Hebei (河北; Héběi) is a province in China of approximately 75 million people surrounding Beijing. The province’s land area forms the core of the pancake flat China Northern Plain. This is industrial China at its most raw: smog, relentless and incredible construction, and traffic stretching along expressways. While its attractions are obscured by its industrial output, the province has plenty of sightseeing, outdoors, and skiing in a region where few international tourists venture.
Table of Contents
- Middle point between Beijing and Tianjin
- Sanhe – Administratively part of Langfang, but this exclave of Hebei is becoming an exburb of Beijing
- Tangshan – Steelmaking city that alone produces more steel than the United States
- Xiongan New Area – Eco-friendly city under construction for relocation of non-core government offices and personnel from Beijing
- Baoding – Historic capital of Hebei
- Dingzhou – Tallest surviving, pre-modern pagoda in China rises over the small city
- Handan – Home of the Xiangtangshan Grottoes, Buddhist reliefs carved into limestone cliffs
- Xingtai – Industrial city with settlement history stretching back 3,500 years to the Shang Dynasty
- Hengshui – Industrial city known for fine handicrafts including glass bodied painted enamel and inside painted snuff bottles
- Cangzhou – City of the famed 1000-year old Iron Lion statue
- Eastern Qing Dynasty and Western Qing Dynasty tombs – Imperial burial grounds on opposite sides outside of Beijing
- Beidaihe – Beijing’s seaside resort in the summer and the best beach in the region
- Baiyangdian Lake – One of the largest freshwater lakes in the north China; during the summer a popular place for boat rides through blossoming lotus pads
- Baishi Mountain – One of north China’s most picturesque mountains
- Zhengding Ancient City – Walled city with over 1,000 years of history as an administrative and religious center including towering pagoda temples
- Chongli – Some of the country’s best ski resorts, location will be the skiing venue of the 2022 Winter Olympics
- Hongya Valley (Hongyagu Scenic Area) – Walk across the world’s longest glass bridge
- Bashang Grasslands – Grasslands of far north Hebei hosted the imperial hunting grounds of Mulan Weichang during the Qing Dynasty; today the scenery is a mosaic of grassland pastures, beautiful fields of yellow canola flowers, and sheep herds
Hebei is located in the northern part of the People’s Republic of China. It is encircled by the Municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin. It adjoins Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the north, Henan Province to the south, Liaoning Province to the northeast and Shandong Province to the southeast.
Chronicle of Hebei
Chengde, Hebei ProvinceThere were several changes which happened in the region around Chengde, also part of the Rehe state and the region around Zhangjuakou, then a part of the Chahar state. These were later united into Hebei and broadened its region beyond north of the Great Wall of China. During those time, the capital moved from Tianjin for a short period to Shijiazhuang.
The most painful earthquake hit Tangshan on 28th July 1976. It killed over 240000 people. Several small scale earthquakes struck the city in the coming years.
Geography of Hebei
Most part of Hebei is covered by Hai watershed in the central and southern part. It is adjoining with the Bohai Sea in the east. There are a number of reservoirs in the hills and mountains of Hebei. In Anxin county, one of the largest lake of Hebei is known as Baiyangdian.
Hebei Province has a continental monsoon climate and the temperature during January varies from -16o Celsius to -3o Celsius and in July between 20o Celsius – 27o Celsius. It mostly rains in the summer months with about 400mm to 800mm a year.
The city of Zhangjiakou, Handan, Qinhuangdao, Baoding, Tangshan and Shijiazhuang are the most important cities in the province of Hebei.
Economy of Hebei
Hebei ranked 6th in 2006 with a GDP of 1.16 trillion Yuan, an increase of 12.9 % from the previous year. The GDP per capita hit 16570 Renminbi and an unemployment rate of just 4%.
Cereal crops like wheat, maize and sorghum are the main agricultural products in the province of Hebei. There are other cash crops produced in Hebei Province such as cotton, peanut, sesame and soya. Hebei has a fully developed textiles, coal, steel, iron, engineering, chemical production, petroleum, ceramic, food industries.
Culture of Hebei
The traditional Chinese opera in the province of Hebei are Pingju and the Hebei Bangzi. The easiest to understand is Pingju. Pingju is preferred by the majority of the audience. It started in the northeastern part of Hebei Province and has been charmed as well by the Beijing Opera.
Dingzhou porcelain which includes different vessels like vases, cups, plates, bowls are very famous from Central Hebei. Generally the porcelain is creamy white in color but is also made into other colors.
Transport facility in Hebei
Many important railway lines pass through Hebei as it is surrounded by Beijing. One of the most popular railways is the Jingguang railway line as it passes though many important cities like Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Baoding and Handan from the North to South of Hebei. The Jingbao railway (Beijing-Baotou), Jinghu railway (Beijing-Shanghai), the Jinghu railway (Beijing-Kowloon) and Jinghu railway (Beijing-Harbin) are the other important railways.
Qinhuangdao is the second busiest shipping port in China along the Sea of Bohai. It has a capacity of over 100 million metric tones per annum. The other two ports along the Bohai Sea are Huanghua and Jingtang. If you visit Hebei, you will certainly fly into Shijiazhuang’s Zhengding Airport.
Tourist attraction in Hebei
The First Pass of the World is located on the east end of the Ming Great Wall coast at the Shanhaiguan pass near the city of Qinhuangdao. It was at this pass where General Wu Sangui opened the gates in Ming to the forces in 1644.
It is 300 years old and is also a mental entry and exit of Manchuria. A very popular beach resort for top communist government officials known as Beidaihe is located in Shanhaiguan.
The Chengde Mountain Resort forms the UNESCO world heritage site with a lot of temples in this area to visit. The Chengde Mountain Resort was also known as the Rehe Palace which was used as the summer resort for emperors of the Qing dynasty. The construction of the Chengde Mountain Resort took place between 1703 and 1792 and included a complex for the place, a big park area which consists of causeways, pavilions, lakes, bridges, etc. The area around has a lot of historical temple such as of Tibetan Buddhist and Han Chinese.
There are a lot of imperial tombs which also form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are imperial tombs of the Zunhua dynasty which form the east Qing tombs. There are 161 tombs of the royal family from the emperors, empresses that are rested here. There are also the imperial tombs of the Yixian dynasty which constitute the west Qing tombs.
One of the classic examples of the pre-modern Chinese civil engineering years such as the Zhaozhou Anji Bridge. It is the oldest stone arch bridge in China and it was constructed during the Sui Dynasty by Li Chun.
The historical Zhili Governor’s Residence is in Baoding which is also the old provincial capital.