Chengde has been doing remarkable well in recent years and today's Chengde is certainly not a rural farmers town but a small but modernized city. Originally but a city of some 700.000 citizens, not all of them rural, the population has soared in the last 10 years, leading to a total head count of around 1.5 million today. This does not include those who come to Chengde for a short holiday or a weekend getaway.
Although much of its rural charm has been retained, much of the city has been rebuilt, citizens have moved into new and modern appartments, and outsiders, holiday goers as well as private and corporate investors have raised extensive suburbs of holiday villa's and lofty appartments. Altogether, the face of town has been drastically repainted and in many ways, Chengde has become a rural satellite of the much larger metropolis of Beijing nearby.
Easy connections, upgraded since the turn of the millenium have improved railway traffic and the giant toll road leading south-west ward to being has raised the city of Chengde and its economy to a new level. Unlocked from its previous mountainous seclusion, many Beijngers now travel from Beijing by Car to see Chengde in a day. Regular shuttle buses carry the lesser off and altogether, during the tourist high season it becomes a huge crowd. When visiting Chengde, try and stay out of the public holidays such as the mayday "Golden Week" and the October 1st National Holiday.
History of Chengde :
Chengde Climate & Weather :
Chengde has a continental climate with the average sunlight of over 3000 hours annually.
Chengde Basic Knowledge :
Location : 40° 58' North, 117° 55' East
Elevation : 327 meters, or 1,073 feet.
Surface Area (of County): 39.519 Square kilometers (15,258 square miles).
Population: The Total Population of Chengde City Prefecture is around 3.6 million (2004 census), of which the urban citizens of Chengde City count a total of 457,300, or almost half a million (as late as 2009).
Chengde was originally known as Jehol and also as Rehe.
CHENGDE DURING THE QING DYNASTY:
In the year 1703 AD, during the Kangxi Reign of the Qing Dynasty Era (1644 AD - 1911 AD) Chengde or Jehol as it was known then became the official site of an Imperial Summer Palace. There was another Summer Palace just outside of the walled city of Beijing, the Imperial Capital but the Chengde Palace had a special and unique function and background. The main reason for this special function lies in the fact that the Qing were in essence a foreign Dynasty. They were Manchus i.e. people from the North-Eastern Regions and the great thing about Chengde was that it lay just strategically situated between Beijing and Manchuria. In fact, the city and Palace are located just outside of the Great Wall of China, which during the later years of the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD - 1644 AD) had all been part of Manchuria, their native country.
After the Manchu invasion of China beyond the Great Wall and the establishment of their Rule, the Chengde Palace quite literally became pivotal in the relations of the two countries within a larger Empire. Thus, the chosen location of the Palace was very much symbolical in nature. It had to have great Feng Shui, but be of practical use as well. It was just the right location within the right surroundings. When the Emperor and his Court arrived in Chengde in order to escape the paralyzing heat of the Capital Beijing, Chengde - nothing more than a rural town with a Palace, became the political center of the entire Chinese Empire. In addition, after its establishment by the Kangxi Emperor (Reign: 1661 AD - 1722 AD), the Palace and city also became the most important diplomatic center of the realm, a place where, in a decor more befitting to the nomadic peoples living alongside the borders of the Empire, large scale and lenghty negotations could take place. In history Chengde was therefor often turned into a large nomadic encampment of Tents, and official envoys of allied or enemy tribes could be received at the Palace, whereas reverence and respect were payed to their various beliefs by erecting the eight large outer temples, place where religious ceremonies could underpin the diplomatic accors signed and the tentative friendships started.
At some distance from the town and the Imperial Palace lay the Imperial Hunting grounds where the Emperor and his guests could enjoy their hunting, meanwhile showing off and/or building personal friendships and admirations.
The city of Jehol, as it was known to the Manchu, reached its height in the Reign period of the Qianlong Emperor (1735 AD - 1796 AD). The great monastery temple of the Potala, loosely based on the Potala in Lhasa, was completed after just four years of work in 1771. It was heavily decorated with gold and the emperor worshipped in the Golden Pavilion built atop its roof platform. In the temple itself a bronze-gilt statue of Tsongkhapa, the Reformer of the Gelugpa sect was enshrined. However, the statue was attacked and demolished during the period of the Cultural Revolution (1966 AD - 1976 AD) and for political reasons (The Gelugpa sect is the sect of the exiled Dalai Lama of Tibet) no statue has been replaced it since.
During the Reign of the Xian Feng Emperor (1850 AD - 1861 AD) of the Qing Dynasty Chengde remained favorite as the Imperial "Summer Palace" however it became the semi-permanent home of the Court upon the launching of a Foreign Invasion of Tianjin and Beijing during the second opium war (also known as the Arrow War). Having fled to his beloved Jehol, the Emperor had been saved from capture at Foreign and Barbarian hands, however his Palace was still desanctified when he was forced to sign the humiliating Tianjin Treaty which extorted yet more cash, land and other special favors from the reeling Qing Court. It was such an astounding shock to the Nation, Court and Emperor, that the latter, already a weak and frail minded person fell ill, never to recover.
At the end of the drama, the Xian Feng Emperor died at his Jehol Palace, his last deed leading the nation further down the path of destruction.
In a story often told by tourguides (See also: "Summary History and Descendancy of the Qing Dynasty") the Lady Yehonala managed to pry a crucial favor from the ailing Emperors hands. Upon his death she would become an Empress-Dowager, a position which she would use to stage a Coup D'Etat which would allow her to control state affairs until her death in 1908 AD.
Of the eight outlying Temples, the Buddhist Pule Temple home to the worlds largest wooden statue, and also the nearby Putuo Zhong Cheng Temple hailed as the "Mini Potala Palace" are by far the most well-known and the most visited. The other temple complexes are however equally worthwhile.
Other treasures of the City are less famous, at least internationally and include the ancient Daoist Temple
Ethnic Minorities in Chengde City
Chengde used to be home to a fairly large Muslim Minority, mainly of Hui Descent. However, with the influx of new and affluent 2nd home owners in Chengde, their relative size has dwindled to a few percent of the population. The Main Mosque of the Hui Community is the central Mosque situated at Central Square in the Shuangqiao District. A secondary mosque is the older and more original XiSi - western Mosque.
Chengde Public Transport
This page was last updated on: May 15, 2017
Maps of Chengde & Prefecture
Chengde is a city in Hebei Province of north China (P.R.C.) situated about 200 kilometers due north-east of the national Capital Beijing. Historically the town was known as Jehol.
Ever since the year 1703 AD, when the remote village was selected as the site of a Royal Palace, Chengde is famous as the home of the Fleeing the Heat Mountain Villa (Bishu Shanzhuang ; 避暑山庄), the Summer Hunting Resort of the Qing Dynasty ( 1644 AD - 1911 AD) so named for its location in the lavishly green and rolling hills of South Manchuria. Although situated between the outer- and inner layers of the Great Wall of China in these parts, the Manchu considered it to be part of their native homeland Manchuria. Throughout the Qing Dynasty, it served as the secondary political center of China under the Qing Court who often resided there. It was during this time that the great gardens, the Palace and the large outer Temple complexes of Chengde were built.
(The) Chengde Report
Introduction to Chengde (承德) City and Prefecture of Hebei Province :
Chengde Report Sources
Short how to Use of the Chengde Public Transport System including Taxi and Bus & Trains. Usefull in getting you on your way. Digital photograps to go with each story and explanation, Chengde City Maps. Do's and Don'ts of Chengde Taxi hiring.
Short Introductionaries and Extensive digital photographic Tours + researched backgrounds or history of All major Chengde City Monuments , Landmarks, Museums and other places of interests. Hot-spots of Culture, Art and history. A Small selection of recommended Hotels.
A growing number of Short Introductionaries and Extensive digital photographic Tours of Monuments from China's history and other Excursions outside the City of Chengde (proper). Text and historical backgrounds to the landmarks of the City & immediate region.
All sources used in the Creation of this Website. Sometimes with short or extensive description.
All Online sources used in the Creation of this Website. Bibliography of links to Information Sites on Chengde and Chengde City Monuments and Hot-spots.
Offline sources used in the Creation of The Chengde Report & Chengde Virtual City. Bibliography of Books, articles , films and other material usefull in the Discovery of China and Chengde's fleeing the Heat Mountain Resort. Background readings and sources.
A Map depicting All Sites in Downtown Chengde
All Maps used in this Website : Downtown Chengde, and additional Maps of City, Prefecture and Region.
Chengde Report - Chengde City Maps
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All Best Photos of Chengde City in One Great Gallery !
Chengde has only one railway Station, which connects the small City with the Main Railway Station of Beijing (Beijing Zhan) and other regional destinations. Chengde is further connected to the Capital Beijing by means of the G45 Highway (and S11 Road).
Due to necessity as well as convenience, the main train station of Chengde is situated in the extreme south of the Shuanqiao district of the city, where it is placed on the east bank of the river just north of the narrows which gives access to the valley in which the town, now grown to city size is situated. Find it on CheZhan Jie' (Airport Road).
Altogether the town and palace and China's largest preserved regal garden are beautifully situated within a elongated and flat bottomed valley along a sweet tasting river, the Luan. Protected by the surrounding Hills it has excellent Feng Shui caracteristics, many of which can still be enjoyed today. The Imperial Palace Resort has been turned into a museum and became a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1994. It consists of the Royal Palace and its Gardens proper, but is further completed by 8 complexes of Temples (dubbed the "8 outer Temples" offering a magnificent and compact journey through culture and time. In the vicinity of the City one can enjoy views of the countryside and explore some of the natural wonders and scenic rock formations of the city and prefecture.
Through its famous historical landmarks of the Imperial Palace and Garden, as well as the 12 adjoining Temples Chengde is one of of China's many historical and cultural cities, and in north China it is one of the leading scenic spots. The City of Chengde today is a popular tourist destination as well as a summer holiday retreat for the upper- middle class of the region. It also attracts its fair share of foreign Tourist, all of whom crave to have a browse of the fabled and rare preserved regal gardens, and the surrounding Temple complexes.
Originally but a poor and remote peasant
town in the hills of the north-eastern Hebei , since the dawn of the Millenium Chengde has been a booming city which has grown remarkably in size. Where there were originally but 3 modestly sized villages with their fabled Temples and Gardens strewn in between along the banks of the Luan
River, there are now three thriving city districts built along the river valley. Although the city and prefecture are named after the village of Chengde in the south, the role of main city district has since been taken over by the Shuangqiao (Double Bridges) District due north of Chengde Town proper. Yet further up the valley, along the west bank of the Luan He, yet another former farmers village is being developped into a suburb of the resort city of Chengde. This is the Shiquangou Zhen District (Zhen = village with administrative council).
Altogether Chengde is a great destination for anyone seeking to escape the husstle and busstle of the giant metropolis of Beijing and yearning to find a slighly more rural taste in the region. At convenient travel distance from urban Beijing, Chengde offers exactly such an
An artist impression of Sengguan Feng (Feng = Peak), an amazing natural rock formation found just south of the main city district at Sengguanfeng Scenic Area.
A large Bronze Statue of the Qianlong Emperor found in the center of Shuangqiao District. The Qianlong Emperor, grandson of Kangxi was the one of the extend the Chengde Palace and make it truely great.
Chengde railway station itself is modest in size, fairly dull but otherwise modern. There are but a few platforms.
Outside and in front of the main station is a wide parking space, which is usually clogged with local taxi drivers looking to send tourists off to their assigned Hotels. Make sure you know the fair price and be on your way.
BUS & STATIONS IN CHENGDE:
Many important Bus connections run via the main Train Station (Chengde Zhan).
The main Bus Station of Chengde however can be found in the extreme south of town, beyond and south of Chengde Town.
Chengde Car East Station as this station is named, can be found on the east bank of the Luan River along 101 National Road and lies but half a kilometer from the main intersection leading up to G25 Changshen Expressway (Toll Road), the main car route to Beijing.
A single tracked railway passing through central Shuangqiao District some ways south of the Imperial Summer Palace.
BICYCLES IN CHENGDE:
Although it remains dangerous sections of Chengde are very pleasant to bicycle. All structures within the flat valley and along the Luan River are fairly easy to reach without too much effort. The green hills beyond are more of a challenge. Bring your own bicycle if you are into serious mountain biking !
Find several bicycle rent stations along the road leading up to the Imperial Palace Complex.
of Guixing Lou on a Hill overlooking the City and river, the Buddhist Shuaxian Temple found in the western hills overlooking Shuangqiao District and of course the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetary of Chengde, the shrine of a modern China.Yet leser attractions can be found dotted around the Shuangqiao District. These are the bronze Qianlong Emperor Statue, the main city Mosque at central square and the western Mosque.
The landmark Guixing Lou Daoist Temple Pagoda, overlooking Chengde City, the Luan River and valley.
The ignominious Shengguan Feng rock, the signature landmark of Chengde City can be found due south of the central city (Shuangqiao District) and due east of the village center of Chengde (District) situated on the west bank of the river within its very own scenic area, the Shengguan Feng Scenic Area.
To get there simply follow the Yingbin road (and S101 National Road) southward along the river from the main station and follow the road signs to Shengguan Feng.
Other wildlife and reserve area's are strewn around the city center of Chengde and Shengguanqiao. West of Shuangqiao District up in the surrounding hillsides lies the Tongshan Park and north of it the western mosque. Someways further along the valley and railway line leading west lies yet another park, the larger NiaoYulin National Scenic Area.
On the East side of the large Imperial Garden of Chengde and its accompanying eight Temples lie the small Eight Outer Temples Scenic Area and beyond of it the huge Qingchuifeng National Park. Measuring almost 3 times as large as the Chengde Imperial Gardens, the Qingchuifeng Park provide plenty of space and greenery to bicycle around in and enjoy the peace away from it all.
Even further north, well up the river and the railway line leading in that direction lies yet another reserve, the Chaoyang Cave Scenic Area which offers more forest to explore as well as access to an underground cave system.
For more details on the Landmarks, Monuments and Hotspots of Chengde City, please refer to the seperate chapter. See Button below.
Fashionable nouveaux riche girl vacationing in Chengde.
View of the magnificent complex of the Buddhist Putuo Zhong Cheng Temple, the Mini Potala built in the Qing Dynasty in order to reconcile the various ethnic groups.
View of the wide boulevard leading up to the main tourist magnet, the Imperial Mountain Villa and its impressive classical Chinese Gardens. Ever since the complex was named a UNESCO world cultural heritage site Chengde has become a target for investments and the whole city has been redone. Many new restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues and even small boutiques have sprung up where virtually none were before.
Ancient tablets and steles and their depcitions at the Daoist Guixing Lou, the best look-out point in the city.
option without the necessities of uncomfortable, long and far travels. Apart from the cultural treasures spread about the valley, Chengde offers great cuisine, and an amazing landscape to explore and enjoy.
Schematic Map depicting the area's of North-Eastern China overtaken by the Yi Ho Tuan Movement of 1900 AD (The Boxers).
Nearing the end of the Qing Dynasty, during final foreign invasion in the showdown of the 1900 AD "Boxer War" Chengde once more became the focus of Royal attention when it was selected as the immediate destination for the flight of the Empress Dowager out of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) and the City of Beijing. It seemed the Fleeing the Heat Mountain Villa would once more see a period of blossom as the location of the Qing Court as it was in Manchuria, and the surrounding countryside was symapthetic and populated with the "Boxer Rebels". However, after rumors spread that Foreign Armies were already advancing to cut off the road from Beijing, a new route was chosen leading the Imperial Court of the Empress-Dowager and the enslaved Guangxu Emperor north-west ward to the Datong and henceforth to Xi'An in the south-west to sit out the political turmoil.
CHENGDE DURING THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA (1912 AD - 1928 AD):
Under the Republic of China, Chengde was the capital of Rehe province a region which found itself increasingly under pressure from Japanese interests and later outright encroachment
upon the regions.
CHENGDE IN THE SINO-JAPANESE WAR:
Chengde, which had been in Japanese hands since 1937 AD, when a new limited Japanase advance came from Manchuria and across the Great Wall into Hebei Province.
During the year 1945 AD when the Japanese Empire was struggling for survival the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.) invaded North China and on their way to capture the important mineral riches and heavy industries of Manchuria reached the City of Chengde. In their wake followed the troops of the Chinese Communist Party, who under Leadership of Mao Zedong, did their very best to gain as much Chinese Territory as possible in preparation for the next war. The war of the communist against the nationalist Party, Kuomintang. This particular move was strategically very important as it would prove later that the opening battles of the second Chinese civil war would take place in the North and North-East.
Read More about the History of Chengde (Jehol) in the "History of Chengde City & Prefecture".