China Insight Series - Zhengzhou (郑州)

The Insight Series for 2014 continues! This series focuses on the Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China as defined by the China Ancient Capital Society.

These capitals include the cities of Luoyang, Xi'an, Beijing, Kaifeng, Nanjing, Anyang, Zhengzhou and Hangzhou. Each of these cities has served as the Capital between 216 and 1,309 for various governments in China. 

Zhengzhou (郑州)

Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan Province, is located in the middle of China. The famous Shaolin Temple near this city is the cradle of the Chinese martial arts that provided the inspiration for Kung Fu movies. The name Zhengzhou comes from a city in the Sui Dynasty, but its actual location was in modern day Chenggao.

During the Tang Dynasty, the name switched here. The area remained unimportant until it was selected for development by the Chinese Government after 1949. Zhengzhou is a vital transportation hub especially for railways as many important railway trunks pass the city such as the Longhai Railway (Lanzhou to Lianyungang) and Jingguang Railway (Beijing to Guangzhou).

The city is a national historical and cultural city and also the first destination for any Henan Tour. The ancient city was the capital of Shang Dynasty (16th - 11th century BC) 3,500 years ago when porcelain and the Chinese technique of bronze smelting were comparatively more developed. A green ceramic glaze pot unearthed in Zhengzhou has been shown to be the most ancient porcelain in China. A long history has left the city with many cultural and historic sites. Shaolin Temple situated at the foot of Mt. Song is the cradle of Shaolin Kong Fu. One of the four Academies of Classical Learning in the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), Songyang Shuyuan, gives a complete depiction of Chinese ancient education. In addition, many ancient tombs, temple buildings and battle sites all show the dense culture of the city.

Songyang Shuyuan     The ruins of Shang Dynasty

The best place to experience the culture of the Yellow River is the Yellow River Scenic Area in this city. It is about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) northwest of Zhengzhou, situated on the southern bank of the Yellow River. There are green lands, clear waters, pavilions, scattered statues with interesting histories, inside the scenic area. With more than 20 years of development, the scenic area is now a national tourist destination with modern amusement facilities, which appeals to thousands of tourists from all over the world. This Yellow River Scenic Area is the ideal viewpoint to appreciate the mother river of China.

Yellow River Scenic Area     Zhengzhou Eastern New District

The Zhengdong New Area, also known as Zhengzhou Eastern New District, similar to Hangzhou Bay New Area in Ningbo and Hengqin New Area in Zhuhai, is just one of dozens of major economic zones that are currently developing in various regions of China. The provincial and municipal governments established and developed Zhengdong New Area, Mr. Kisho Kurokawa, a Japanese world-renowned planner and architect, was appointed to design the overall planning scheme for Zhengdong New Area. He brought in advanced ideas including ecological city, co-existing city, metabolic city and ring city ideas. The scheme won the "Prominent Award for City Planning Design" at the first session of Annual Meeting of the World Architects Alliance in 2002.

Confucian Saying of the Month


Zǐ zài chuānshàng yuē: "Shì zhě rú sī fū! Bù shě zhòuyè."

Standing by a stream, the Master said, "Time goes on and on like the flowing water in the river,
never ceasing day or night!"

Chinese Character of the Month

This Chinese character is a pictographic character. The top part (人) is like the roof of a house in ancient China. The middle part (干) is a similar image of the curtain of the house and the bottom part (口) is the base the house was built on. So the three parts collectively mean the house. The other interpretation treats this character as a phonogram made up with 人(rén) and 舌(shé, refers to the tongue), meaning a place where people come together and have a chat. Today, the character can be used as a verb or a noun. As a verb it means to give up; as a noun, it means a hut, or house.

舍弃 Shěqì – abandon, give up

依依不舍 yīyī bù shě – cannot bear to part

舍不得 shěbudé—grudge

宿舍 sùshè —dormitory

旅社 lǚshè – hostel

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