Situated in the mid-south of Hebei Province, Shijiazhuang is the province's capital city, located 250 kilometers from Beijing. It is also a junction area of the railway, highway and postal service.
The city was originally set up in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and used to be the collecting and distributing center for goods to Yan, Zhao and San Jin. It was renowned as "the thoroughfare between the north and south, the throat of Yan (Shandong Province) and Jin (Shanxi Province)," and was once called "Shijia City" and "Shimen City."
Due to its location in the temperate zone, visiting tourists enjoy its continental climate. The four seasons are clearly demarcated with cold winters and hot summers. Shijiazhuang's annual average temperature is 13 C.
The city is more like a transit point than a place of interest.
Chengde was called Rehe in the past. It lies in the northeast of Hebei Province. Chengde borders Beijing and Tianjin on its south, Liaoning Province and Inner Mongolia in the north. The average temperature in the urban area is 8.8¡æ. It is neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter.
Chengde has a long history. As early as in the Zhou Dynasty (11th century ¨C 256BC), the Churong and the Donghu (minority nationalities of China) started to inhabit here. Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty (206BC-8AD) first set up Youzhou County, and Chengde was under its administration. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Chengde was under the governance of Zhili Province, which was known as Rehe Province in 1928. It was finally confirmed as Chengde City in 1955.
Richly endowed by nature, Chengde enjoys a special landscape. In 1994, the Chengde Mountain Resort and the outer temples were ranked as the World Cultural Heritage by UNSCO. It owns many No.1s of the world: the largest imperial garden -- the Mountain Resort; the biggest group of the imperial temples -- the Outer Eight Temples; the biggest wooden Buddha -- the Goddess of Mercy with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes; the shortest river -- the Rehe River; the quintessence of the Great Wall -- the Jinshanling Great Wall; the incomparable stone pillar -- the Qingchui Peak; the most peculiar pine -- the Jiulong (nine dragons) pine, so on and so forth. Chengde enjoys the fame as the secondary capital and the bright pearl beyond the Great Wall. Being one of the Top 10 Scenic Spots and the Top 40 Tourist Wonderlands, Chengde is among the cities proclaimed by the State Council as the famous historical and cultural cities of the first batch. It is also the one of the best open cities of China.
125 kilometers away from Shijiazhuang City in the south, 141 kilometers away from Beijing in the north and 155 kilometers from Tianjin in the east, Baoding City lies in the central part of Hebei Province. It has under its jurisdiction 3 districts, 4 county-level cities, and 18 counties.
Baoding has a convenient transportation with both Beijing-Guangzhou railway and road running through it and a network of regional roads. It only takes 2 hours from Beijing to Baoding by the newly built Beijing-Shijiazhuang Expressway.
Baoding is a cultural city with more than 2,000 years of history. Two relics of the Yangshao Culture have been found here. In the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, Baoding City was called Baoding Lu; in the period of the Republic of China and the early stage of the PRC, Baoding was the capital city of Hebei Province. The Lianchi Academy set up in the Yongzheng reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was well known all over the country. The Old Lotus Pond was one of the Top Ten Ponds at that time.
Baoding is a national historical and cultural city with unique scenery and plenty of places of interest. Places for tourists are the Old Lotus Pond, the provincial government office of Zhili Province in ancient times, the Baiyang Shallow Lake reputed as "the Bright Pearl in North China", the West Tomb of the Qing Dynasty in Yixian County, the Tomb of the Han Dynasty with Jade Clothes Sewn with Gold Threads and the Changxin Palace Lantern, the north Yuefei Temple in Quyang City, the Kaiyua Pagoda in Dingzhou. It also has more than 300 scenic spots such as the Yesanpo in Laishui at the state level, the Zhuozhou Movie City for CCTV.
As the capital of the Zhao State in ancient China, Handan has been nourished by the special culture. The rich sites of human culture inherits and continues the historical connotation of thousands of years here and the charm of Handan just lies in its ever-flowing cultural river.
Located in the south of Hebei Province, Handan City neighbors Taihang Mountains in the west, faces the Fuyang River in the east and has the Zhanghe River cutting through its south. It is low-lying and belongs to the South China Plain. About 450 km from Beijing, Handan has developed into an important industrial city in south Hebei.
As one of the famous historical and cultural cities in China, Handan has a civilization of more than 7,000 years old. Archeologists found grain cellars, house ruins, sacrificial articles and other relics of 7,000 years ago, proving that millet and domestic chicken first came into being here. Handan has a history of more than 2,500 years as a city. It was once the capital of the Zhao State during the Warring States Period (475-221BC), and witnessed eight monarchs and 158 years of tripartite confrontation. In the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), it was equally famous with Luoyang, Linzi (today¡¯s Zibo in Shandong Province), Wan (today¡¯s Nanyang in Henan Province), Chengdu and other cities, and became one of the five big cities nationwide. At the end of the Han Dynasty, Cao Cao built the camp for the King of the Wei State, and renamed it as Yecheng. Six dynasties in the history built their capitals here in Handan in succession, and the city became the political, economic and cultural center in the Yellow River valley. Many literary quotations and famous tales have something to do with the history of Handan.
Handan has the continental monsoonal climate. The mean annual temperature is 13¡æ -- the hottest month, July, with the highest temperature of 38oC and the coldest month, January, with the lowest temperature of 20oC. The mean annual precipitation is 627 mm, mainly in July and August. The frost-free period is 235 days. In spring, it is usually dry in Handan. The city enjoys convenient transportation, with the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway, No.107 National Highway and the Beijing-Shenzhen Speedway running through it. The establishment and renovation of a group of star-rated and foreign-oriented hotels has greatly improved the conditions of reception services, and provide a favorable environment for sightseeing in Handan.