The Place Fused History and Reality - Zhangjiakou


Located at a gate in the Great Wall of China, Zhangjiakou has historically been a communications and commercial link between Beijing, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. Zhangjiakou has unique topography. It is located at the juncture of the Hengshan Mountain, Taihang Mountains and Yan Mountains. The Sanggan River flows through the whole area. The city slopes downwards from the northwest to southeast. Energy is the foundation of Zhangjiakou's industry economy. The Zhangjiakou General Power Plant , with an installed capacity of 2.88 million KWh, is one of the largest thermal power plants in north China.

Zhangjiakou is a time-honored city north of the Great Wall inhabited by many ethnic minorities. In the Spring and Autumn Period ), its north part was inhabited by the Huns, while the south part was the territory of the Yan Kingdom . It had been divided into two shires in Sui Dynasty and has brought into the domain of the central regime of China. Zhangjiakou was long known as Kalganto much of the world. The name comes from the Mongolian word for “barrier”, which was an apt description of this key city's importance to Qing Dynasty ( 1644-1911).

Folk Art and Handicraft

Nowadays, paper cutting of Hebei and Shaanxi (whose captital city Xian is the starting point for Silk Road travel) were packaged together to win the bid. In Hebei alone, two types of paper cutting were grouped together to represent the Hebei style of this craft. They are paper cutting of Weixian County and the Fengning Manchu style of paper cutting. The Weixian County is particularly famous for its paper cutting skills in China and throughout the world. A number of the more refined items of paper-cuts have been exhibited in the National Art Museum of China and in a number of exhibitions sponsored by the United Nations. These products have been exported to 40 countries and regions throughout Europe, Asia, and the US to date.

paper cutting

These figures are cut from very thin tissue paper. Note the cut out areas where the background shows through. The originals measure about 4x5 inches. The brilliant colored figures are hand-colored and come from Weixian, a county about 200 miles from Beijing that is famous for this art.

These figures might be displayed alone or used to decorate a wall, and they might also be used as models and templates for the home artist to make other figures. To use them, one would make a rubbing of the template onto another piece of paper and cut it out with a very sharp knife. To make multi-colored figures such as those, one might first do woodblock printing onto the tissue papers, or assemble them from a mosaic of colored bits of paper.

The first three represent characters from Chinese Opera would be familiar to most Chinese. Those opera characters depict characters such as high officials who represent qualities such as justice, nobility or evil. The panda figures are intended for more "fun" projects, or might be used to decorate a child's room. The scenic style would probably be used as a decoration, too.

Scenic Spots

Yuhuangge ?

There are more than 10,000 residents in Buzili Historical Block, with a large elderly population. Walking in the town was like entering a labyrinth. The narrow alleyways are so confusing that you would have got lost without a guide.

Yuhuangge), a Taoist temple to worship the Jade Emperor, the supreme deity of Taoism. After the founding of New China in 1949, the temple became a residential property, until a few years ago, when it was put under state protection. But renovations haven't started yet. The compound was desolate and full of broken bricks and timber. Still, in one of the rooms, visitors can find 400-year-old frescoes, which were discovered accidentally a few years ago. The 6-sq-m colored paintings show the main figures of Taoism, but unfortunately the artworks were defaced. In spite of severe damage, visitors can still see how graceful the paintings must have been.

Wenchangge is located in the town center. It was amazing to see its Roman-style dome above the crossroads. It shows that Zhangjiakou was influenced by Western culture long ago.

Iron-framed windows and doors, which are common in big cities to protect against burglars, can hardly be seen here. On the contrary, most dwellings are open to visitors. The smoke of a coal stove on the roadside and many faded red slogans painted on the walls made visitors feel like they had ventured back into the 1960s.

Buzili shifted from being a military town to a commercial county in the 1700s. Thousands of traders flocked from all over the country to conduct business. Only the richest businessmen could afford to build luxury houses inside the town at that time, while the others had to live outside. This is why Buzili is dotted with various old buildings of different styles, including Beijing traditional quadrangle dwellings, Shanxi-style ones and Anhui)-style houses.


Take Bus NO.2 at Zhangjiakou Bus Station and get off at Binhe Middle Road, then get across the Qinghe Bridge and walk along Qiao West Street and Dongguan West Street, it should be about 750 m away.

Ticket: 25 RMB (unit for China money)

Qingyuan TowerQingyuan Tower, also named Bell Tower, sits in the center of Xuanhua . It was first constructed in 1482. Unconventionally shaped and ingeniously constructed, Qingyuan Tower has enjoyed the reputation of being “the second Huanghe (or Yellow Crane) Tower)”. The construction of the tower has a distinctive style and the appearance of a three-storey building when actually it has only two stories. Qingyuan Tower, 25 m high, has the appearance of being a three-storey building but actually it is two-storey.

On the first floor there hangs the bell of the prefecture of Xuanhua cast in the 18th year in the period of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty (1539). The bell, 2.5 m in height and 1.7 m in diameter, weighs 9999 jin (jīn 斤). It is set up with four great pillars in the middle of the upper floor, and the mellifluous and sonorous sounds can be heard over 20 kilometers away. The 19th son of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of the Ming Dynasty once built Shanggu Palace and stationed troops to guard against the foreigners. In 1774, when Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty passed Xuanhua in his inspection tour to the north, he appropriated 100,000 tales of silver for rebuilding Qingyuan Tower.

In 1900, the Eight-power Allied Forces invaded Xuanhua. Da’awu , the leader of Yihetuan sounded the bell to gather his soldiers and laid an ambush in the Yantong Mountain . They made a severe attack upon the enemy and killed their commander, Colonel York. Qingyuan Tower was badly damaged in the period of the Great Cultural Revolution. In 1986, Qingyuan Tower was completely rebuilt under the direction of the Culture Department. The tower now is richly ornamented and in majestic splendor. Everything is magnificent and of classic elegance. In 1988, Qingyuan Tower was designated major historical and cultural site under state protection.


Start from Beijing and drive on Beijing-Zhangjiakou Expressway to Xuanhua Exit. You can find the scenic spot when you come to Xuanhua.

Ticket: RMB 5

Generally, the Bashang Grasslands include four parts: Zhangbei Bashang, Weichang Bashang, Fengning Bashang, and Guyuan Bashang. The four parts are located in four different counties of Hebei Province. Zhangbei County of Zhangjiakou, located north of Emperors of the Qing Dynasty used to be places where hunting patrol. Clean air here, little pollution and is a complete preservation of natural grassland. In summer, the Bashang Grassland is among the favorite retreats of Beijing residents, who often spend weekend riding horses, picking Chinese red wolfberries and staying in Mongolian yurts on the grassland. The weather of the grasslands is cool and flowers are everywhere. Grassland scenery around this time is the best, and you can live in yurts unique style can bring their own tents.

Zhangbei Bashang The Bashang Grassland is an ideal place for tourists who join in summer packages of travel to China to escape the heat in summer . Located in Zhangbei County, the grassland is one of the closest summer resorts for the people of Beijing. A five-hour drive on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Expressway brings you to the Bashang Grassland, where temperatures are 5℃ -10℃ lower than in Beijing and Tianjin. The grassland is the very place where Genghis Khan once fought some eight centuries ago. The Mongolian Plateau rises abruptly from the Central Plain except in Zhangbei.

Zhangbei Bashang Because of its military importance and beautiful scenery, Zhangbei became the Zhongdu (central capital) of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) in 1307, but was abandoned in1311 due to a financial crisis of the central government. The central capital was built to be the most luxurious city of the Yuan Dynasty and sucked up the national treasury. With all wooden materials transported from southern China, the city was even more fabulous than the Great Capital at the site of Beijing during that period. Besides military functions, the Bashang Grassland also served life in peaceful times. In summer, the Bashang Grassland is among the favorite retreats of Beijing residents, who often spend weekend riding horses, picking Chinese red wolfberries and staying in Mongolian yurts on the grassland.

Ticket: RMB 30

Tel: 0313-5230572


1. Visitors can shuttle between Zhangjiakou and Beijing (very hot tourist city for last minute China travel deals), Datong with about four and five hours by train, and there are also many buses dispatched every 30 minutes from Zhangjiakou to other cities in Hebei or around.

2. Due to the great daily temperature differences in spring and autumn, visitors should wrap up warm at night.

  1. 2013/07/26(金) 16:54:56|
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