Image: Mukden Imperial Palace in Shenyang was the second palace or the Qing dynasty emperors. by Ryan McLaughlin
Shenyang Tourist Attractions
Shenyang Unreviewed Tourist Attractions
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- Wugou Jingguang pagoda
- North, East, South and West Pagodas (北塔, 南塔, 东塔, 西塔; Beita, Nanta, Dongta, Xita)
- Steam Locomotive Museum
- Royal Ocean World (皇家极地海洋世界; Huáng Jiā Jí Dì Hǎi Yáng Shì Jiè)
- Wugou Jingguang pagoda
Shenyang Incompete Tourist Attractions
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- Shenyang Science Palace (沈阳科学宫; Shěnyáng Kēxué Gōng)
- Shenyang Guaipo Scenic Area (沈阳怪坡风景区; Shěnyáng Guài Pō Fēng Jǐng Qū)
- Shenyang glaciers animal park (沈阳冰川动物乐园; Shěnyáng Bīngchuān Dòngwù Lèyuán)
- Sannong Shenyang Xinmin Expo (沈阳新民三农博览园; Shěnyáng Xīnmín Sānnóng Bólǎn Yuán)
- Shenyang Green Island Holiday Resort (沈阳绿岛旅游度假区; Shěnyáng Lǜ Dǎo Lǚyóu Dùjià Qū)
- Shenyang Fairy Lake Scenic Resort (沈阳仙子湖风景旅游度假区; Shĕn Yáng Xiān Zĭ Hú Fēng Jĭng Lǚ Yóu Dù Jiă Qū)
- Shenyang Strange Slope Scenic Area (沈阳怪坡风景区; Shĕn Yáng Guài Pō Fēng Jĭng Qū)
- Primary and secondary students in Shenyang Agricultural Practice Base Demonstration Garden (沈阳中小学生农业实践基地示范园; Shĕn Yáng Zhōng Xiăo Xué Shēng Nóng Yè Shí Jiàn Jī Dì Shì Fàn Yuán)
- Shenyang Water Cave Scenic Area (沈阳水洞风景区; Shĕn Yáng Shuĭ Dòng Fēng Jĭng Qū)
- Xinglong indoor park in Shenyang (沈阳兴隆室内公园; Shĕn Yáng Xìng Lóng Shì Nèi Gōng Yuán)
- Liaoning Sanli ecological agriculture sightseeing garden (辽宁三利生态农业观光园; Liáo Zhù Sān Lì Shēng Tài Nóng Yè Guān Guāng Yuán)
- Shenyang Qixing Shan Mountain tourist Scenic Area (沈阳七星山旅游风景区; Shĕn Yáng Qī Xīng Shān Lǚ Yóu Fēng Jĭng Qū)
Shenyang Tourist information
Shenyang is a prefecture level city within Liaoning province in China.
Intro to Shenyang
Shěnyáng (沈阳) is the largest city in Liaoning, a province in the northeast of the People's Republic of China. Beijing lies approximately 799 km to the west of Shenyang. The city, formerly known by its Manchurian name Mukden, was once the capital city of Manchuria and was the first capital of the Qing dynasty. The first Qing emperor, Nuerhachi, gave the city the name Shengjing (盛京) which is literally, "Prosperous Capital," in honor of its status. The word 'jing' (京) means 'capital' in Chinese. Other old names include Houchen and Shenzou. This city became the focus of industrial development in the early 20th century. On September 18th, 1931, was the Mukden Incident which marked the beginning of the war between Japan and China. Shenyang would remain in Japanese control until 1945. Post war, Shenyang was developed as a central player in the large scale industrial development of Dongbei, northeast, china.
A sub-provincial city, Shenyang covers an area of 8,515 square kilometers in central and northern Liaoning province. Shenyang is the seat of government of Liaoning. The importance of this city has left many cultural status symbols. As well as many temples, parks and museums, Shenyang contains two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Shenyang imperial Palace (Listed as part of the 'Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang'); Fu Mausoleum and Zhao Mausoleum (two of the fourteen mausoleums listed under 'Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties'). In 2008, Shenyang will host the football events of the Olympic games.
Tourism in Shenyang
The north east of China is usually given a wide birth by tourists. The is reputation of a cold industrial land with little beauty. This is certainly true. But the north east is also an area with much history and so there is plenty of interest for the tourists to do and see. Most of the tourist attractions are concentrated in and around the centre of the old city. A few of the larger parks are out of town, but still easily accessible by bus for a short day trip.
History of Shenyang
The area of Shenyang has been inhabited since the Neolithic. A large number of stone artifacts, bone implement, earthenware, wooden furniture, jet product along with the remains of houses have been discovered. Of particular note is a wooden carving of a bird. These are know as the Xinle relics. They date to around 7000 years ago. The first city on this site was Hou city; founded as a garrison town for the northeastern borders in 300 B.C. under the rule of Qin Kai. This was the time known as the Warring States period. The city grew steadily but was overshadowed by nearby Liaoyang, which was the administrative center for the region.
In the 17th century, Nurachi unified several tribes of the northeast fringes of china, creating the ethnic group of the Manchus. In 1616, Nurachi made Hetu Ala (western of Xinbin county, Liaoning) his capital and founded the Great Jin or otherwise known, Late Jin Empire. The Ming Emperor set out to destroy this fledgling state. In 1619, the Ming sent 200,000 troops to attack Hetu Ala. The city of Shenyang was to be the headquarters for this military campaign. In comparison, the Late Jin had only 70,000 soldiers. The Ming made the mistake of splitting their army to attack form four directions. Nurachi attacked and defeated each of the Ming divisions in turn, the last division fleeing without fighting. This was the Battle of Sarhu. Narachi continued on the offencive and by 1621 he had captured over 70 cities including Liaoyang and Shenyang. The capital of the Late Jin was moved to Liaoyang just one month after the cities capture. A new palace, sited just outside the Ming city, called Dongjing (East Capital) was started. However, the building work was not yet complete when in 1625, Nurachi moved his capital yet again to Shenyang. Being some 100km north of Liaoyang, he claimed Shenyang had geographical advantages as a center form which to continue attacks on Ming China. Shenyang remained the capital as the Late Jin went on to conquer the whole of Ming China. Thus making Nurachi the first Emperor or the Chinese Qing dynasty. In 1644, he moved his capital form Shenyang to Beijing. The city of Shenyang continued to have special significance to the Qing Emperors. The first three Emperors of the Qing dynasty have their tombs in Liaoning, two of which are in Shenyang. The Qing Emperors would visit Shenyang regularly to pay homage to their ancestors. During their visits they would live in the Imperial Palace of Shenyang.
The tail end of the 19th century would see the beginning of troubled times for China. Liaoning became the focus of foreign attention and Shenyang, as the principal city of Liaoning, was a primary target. The Qing dynasty had failed to keep up with developments in other countries. The industrial revolution was passing China by. Outside powers such as Russia, Japan, France, Germany and Britain saw opportunities in China's problems. The Sino-Japanese war in 1894-95 went badly wrong for China. The Liaodong peninsula was captured by Japan and at the end of the war, Liaodong was ceded, along with Taiwan and Penghu Islands, to the Japanese. However, France, Germany and Russia forced Japan's hand and Liaodong was returned to China. The concession of Dalian and Port Arthur (Lushun) was given to Russia by the Chinese government. Russia was quick to make use of it's new port. Railway lines were build across Liaoning to connect Dalian to the north and east. Shenyang was a natural crossing point for these new communication lines. This ensured Shenyang would remain the key to the northeast of China. In a attempt to compete with the foreigners, the late Qing dynasty tried to develop several cities itself. Shenyang became the home to the Northeast China Military Academy, an Electric light factory, an Observatory and a Mint. They also created Wanquan park in Shenyang around this time.
The Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 provided Russia with an excuse to occupy Northeast China. Several years of diplomatic negotiations between Russia and Japan over the land of Northeast China and Korea lead to the Russo-Japanese war of 1904. The Japanese blockaded Dalian. The fighting over Liaodong saw both sides put a total of over one million soldiers into the area. the war ended on September 5th, 1905 with Liaodong under Japanese control. The collapse of the Qing dynasty saw more turmoil for the northeast of China. Warlords setup their own states and foreign powers spread their influence.
September 18th, 1931 is a date that China, and in particular Shenyang, will never forget. The exact time of this incident, 10:20pm, is marked annually with the sounding of air raid sirens in Shenyang and other cites of China. On this date at that time an explosion blew up the Liutiaohu Railway in Shenyang. This was part of the Manchuria Railway. The Japanese, who had set off the explosion themselves, accused the Chinese army and used the incident as a pretext to attack the Barracks of the Chinese army near Shenyang. The Chinese army was under orders or non-resistance to the Japanese and so retreated. Shenyang was captured by the Japanese within two days. Japan went on to continue it's attack on China, taking all of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang in just four months. This 9-18 event is taken to mark the beginning of Japan's occupation of China which would continue until the end of the Second World War in 1945. A museum telling the story of the incident, and the wars that followed, has been build on the site where the Barracks once stood, near to Shenyang South railway station.
During the 1930's, the Japanese developed upon Liaoning's natural resources. The Japanese run Manchuria Railway Co. developed new industrial zone in Shenyang to the West of the railway line. What is now known as Shenyang's Tiexi (Area west). By 1939, this area of Shenyang had grown to five times its original size with 189 Japanese businesses operating form Tiexi. Just one year later, the investment had expanded even further to 233 businesses. However the Japanese control was to end in 1945. They had been losing ground to the Americans in the Pacific. As the Americans dropped their Atom bomb on Hiroshima, the Russians launched their Manchurian campaign, freeing the Northeast of China form Japanese rule.
Peace was short lived. With the end of the world war, a new civil war loomed between the Chinese nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) and the communist Red Army or People's Liberation Army. On November 2nd, 1948, Shenyang was liberated by the PLA during the Liaoshen Campaign.
After the war, Shenyang was set out to become an industrial center. A large number of new heavy industries were developed producing machine tools, mining equipment and cars. Aviation is also a large employer with the Liming Aviation Engine Group and the Shenfei (Shenyang Aircraft) Group. The Tiexi district, built up by Japan, remains a center for today's industry. Of the 99 large to mediums sized state enterprises in Shenyang, 90 are sited in Tiexi. This heavy industry did not come without a cost. Shenyang is perceived as a dirty and polluted city; something the city is now trying to slowly change. 2006 saw Shenyang hosting an International Horticultural Exposition. Shenyang also has the privilege of staging the football events for the 2008 Olympic Games alongside Beijing.
Geography of Shenyang
The municipality of Shenyang can be conceptually divided in two parts: The inner city urban area that makes up Shenyang city proper, and the outer laying districts and counties that contain neighbouring towns and rural areas. For administration, the municipality is divided into 10 districts, 1 city and 3 counties as follows:
Inner City Districts
- Dadong District (大東區 大东区 Dàdōng Qū)
- Heping District (和平區 和平区 Hépíng Qū)
- Huanggu District (皇姑區 皇姑区 Huánggū Qū)
- Shenhe District (瀋河區 沈河区 Shěnhé Qū)
- Tiexi District (鐵西新區 铁西新区 Tiěxī Xīn Qū)
Outer Districts and Areas
- Yuhong District (於洪區 于洪区 Yúhóng Qū)
- Sujiatun District (蘇家屯區 苏家屯区 Sūjiātún Qū)
- Dongling District (東陵區 东陵区 Dōnglíng Qū) (東陵 Meaning East Tomb or Fuling, burial site of Nurhaci and his wife, Empress Xiaoci).
- Hunnan District (渾南區 浑南区 Hùnnán Qū)
- Shenbei New District (瀋北新區 沈北新区 Shěnběi Xīn Qū) (Called New City District 新城子區 until October 2006)
- Xinmin City (新民市 Xīnmín Shi)
- Faku County (法库縣 法库县 Fǎkù Xiàn)
- Kangping County (康平縣 康平县 Kāngpíng Xiàn)
- Liaozhong County (遼中縣 辽中县 Liáozhōng Xiàn)
Shenyang International Airport (SHE) is located about 20km southeast of the city centre. It has frequent connections with most major cityies in China with flights from China Air, China Southern, China Eastern and others. There are olso flights to and from international destinations such as Tokyo and Ossaka in Japan, Incheon (Souel) in South Korea as well as some further destination in the USA, Canada and Europe. Almost uniquely, you can get flights from here to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. However, visa restrictions to North Korea are tight.
Transport to and from the airport is provided by buses which leave from the travel agents at Maluwan, 117 Zhonghua Lu in Shenhe district of Shenyang to the front of the terminal building. The fair is 10 RMB and takes about 40 minutes. Taxis to the city centre from the airport will typically cost about 50 RMB.
BUS AND ROAD
Long distance bus service is handled by two bus stations. The Long-Distance Bus Station (Shenyang Qiche Kuaisu Keyun Zhan) Located on Huigong Jie, this station serves routes to and from major cities. You can also find night buses to Beijing being hawked outside the north train station.
- Beijing - takes about 8 hours
- Changchun - takes about 4 hours
- Dandong - takes about 3 hours
- Dalian - takes about 6 hours
- Harbin - takes about 7 hours
- Jilin - takes about 5 hours
- Jinzhou - takes about 3 hours
South Bus Station Buses queue along Minzhu Lu (opposite the south train station), around Minzhu Square and some nearby streets. On most buses you pay the conductor on the bus but for Anshan and Liaoyang you must purchase tickets at the office on the east side of Minzhu Square. These buses run medium distance routes to neighbouring cities within Liaoning. Buses stop departing this bus stations around 6pm. Passengers arriving to this station may be off loaded from the bus on a nearby street or some distance away at a yard used for storing coaches, sited behind the post office on Zhongshan Jie.
- Anshan - takes about 1 hour 40 minutes
- Benxi - takes about 1 hour
- Liaoyang - takes 1 hour
- Fushun - takes 1 hour
Shenyang is the central hub for all rail transport in the north east of China. There are two stations. The North Train Station is at the northern edge of Shenhe district where as the South Train Station is to the west of Heping District on the edge of Tiexi District. Bus No.203, 216, 502, 602 and some others all connect between the two stations.
Though there are a few exceptions, the North Station services routes to distant locations throughout China where as the South Station concentrates on routes with other cities within Liaoning. Train tickets can be purchased from the station no more than 5 days in advance of travel.
The choice is either taxi or bus. Shenyang has a small underground train system which is newly opened. The system is still mostly under construction and will expand over the next few years. Most bus routes begin near one of the two train stations. The city is well served by busses and the older vehicles are being phased out in favour of modern busses. Most busses are simply priced at 1 RMB flat fair within the city. One complication is knowing which bus goes where as all the signs are in Chinese script. Maps are available for about 5 RMB which show the bus route numbers. The alternative to busses is taxi cabs. There are over 200,000 cabs in Shenyang and they can be easily flagged down from most streets. Fairs start at 8 RMB and most locations within the urban area can be reached for less than 25 RMB.
Mulligan's, 206 Nanjing Bei Jie (南京北街), (located on the fifth floor of the Holiday-Inn Hotel). Many restaurants now brew their own beer, with surprisingly good results. This Irish pub-style restaurant has a Filipino band is playing Monday to Saturday.
Jiuba Yi Tiao Jie (Bar Street). Cheap night out can be had here. Numerous establishments along the street and, in the summer, the bars set up outdoor seating.
Don't Tell Mama (别告诉妈妈 bú gàosu mā mā), Xita Jie (西塔街), in Korea town. Packed even on weeknights, this large Chinese-style club offers a constant cabaret-style variety show with over-the-top dance acts and live singing. One highlight is the male performers seem compelled to chug any quantity of beer bought for them, up to two-liter pitchers, in one go, without using their hands.
Sunny's Night Club. Re-opened in May 2008 With a Bar area next to the Disco. Great ambiance.
Party 98 (98 俱乐部 - 98 jù lè bù), Xita Jie (西塔街), in Korea town.
Boss Club (波士酒吧 - bō shì jiǔ bā), Xita Jie (西塔街), in Korea town.
VIP Room, Xita Jie (西塔街), in Korea town.
The Bee House (毕豪斯), 辽宁省沈阳市市辖区沈河区奉天街220号 (Shenhe District), ☎ +86 24 22927711.
Eletel, 235 Zhong Jie (Set back from the main road in a pedestrianized area.), ☎ +86 24 31307777. The rooms are designed in a ultra modern style that some will like and others will hate. The location is on a main shopping street within walking distance of several attractions such as the Imperial Palace. 267 RMB.
Grand Century Hotel, 88-2 Zhonghua Road, Heping District. (Access to the hotel is round the back of the shopping mall, off of the main road.), ☎ +86 24 23402888 (fax: +86 24 23410099), . A recently decorated, high quality hotel at an affordable price. Located in the centre of the shopping area near to the south train station. Rooms in the upper stories provide good views across the city. Wireless internet is available in rooms. 349 RMB.
Laideng Hotel, (located 500m from the airport terminal.) ☎ +86 24 89398866. This is a three-star hotel.