Hunan is situated in the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. Its name, meaning "south of lake", was derived from the fact that the province is located south of Dongting lake, the second largest freshwater lake in China. Because of Xiangjiang River, which flows across the province from south to north, Hunan is also called "Xiang" in short. Covering a total of 210000 square kilometers, the province has a population of 64 million consisting of Hans, Miaos, Tujias, Dongs, Yaos, Huis, Uygurs, Zhuangs, Bais and other ethnic peoples. Changsha is the capital.
Hunan abounds in natural resources, and is reputed as "land of fish and rice", "land of nonferrous metal", "land of ferrous metal" and "ideal destination for travelling". The province has a long history, and its landscape in magnificent. There are 25 national and provincial scenic resorts, 22 nature reserves at or above the provincial level, and large numbers of places of cultural interest within its territory. Major attractions of Hunan are Wulingyuan Scenic Resort, a world natural heritage site, Hengshan Mountain, the South Sacred Mountain of China, Yuelu Mountain, Dongting Lake, Yueyang Tower, Han Tombs of Mawangdui and Taohuayuan Tourist Zone.
Hunan is home to numerous men of great renown. It was said that Xuanyuan, Zhurong, Emperors Shundi and Yandi once lived there and left remains. Hunan is also the home province of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic of China, and numerous other outstanding historical figures. Memorial sites for figures of great renown include Mao Zedong's former home in Shaoshan, Liu Shaoqi's former home in Huaminglou, Quyuan's Memorial Temple in Miluo, Cai Lun's Memorial Temple in Leiyang and Tomb of Emperor Yandi.
Wulingyuan Scenic Area
Covering an area of 264 square kilometers, the Wulingyuan Scenic Area if located in the northwest of Hunan Province, with almost 3000 peaks standing in various characters, it is famous for marvelous peaks, grotesque rocks, tranquil valleys, beautiful water and magical karst caves. The scenic area includes Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Suoxi Valley and Tianzi Mounatin. It is a natural zoo, botanical garden and geological park. It became a UNESCO's world heritage site in 1992.
Located in the center of Hunan province, Mt. Hengshan is one of the Five Sacred Mountains and one of the Five Most Famous Mountains of Taoism. Its 72 peaks form a range serpentine for as far as 400 kilometers from Hengyang in the south to the Yangtze River in the north. The summit, Zhurong Peak, rises 1290 meters high. The Southern Sacred Mountain has a long history, which has bestowed it abundance of cultural relics as halls, monasteries and steles. Main tourist spots include Zhurong Hall, Hall of Storing Sutra, Nanyue (Southern Sacred Mountain) Temple, Fanguang Temple, Nantai Temple, Magic Mirror Terrace, and so on. The tallness of Zhurong Peak, gracefulness of Hall of Storing Sutras, seclusion of Fangguang Temple and wonder of Water Curtain Cave are reputed as four marvelous spectacles of the mountain.
Fenghuang (Phoenix) Ancient Town
The town is situated on the western boundary of Hunan Province and in the south of Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Nationalities Autonomous Prefecture. In an area of outstanding natural beauty where mountains, water and blue skies prevail, this ancient town with a history spanning 1300 years has a number of remarkable old buildings, where architectural designs date from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Situated in the west bank of Xiangjiang River, the Yuelu Mountain with an altitude of more than 300 meters has been famous for secluded environment and beautiful scenery since ancient time. Tourist spots on the mountain are Pavilion of Loving to Evening, Gorge of Refreshing Breeze, Python Cave and Yuelu Academy. The Yuelu Academy, located on the east slopes of the mountain, was first built in 976, or the ninth year of Song Emperor Kaibao's reign, being one of Four Most Famous Academies of the Song Dynasty. It was transferred to Institute of Higher Learning in 1903, and became the Hunan University in 1926.