Shijiazhuang is a region where the human civilization is much earlier and its culture is very deep. At present Baifokou ashes are the earliest human ashes in the plain regions in Shijiazhuang, which have been 6000 to 7000 years old; In Xinle the ancient site - Fuxitai proves that Chinese ancestor-Fuyi lived there more than 6000 years ago; The Zhongshan Country's culture of the Warring States is one important link of Shijiazhuang's historic culture and is also one of the most brilliant culture in the world following the shang culture of Taixi, Gaocheng...
In the period of Han dynasty the district of Taihang Mountains in the west of Shijiazhuang was always one of important metallurgy bases where weapons, battle armors and implements of production were produced, so “Smelting River” was named after this; During Han and Tang dynasties Chinese Buddhism and Taoism were reviving and flourishing gradually so that the religious culture of Heng and Zhao states has left a piced of gorgeous canto in Chinese religious history. Bailin Temple in Zhao County is said to be built in East Han dynasty and is the oldest Buddhism temple in Hebei province; Anji Bridge of Zhao county which is the most resplendent historic achievement in Sui and Tang's culture is recognized as the earliest ancestor of large open-shoulder arched stone bridges and is regarded as an world human cultural legacy; The cultural celebrities- Wei Zheng and Li Jipu were born in Shijiazhuang in Sui and Tang dynasties; The famous officials -Fu Bi, Han Qi, Ouyang Xiu, Zhen Kuo, Su Shi and so on had worked in Hebei province successively and had left their traces in Zhending state, which accelerated the economic and cultural prosperity of this region.
Shijiazuang's architectural magnum opus in Jin and Yuan dynasties is the Bridge Palace of Fuqing Temple in Cangyan Mountain, Jingxing. The bridge and and the palace are integrated into one and flies across the deep gully just like a flying rainbow. And its design is artful and the architecture is majestic and steep, which reflect people's lofty architectural technology and esthetic achievement at that time. In the creative filed of art there is the famous fresco of Bilu Temple of Shangjing. These frescos inherited and developed Chinese traditional skill and technology and reached a high level on composition of pictures, drawing lines, color and characters. The fruits of physical science were very plentiful then: the famous mathematician and scholar-Lizhi's research on Tianyuan region of mathematic laid an foundation of Chinese primary algebra and marked the highest achievement of math in the world in 13th century.
In early 20th century, Pinghan railroad (Jingguang railroad now) and zhengtai railroad (Shitai railroad now) were built successively and combined with each other in Shijiazhuang. Shijiazhuang gradually developed accompaning with the building of railroads. In 1925 this city was originally called Shijiazhuang city (afterward it was once renamed as Shimen city).
On November 12th, 1947 Shijiazhuang was liberated and became one of the earliest big cities that were liberated. At that time, there was a population of 190000, 27 factories and a total industrial production value of 20 million or so. From May 1948 to March 1949 the Central Committee of the Commusnist Party of China and Chinese People's Liberation Army Headquarters were located in Xibaipo, where Chairman Mao and the Central Committee of the Commusnist Party of China commanded the three big battles shocking the country and the whole world, and called the second plenary meeting of the seventh conference of the Communist Party of China. In 1968 the capital of Hebei province was moved to Shijiazhuang from Baoding.
The reformation and opening provide Shijiazhuang the opportunity of participating international economy's cycle and constructing the modern metropolitan. Shijiazhuang draw's the domestic and international extensive attention with her abundant natural and humane resources and advantageous geographic position that Beijing, Tianjing, and Bohai Sea surround Shijiazhuang. In the recent years, the infrastructure of Shijiazhuang has developed very quickly and the city's function is gradually perfected, so that the urban roads' network of three horizonl, six vertical, two ring roads and twelve radiations has formed now. Many unique modern buildings and resident communities have risen above the ground. The appearance of the city has made great changes.
Nowadays in Shijiazhuang tall buildings standing up likes a forest, streets are spacious, and Minxin River is surrounding the city likes a jade belt, along which 20 parks beautifully decorate the city like thousand of flowers .
The origination of the city
1、The starting point of modern urbanization----haphazard opportunity, historic choice
According to the analysis of historic data, Shijiazhuang village was set up in the early Ming dynasty, which used to be Zhendingwei's army base and official government. Until 27th year of Kangxi during Qing dynasty (1688), the system of army base was abolished and Shijiazhuang become a village belonging to Huailu county of Zhending state, and it is opposite to the political center - Zhendingwei beyond the Hutuo River. According to the recordation of “the county annals of Hua in Guangxu period of Qing dynasty: “Shijiazhuang is 35 miles far on the southeast of county, and has six streets, six temples and four wells”. In early 20th century the area of Shijiazhuang was no more than 0.1 square kilometers and had a population of only 600 and 200 households
In 1902 the Luhan (Jinghan) Railway, which was invested and built by France and Belgium ran through Shijiazhuang and a station was set up in Shijiazhuang called zhentou Station that was named after Zhentou town near shijiazhuang. In 1903 Zhengtai (Shitai) Railway began to be built, and in order to reduce cost and avoid building bridge over Hutuo River the start point was changed from Zhengding to ZhentouStation. Thus Shijiazhuang became the connection of the two railways because of the haphazard factor. And from then on the small village made great changes at the beginning of the century and was pushed by the railways. The center of politics, economy, military and culture move toward the south, and Shijiazhuang replaced firstly Zhending, then Baoding and became one important town of North China, which guarded the south of Yan and Jing, controlled the strategic passage of Ji and Jin and connected the central plains of Qi and Lu.
The start point of Zhengtai Railway's moving toward south is the inducement that Shijiazhuang strode forward city from village; however, the true elementary factor is the rising and development of modern industry. Accompanying with the operation of railway, several morden industries were set up including Zhengtai Mechanical Factory (the predecessor of Shijiazhuang Vehicle Factory), Daxing Cotton Mill (Shijiazhuang Weave Stock Limited Company now), Jingxing Mine and Zhengfeng Mine, etc. In modern times large-scale industries had driven the rising and development of middle and small-scale industries. In 1920 Shicanglu open space was built on the east of the railway, and at the same time Pinghe Cotton Company and Wanhua Soap Company were rising on the east of the railway. Along with this, a lot of rural people poured into Shijiazhuang. Until 1930, only industrialists amounted to 16000, which speeded up the process of urbanization.
In early 20th century, Shijiazhuang was still a small village governed by Huailu County that was the goods distributing center connected Yan and Zhao, linked three Jins and was called prosperous dry wharf. However, along with the operation of Zhengtai Railway, the prosperous dry wharf moved towards the east gradually and finally Shijiazhuang replaced the position of Huailu. Increasingly flourishing business and service trades became another important factor of Shijiazhuang's urbanization.
2、Autonomy of Shimen city---from a small village to a city
This policy's implement brought on the traffic position's change of Shijiazhuang and also became the guide factor of this new city's growing up. On September in Guangxu 33(October in 1907) the whole railway line of Zhengtai was accomplished and opened to traffic and made the east of Shijiazhuang village became the connection of Jinghan Railway and Zhengtai Railway. With the backward highroads at thar times, the railway played an important role in goods'gathering and circulating. Thus the railway's position promoted quickly and pushed the entire rising of industry and commerce, service and finance, and speeded up the urbanization. Until 1925 the block area of Shijiazhuang on the west of railway amounted to 1.8 square kilometers and Shijiazhuang had formed the rudiment of small town, the scale of which was as large as Huailu county and Zhengding county. At that time the organizational system of Chinese city was in the process of establishment, and with such background on 24th, June he same year the Republic of China authorized that 11 cities belonging to Zhili provinces carried out the sysrem of autonomy from 1st, july and “Shijiazhuang city” took “Shijianzhuang” as its field. But because the population of Shijiazhuang village and its surrounding industry and commerce was not more than 10000, Huailu county decided to incorporate Qiumen and Li village on the east of railway to Shijiazhuang, thus the population of the new city amounted to 33077. By the negotiation of several sides, it was named Shimen city by choosing one chsracterrespectively from the names of the two villages: Shijiazhuang and Xiumen.
On 29th, August the same year the temporary government of the Republic of China authorized by No. 12713 instruction that: “combine Shijiazhuang with Xiumen and renamed it Shimen city”. From the file of the Republic of China at that time we can see that the term “city” is similar to the small town and county, and it was not a standard concept of organizational system or one-grade district, so at that time “Shimen city” just like “Huailu city”, “Zhengding city”and “Xinji city” which were auronomous cities, was only a kind of supervisory pattern of small town.
In 1928 China began to regard “city” as a kind of administrative system. Nanjing Republic Government promulgated “the Common City Organizational law Outline” and “the Special City Organizational Law Outline”, and also regulated the qualification and the procedures of examining and approving of establishing the common city and the special city, which was a forerunner of establishing the administration in the city in China. Howerver the11 previous so-called “cities” that carried out “the city’s autonomy” of Zhili province were cancelled because they didn't accord with the qualification obviously. Though Shimen didn't become one organic city, its urbanization was processing. Along with industry and commerce's continuous development, a lot of rural people poured into Shimen to enrich the industrialist, do business and service, or deal in small workshops of handicraft industry. Until 1930 the industrialist had amounted to more than 16000 people. On July 1933 the number of industrial and commercial enterprises were about 230 (including bank, private bank, industrial and commercial enterprise). Telecommication and post continuously developed as the traffic position's promotion,. To adapt to the increasingly developing industry and commerce, the social management departments were also increasing constantly such as Shimen Local Court, Shimen Local Procuratorate and Shimen Special Public Security in politics and law, and Shijiazhuang Total Taxes Administration, Shijiazhuang Reginal Tax Collection Bureau, Shimenon Butcher Inspection Tax Bureau, the Southwest Mine Tax Bureau, Hebei 9th Tobacco and Alcohol Examination Bureu and Huailu Flower Seed Tax Bureau, etc. in the taxation. At the same time army stationed in Shimen, gendarme, official and suite of all kinds of administration of department, stratacracy, sector of tax continuously extended. On June 1937 the total population of Shimen amounted to 72100 or so. From the scale of city and traffic position, Shimen had replaced Huailu town as the place of gathering and disseminating of goods between Shanxi province and Hebei province, and had been replacing Zhengding as the center of traffic, communication, and post.
On 10th, October 1937 Japanese invaders occupied Shimen. They paid great attention to Shimen's transportation position, so they took a series of measures to make Shimen as their military base for invading the North China.On one hand they increased the number of soldiers, extended the scale of city and enhanced the military position of the city; On the other hand they propped up the puppet regim, and on 15th, January 1938 they established puppet “Shimen Municipal Preparation Agency”. In 1939 the puppet Hebei Government Office submitted a document to the pupper North China Temporary Government Adminstrative Committee saying “the geography position of Shimen was very important, which was located in the centrum of Jinghan Railway and the start point of Zhengda Railway, products was abundant, industry and commercial gathered together, though the population was no more than 30000, the condition of politics and economy was special, please authorized to set up city.” On 7th,October the same year Wangkemin signed and issued “the Instruction of Adminstrative Committee “No.1027, Secretary” ” and authorized Shimen as a city.
In 1949 the railway from Shijiazhuang to Dezhou was accomplished and opened to traffic connecting Jinghan Railway and Jinpu Railway and the city's traffic and economic position was further promoted. In fact when Shimen was ruled by Japan, its political, military and economic position had been far higher than Zhengding and it became the central city of this region. Howerve, because the Japan-resistant democratic regime and armed forces led by Chinese Communist Party acted in the surrounding counties such as Zhengding, Huailu and so on, and constantly attacked the puppet government, Shimen was only an important military town ruled by Japanese invader and didn't posses the qualification as a central city on the aspects of administration, region's management, econimic radiation and culture's influence. On 12th, November 1947 the Chinese People's Liberation Army took back Shimen and set up the people's regime taking the city as the center firstly. On 26th, December the same year Shimen Municipal People's Government issued the notice that Shimen city was renamed Shijiazhuang city. At the same time the North China People's Government was founded, which marked that Shimen had become a politic center preliminarily. Since 1949, Shijiazhuang's political, economic and cultural position had been further promoted and it became a special administrative area dominating 11 counties including Zhengding , Huailu and so on. From then on Shijiazhuang really became the political center and also played an increasingly important role in the economic radiation and cultural influence. Thus Shijiazhuang thoroughly replaced Zhengding and became the central city of thepresent Shijiazhuang regions.
Culture of Shijiazhuang
The colorful folk arts in Shijiazhuang have great artistic charm and unique performance form such as Jingxing Lahua Dance , Jinzhou Guan Umbrella Dance , Luquan Beige Bance , Kuangqu Taihuangang Dance , Xinji Peasants’s Picture and Gengcun Village---the story village . At frist, they were just shown in the field or the fair . Now they can be performed on the street or square in the city , even in the elegant arts hall. They have gained many prizes in the national competitions or performances.
Shijiazhuang is a bright and beautiful skyline on the great North China Plain.A young city full of vigor and vitality has exhibited unrivaled graceful posture, magnificent bearing and colors, and changing rhythm of modern life.
The magnificent squares tell its breadth of vision; the blue water is rippled with its tenderness; the straight roads are extending far and wide toward its hopes; strings of fountains are singing the happy life of the people; the exquisite sculptures record the history of this provincial capital. 15 kilometers north of Shijiazhuang is a state class famous historical and cultural city, Zhengding. This ancient city is noted for nine towers, four pagodas, eight temples and 24 golden memorial archways. The Buddhist temples and pagodas and inscribed tablets all carry the dignified cultural background.
There are six cultural relics in the Longxing Temple that can be regarded as the best in the country. It is all-wood, for keeping Buddhist scriptures. It is a master-piece of wood-working art made in the 10th century. There is a 1,438 meter long historical and cultural street in Zhengding, a comprehensive scenic spot that has multiple functions of sight-seeing, film and video recording, shopping and pleasure seeking. The Zhaozhou Bridge is a wonder in the history of bridge building in the world. From 1,400 years ago to the present day, the bridge has withstood eight major earthquakes and the wash by numerous floods and it remains as solid as if it is newly built. This is Bolin Buddhist temple in Zhaoxian, the most ancient Buddhist temple in Shijiazhuang. According to historical record, the famous Buddhist scripture translator Master Xuanzhuang, or Tang Seng, Monk of the Tang Dynasty as we often say, studied Buddhist scriptures for six months here before setting out on his way to India in quest of Buddhist scriptures. The first Chinese Emperor of China died of illness in Shaqiu of Hebei Province on the way of his fifth inspection tour more than 2,000 years ago. Zhao Gao and Li Si and their company used a cooling cart to carry the remains of Qin Shi Huang across the Taihang Mountains here westward to Chang’an.
In Xibaipo, the first generation of the central collective leadership of New China did a lot of work for the birth of New China. In 1988, General Huang Zhen wrote an inscription there: New China comes from here.” Our journey of the “sacred place tour” also starts from here. This place is known at home and abroad in that the founders of New China worked and lived here. Now more than half a century has passed just like a glimpse of the eye. Seeing the objects reminded us of the owners. Everything here seems never changed. Despite the wash of time, people have never forgotten about this place. Instead, they have added bricks and tiles, planted trees and flowers, making it anew. There is a story behind every courtyard, every room, and every piece of furniture here.
To the northwest of Xibaipo, there is a small mountain village, called Gunlonggou. It used to be a place where the Xinhua News Agency was located. Numerous sons and daughters of the Chinese nation have sacrificed their youth and lives for the cause of independence of the state and liberation of the Chinese people. Group after group of foreign friends upholding justice, too, dedicated their youthful lives to the cause of the liberation of the Chinese people.
This is the Memorial Hall of Norman Bethune in the North China Mausoleum for Martyrs. Norman Bethune is remembered not only by the Chinese people but also remembered and respected by people of all countries in the world. Mao Zedong wrote the article “In Memory of Norman Bethune” in eulogy of his heroic deeds. Opposite to the tomb of Norman Bethune is the tomb of Dr.D.S.Kotnis. He was a great internationalist fighter.
Tainhang Mountains extend a thousand li, stretching and undulating, grand, magnificent and beautiful, just like a green giant dragon lying on the North China Plain. “Going in for green and returning to nature” is the most faddish term nowadays. The Cangyan Mountain, Zhangshiyan, Tianguishan are offsets of the Taihang Mountains, the green screen of the people of Shijiazhuang and the best leisure and tourism destination.
The magic of Baoduzhai lies in its precipitousness. It is a lonely ridge with hanging cliffs on the four sides, but on the top is an enchanting scene with dense willow trees and bright flowers, just like a heaven of peace and happiness. Baoduzhai has both the tranquil ancient flavor and the breath of the modern times. The structure groups and sculptures have developed their own features by drawing on the strong points of others.
“The hall is lit not by lamps but the moon; the mountain gate is not locked but awaiting the sealing by the clouds.” This is a poem left by an ancient man of letters to describe the beauty of Cangyanshan.
The Zhangshiyan is as famous as Cangyanshan. It is a state class scenic spot in the Zanhuan County. The Zhangshiyan has five major scenic areas. Jiu Nu Feng or Nine Fairy Peak is a signature of the Zhangshiyan Scenic Zone.
There are range upon range of hills and a vast sea of green forests in the south and grotesque peaks rise one upon another and oddly-shaped stones are like a stone forest in the north – these are the unique scenes of Tiangui Mountains.
Shijiazhuang is really well-endowed with the fine spirits of the universe; everything is so natural and so sentimental. The Creator has created so many fascinating changing scenes. Shijiazhuang is a fairy primrose on this land of the Kingdoms of Yan and Zhao. It is decorating its beautiful home with its grace and composure to greet friends and guests coming from the four seas..