Chengdu is the capital of "Heavenly State" (Tian Fu Zhi Guo), habitat of giant pandas and city of cotton-rose hibiscus. Located in the west of Sichuan Basin and in the center of Chengdu Plain, Chengdu covers a total area of 12.3 thousand square kilometres (4,749 square miles) with a population of over 11 million. Benefiting from Dujiangyan Irrigation Project which was constructed in 256 B.C., Sichuan Province is reputed as "Tian Fu Zhi Guo", literally a place richly endowed with natural resources. Chengdu, as the capital, is extremely productive. The Min and Tuo Rivers, two branches of the Yangtze River, connected to forty other rivers, supply an irrigation area of more than 700 square kilometres (270.27 square miles) with 150-180 million kilowatts of water. Consisting of abundant mineral resources, the land is extremely fertile.
The history of Chengdu can be traced back 2,400 when the first emperor built his capital here and named the city. Through thousands of years its original name has been kept and its position as the capital and as the significant center of politics, commerce and military of the Sichuan area (once called Shu) has remained unchanged. Since the Han (206B.C.-220) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties when its handicraft industry flourished, Chengdu has been famous for its brocades and embroideries. Shu embroideries still enjoy a high reputation for their bright colors and delicate designs, ranking among the four main embroideries in China. Chengdu was the place where the bronze culture, an indispensable part of ancient Chinese culture, originated, the place where the Southern Silk Road started, and the place where the earliest paper currency, Jiaozi (not the dumpling!), was first printed. It is listed among the first 24 state-approved historical and cultural cities and owns 23 state and provincial cultural relic units.
In addition to its profound historical and cultural background featuring historic places of interest such as the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu , Wuhou Memorial Temple and Wenshu Monastery , etc, natural beauty abounds in surrounding areas such as in the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area and Huang Long Valley (Yellow Dragon Valley) . The natural habitat of giant pandas, Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center , supports the world's only giant panda breeding and research base.
Sampling the famous Sichuan cuisine is a must on a trip to Chengdu. Enjoying the food as well as the culture, shopping and having tea at a teahouse afford a deeper understanding of Chengdu.
Improved land and airlines extending nationwide provide greater convenience. Chengdu is also the main inland access city to Tibet.
Chengdu enjoys a subtropical monsoon climate characterized by an early spring, hot summer, cool autumn and warm winter. The best time to visit is between March and June or between September and November. The hottest season here is during July and August when temperatures can be almost unbearable although Chengdu does have a few nice spots (such as Qingchengshan Mountain) outside the city center where it is possible to get some shade and respite from the heat.
Panda Breeding and Research Center -
The Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center has been created and imitates the pandas' natural habitat in order that they might have a the best possible environment for rearing and breeding. The Center cares also for other rare and endangered wild animals. In 1993, the Giant Panda Museum was opened. the goal of which is to further scientific education and improve public awareness for protecting wild creatures and their environment. It is an important base for attempts to protect pandas in an alien land. The three main exhibition halls in this museum, which is said to be the only thematic museum for rare and endangered species are the : Giant Panda Hall, Butterfly hall, and the Vertebrate Hall.
Thatched Cottage of Du Fu -
This is the home of Du Fu, a famous poet who lived in the Tang Dynasty. Inside the thatched cottage: gardens are quiet; streams are winding; bridges and pavilions are interwoven; trees reach for the sky; plum trees and bamboos stand side by side; and classical architectural styles bring you a strong cultural atmosphere. This area includes several amazing structures, which creates an aura of solemnity, simplicity, elegance, and grace.
Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area -
This is known as the "Fairy Land on Earth". It became famous for its magical landscape of limestone formations, the forest ecosystems and animals on the brink of extinction, such as the giant panda and Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey. It is also well-known for its colorful lakes, snow clad mountains, valleys and virgin forest. Along the valley are scattering numerous colorful ponds of different sizes and shapes, which are strewn with gold colored limestone deposit giving a shimmering golden hue to water, so in sunlight, a golden dragon seems to surge forth from the forest. Thus it was named "Huanglong Valley" or Yellow Dragon Valley. Edged by snow-capped peaks and glaciers, the Huanglong Valley is praised for its colorful limestone ponds of blue, yellow, white and green, and is full of waterfalls and hot springs, flowers and animals.
Qingyang Palace -
Also known as the "Gray Goat Palace,this is one of the most famous Taoist temples is China. Two bronze animals stand in the Sanqing Hall, one of them has only one horn and the other has two. They are assumed to be goats. It is said that both animals can prevent disasters and destroy devils. Many important exhibits of Taoist cultural relics are also on display here at Qingyang Temple.
It is the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. It is the home of the Buddhist Association of Sichuan Province and Chengdu City. Highlights of the Wenshu Monastery are cultural relics from the Tang and the Song Dynasties.
Dujiangyan Irrigation System -
Dujiangyan is the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world; and a wonder in the development of Chinese science. The project consists of three important parts, namely Yuzui, Feishayan and Baopingkou scientifically designed to automatically control the water flow of the rivers from the mountains to the plains throughout the year. The most scenic place in Dujiangyan is the Anlan Cable Bridge, which as seen from afar, looks like a rainbow hanging over the river.
Wangjianglou Park -
Wangjianglou means River Viewing Tower. It is a lovely, historic place with forests of 100 varieties of bamboo. The tower overlooking the Jin River in the park is more than 30 meters tall and was once the symbol of Chengdu. The extremely splendid tower itself was built in memory of Xue Tao, a Tang Dynasty female poet who loved bamboo and wrote many poems here. With its imposing momentum and exquisite architectural style, it is a pearl of ancient Chinese structure.
Temple of Goddess of Mercy -
It was built in 1181 and then destroyed in the wars and was rebuilt several times. The 12 murals in the Hall of Murals, cover a combined area of more than 90 square meters. Their colors are still very brilliant. The large clay sculptures in the Hall of the Goddess of Mercy were all made in the Ming Dynasty.