of bone china's composition. The advantages of bone china are its whiteness, translucency and durability. It is also thinner than other types of porcelain. The translucency of bone china is known for being the highest for porcelain, which artists often use to create semi-transparent appearances in their works.

Scenic Spots

         the Earthquake Memorial Hall

An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale happened in Tangshan at 3: 42 in the early morning of July 28, 1976. The 100-year-old industrial city collapsed in an instant and was in ruins. Such a disastrous earthquake and the damage it caused are rarely seen. Earthquake Memorial Monument Square, located at the southwest corner of Wenhua Road (wén huà lù 文化路) and Xinhua Road (xīn huá lù 新华路) in the center of Tangshan, was completed ten years after the earthquake. The Earthquake Monument (kàng zhèn jì niàn bēi 抗震纪念碑) and the Earthquake Memorial Hall (kàng zhèn jì niàn guǎn 抗震纪念馆) separately stand in the east and west of the square respectively. The whole square represents the earthquake-resistant spirit of strong will and perseverance, and the Chinese traditional virtue of "When one place is in difficulty, help comes from all sides (yī fāng yǒu nàn 一方有难, bā fāng zhī yuán 八方支援)".

Transportation:
Start from Beijing, drive on Beijing-Shenyang Expressway to Tangshan North Exit, go south into the downtown area, then along Jianshe Road (jiàn shè lù 建设路) to Tangshan Department Store and turn east to Xinhua Road. Within less than 100 meters the Earthquake Monument comes into view. Or you can take Bus NO.2, NO.10, or NO.11 at Tangshan Railway Station.
Tel: 0315-5265530
Ticket: RMB 20

The Eastern Qing MausoleumsThe Eastern Qing Mausoleums (qīng dōng líng 清东陵), located 125 kilometers northwest of Beijing, are among the finest and largest extant Mausoleum complexes in China. Like the Western Qing Mausoleums are the sacred burial grounds of Qing emperors, empresses and imperial concubines. Situated to the west of Malanyu (mǎ lán yù 马兰峪) Village in Zunhua (zūn huà 遵化) City, Hebei Province, the entire complex covers an area of 2,500 square kilometers.
The construction of the tombs was begun in the second year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi (kāng xī 康熙: 1663). The main Mausoleums include those of the following emperors, here listed with their reign periods: Shunzhi (shùn zhì 顺治: 1644-1661), Kangxi (1662-1722), Qianlong (qián lóng 乾隆: 1736-1796), Xianfeng (xián fēng 咸丰: 1851-1861), Tongzhi (tóng zhì 同治: 1862-1875), and Empress Dowager Cixi (cí xǐ 慈禧: died 1908). In addition, four Mausoleums containing the remains of 136 imperial concubines and one Mausoleum for princesses are also located here. The mausoleums of Emperor Qianlong, called the Yuling (yù líng 裕陵), and Empress Dowager Cixi, called the Dingdongling (dìng dōng ílíng 定东陵), have been renovated and are open to visitors.

Transportation:
There has many buses in the bus stations of Tangshan and Zunhua which leading directly to The Eastern Qing Mausoleums.
Tel: 0315-6945471
Ticket: RMB 120

Xifengkou Great WallXifengkou (xǐ fēng kǒu 喜峰口) Great Wall, one of the 32 important passes built by General Xu Da (xú dá 徐达) during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), is located 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Qianxi (qiān xī 迁西) County, Hebei Province. It occupies Luanhe Valley, a strategically important location where lofty mountains reach to the sky. Many famous battles took place in this area.
In terms of military considerations, Xifengkou Great Wall is divided into two parts: Guan Cheng (guān chéng 关城: frontier pass city) and a citadel. Guan Cheng is the pass where it is said one solider could guard against ten thousand invaders. It is the most concentrated stronghold along the defense line of the Great Wall. The architectural structure of Guan Cheng in Xifengkou Great Wall is peculiar linked together by an array of strong stone walls. The strongly fortified walls together with the watch towers strengthen the defensive capability of the Xifengkou Great Wall.
Now, due to the construction of the Panjiakou (pān jiā kǒu 潘家口) Reservoir, the main part of the wall has been submerged by the rising water but it is still dimly visible, which makes it a unique sight along the Great Wall. Look down at the Xifengkou Great Wall from the top of the mountain and you will see that it looks like a giant dragon zigzagging through the water.

Transportation:
Take the bus leading to Qianxi at Tangshan Bus Station, and get off at the mouth of Luanhe River.
Opening hours: 8:00-18:00
Tel: 0315-5892891
Ticket: RMB 10

    Jingzhong Mountain

Jingzhong Mountain (jǐng zhōng shān 景忠山) is located in Qianxi County, 180 km away from Beijing and Tianjin, 130 km from Chengde (chéng dé 承德), 160 km from Qinhuangdao, and 95 km from Tangshan city. It covers an area of 15 square kilometers, has more than 30 attractions in all sizes. The altitude of mountain is 610 meters and the construction of temples can be traced back to the Song Dynasty. In the third year of the region of Emperor Jiajing (jiā jìng 嘉靖) of Ming Dynasty, Ma Yong (mǎ yǒng 马勇) built the Primordial Lady of Emerald Clouds (bì xiá yuán jūn diàn 碧霞元君殿) and Heavenly Immortal Jade Maiden (yù huáng diàn 玉皇殿) statues in the east of Three Loyalty Temple (sān zhōng cí 三忠祠). Ever since then the Jingzhong Mountain became a religious shrine for the believers of Confucianism (rú jiào 儒教), Buddhism, and Taoism (dào jiào 道教). The Qing Emperors Shunzhi and Kangxi favored the religious mountain so much that they have paid six times visits to Jingzhong Mountain.
In 1992, the local people and the government of Jingzhong Mountain undertook a major restoration project of ancient buildings in the area. Constructions on the mountain such as Four Generals Hall (sì shuài diàn 四帅殿), Three Rounds Tea Booth (sān dào chá péng 三道茶棚), Sea-facing Building (wàng hǎi lóu 望海楼), and Southern Gate of Heaven (nán tiān mén 南天门) and other major buildings have been restored and open to tourists.

Transportation:
Start from Beijing, drive on Beijing-Shenyang Expressway to North Tangshan Exit via Fengrun (fēng rùn 丰润) District to Qianxi County Seat, and then turn northwest on Sanfu Road (sān fǔ lù 三抚路) to the Jingzhong Mountain at Santunying (sān tún yíng 三屯营) Town.
Tel: 0315-5844024
Ticket: RMB 40
 

Food

Chaigoubao Smoked Meat Chaigoubao Smoked Meat (chái gōu bǎo xūn ròu 柴沟堡熏肉): It’s a famous kind of cooked meat product with a history of over 200 years. It has bright deep plummy red meat and translucent meat skin. Fat but not greasy, lean but not stuff between teeth, it is has a delicious taste and a fragrant smelling. It is rich in nutrition.

Ginger Flower ChickenGinger Flower Chicken (lú huā jī 芦花鸡): It’s a well-known traditional dish of Tangshan. The main material is the chicken legs of the newly grownup hens in the ginger flower booming season, late autumn or early winter.


Chess Piece Sesame Seed Cake Chess Piece Sesame Seed Cake (qí zǐ shāo bǐng 棋子烧饼): It acquires this name since it looks as if a small drum and a chess piece. It is stuffed with meat, sugar, assorted vegetables, sausage, ham and others. The ingredients are mixed with lard and oil so as to make the cake crisper. The thoroughly baked cake has a wonderful golden color and a fragrant smelling. It’s crisp but not greasy, and easy to preserve.


Yishengyong Smoked Chicken
Yishengyong Smoked Chicken
(yì shèng yǒng xūn jī 义盛永熏鸡): It’s a well-known traditional dish of Tangshan, renowned as “The King of Smoked Chicken”.

 

Tips:
The transportation from Tangshan to Beijing and Tianjin is very convenient. There are many buses and trains to Beijing and Tianjin from Tangshan West Bus Station daily. In addition, Tangshan dishes have typical salty flavor of North China. Sea cucumber with pork joint, sliced fish with sauce and braised turtle rim are the specialties while the Tangshan honey sesame candy and Chinese chessman shaped pancake are the favorite snacks of locals.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2010 14:08
 

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