Chinese provinces: Henan - Cradle of Chinese civilization

Updated:Sat, Jul 21, 2012 01:50 AM    Related:Chinese provinces

Chinese provinces

Henan Province (河南) is located in Central China and on the southern lower reaches of the Huanghe River (Yellow River). As the cradle of Chinese civilization, Henan has many historical and cultural places including Luoyang, Kaifeng, Anyang, Zhengzhou, the Song Mountain, the Longmen Grottoes, etc.


General information

Area: 167,000 square km

Population: 100 million (July 7, 2010)

Capital City: Zhengzhou

Nationalities:Han (98.8%), Hui (1%), Mongolian (0.1%) and Manchu (0.1%)

GDP (2007): CNY1.51 trillion.

Average temperature: -3oC to 3oC in January, 24oC to 29oC in July.

Mountains:Funiu, Waifang, Xiong'er, Xiaoshan Mountains in the west, which are extensions of the Qinling Range; southern foot of the Taihang Range in the north; Tongbai and Dabie Mountains in the south.

Rivers: Yellow and Huaihe Rivers.

Administrative divisions: 18 cities and 111 counties.

Neighboring areas: Shandong, Anhui, Hubei, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Hebei Provinces.

Major cities: Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Pingdingshan, Xinxiang, Anyang, Nanyang

Tourist attractions: Shaolin Temple, at the foot of Mount Songshan, one of the Five Mountains in eastern China; Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang.

Geography of Henan

Henan Province is located on the southern lower reaches of the Huanghe River (Yellow River). It served as the capital of 200 empires during its history of more than 20 dynasties, leaving behind over 1.3 million relics. Henan Province has seven state-level historical and cultural cities, and Luoyang, Kaifeng, and Anyang are among China's Seven Ancient Capitals.

Henan Province lies in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. It covers an area of over 167,000 square kilometres and has a population of 98.20 million (2006), consisting of the nationalities of Han, Hui, Mongolian and Manchu. Zhengzhou is the capital city of Henan Province.

Climate of Henan

This province has a temperate climate with distinctive four seasons. The climate changes are fairly accurately represented by the twenty-four solar terms on the Chinese lunar calendar. The annual temperature averages between 12ºC and 16ºC (53.6 ºF and 60.8 ºF) , with the minimum temperature being -3ºC to 3ºC (26.6 ºF to 37.4 ºF) in January and the maximum temperature being 24ºC to 29ºC (75.2 ºF and 84.2ºF) in July. Generally, the southern and eastern parts of the province have warmer climate than the western and northern parts of the province. Average annual rainfall is between 500mm and 900mm, while heavy rains, often torrential downpours, occur in July, August and September.

Economy of Henan

In 2009, Henan's nominal GDP was 1.94 trillion RMB (US$280 billion)[3], a year-on-year rise of 10.7%. Its GDP per capita in 2009 was 21,073 RMB (US$3,085). In 2009, Henan's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries were worth 277 billion RMB (US$40 billion), 1.097 trillion RMB (US$160 billion), and 563 billion RMB (US$82 billion), respectively. An industrial system of light textiles, food, metallurgy, petrol, building materials, chemical industry, machinery and electronics has been formed. Nearly one hundred products, such as coal, industrial cord fabrics, fridges, aluminium, color glass cases, gold, meat products, tires, chemical fibers, glass, cement, generated energy, and others are an important part of the national market.

Henan is an agricultural province, leading the provinces of China in wheat and sesame production, and is third place overall in terms of total grain output. Cotton, rice, and maize are also important crops in Henan.

There are several important centers of coal production in Henan, including Pingdingshan, Yima, and Jiaozuo. Luanchuan County in western Henan is an important center of molybdenum extraction. Electricity generation is another important industry of Henan.

History of Henan

Widely regarded as the Cradle of Chinese civilization along with the Shanxi and Shaanxi province, Henan is known for its historical prosperity and periodic downturns. The economic prosperity resulted from its vast, fertile plains and its location at the heart of the country. However, its strategic location also means that it have suffered from nearly all of the major wars in China. In addition, the numerous flooding of Yellow River also causes significant damages from time to time. Kaifeng, in particular, have been buried by Yellow River's silt seven times due to flooding.

Administrative divisions

Henan is divided into seventeen prefecture-level divisions – all prefecture-level cities – and one directly administered county-level city.The prefecture-level cities are:

— Prefecture-level city —

1 Zhengzhou 郑州市 Zhèngzhōu Shì Zhongyuan District

2 Anyang 安阳市 Ānyáng Shì Beiguan District

3 Hebi 鹤壁市 Hèbì Shì Qibin District

4 Jiaozuo 焦作市 Jiāozuò Shì Jiefang District

5 Kaifeng 开封市 Kāifēng Shì Gulou District

6 Luohe 漯河市 Luòhé Shì Yancheng District

7 Luoyang 洛阳市 Luòyáng Shì Xigong District

8 Nanyang 南阳市 Nányáng Shì Wolong District

9 Pingdingshan 平顶山市 Píngdǐngshān Shì Xinhua District

10 Puyang 濮阳市 Púyáng Shì Hualong District

11 Sanmenxia 三门峡市 Sānménxiá Shì Hubin District

12 Shangqiu 商丘市 Shāngqiū Shì Liangyuan District

13 Xinxiang 新乡市 Xīnxiāng Shì Weibin District

14 Xinyang 信阳市 Xìnyáng Shì Shihe District

15 Xuchang 许昌市 Xǔchāng Shì Weidu District

16 Zhoukou 周口市 Zhōukǒu Shì Chuanhui District

17 Zhumadian 驻马店市 Zhùmǎdiàn Shì Yicheng District

— Sub-prefecture-level city —

18 Jiyuan 济源市 Jǐyuán Shì Jiyuan

Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Henan

Lying in the center of the China, the Central Kingdom, with the Yellow River floating through it, Henan is the cradle of China's 5000-year-long civilization. Three of China's Seven Ancient Capitals lie in this province: Luoyang, Kaifeng, and Anyang. The Peiligang, Yangshao, and Longshan cultures came into existence 8000, 5000, and 6000 years ago respectively. From the 11th Century B.C. to 1127 A.D., over 10 dynasties successively set up their capitals in Henan; the result is a plethora of ancient relics and ruins that are spread throughout the province. Henan's famous historical and cultural cities in the province are Luoyang, Kaifeng, Anyang, Nanyang, Shangqiu, Zhengzhou, and Jun County. The Jigong Mountain, the Song Mountain, the Longmen Grottoes, and the Mountain Wangwu are national key scenic spots.


Capital city, Zhengzhou, is 20 kilometers south of the Yellow River. Historians may want to fo sightseeing along the River, go to the Provincial Museum, one of the best in China, or visit the nearby ancient palace ruins and city walls. Dahecun (River Village) is a 5000-year-old site of neolithic cultures and ruins of the Shang dynasty, China's first dynasty.

The 17-square-kilometer Mangshan Tourist Area is a well-known scenic spot in the Central Plains that is characterized by the brilliant culture of the Yellow River. It is composed of four parts:

the Wanglongfeng Scenic Area, where the Water Conservancy Project to divert the Yellow River water to Zhengzhou was built in 1972; the Yueshan Temple Scenic Spot where the Zijin Tower and Iron Chain Bridge are found; the Luotuo (Camel) Bridge and its 10-meter-tall statue of Emperor Yu the Great; and the Stele Forest of the Yellow River containing 570 inscribed pieces by famous contemperary calligraphers. There is also the Hanba Erwangcheng Scenic Area, which is made up of East and West Guangwu cities, two royal cities built in 203 BC by Liu Bang, first Han emperor, and Xiangyu, ruler of the State of Chu, when the two pitted their forces against each other. Tourists may climb to the top of the mountain for a bird's eye view of the Yellow River or take a deluxe hovercraft ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the river.

Shaolin Temple

The Shaolin Temple was built in 495 A.D. and is located northwest of Dengfeng County on Song Shan. The Indian Monk Boddhidharma arrived in 527 and initiated the Chan (Zen) sect of Buddhism. Shaolin hence became the birthplace of the Chan Sect. At the beginning of the seventh century, 13 martial arts monks were rewarded by Tang Dynasty Emperor Li Shimin after they had saved him from danger . The Temple was then given the title: "the Number One Temple Under Heaven." Shaolin kung fu thus developed rapidly and its fame spread. The 30,000-square-meter temple is composed of seven rows of buildings, including the Hall of Heavenly King, the Dharma Pavilion, the Thousand-Buddha Hall, the White-Robe Bodhhisattva Hall, and the Hall of Ksitigarbba (Guardian of the Earth).

Stupa Forest

Three hundred meters northwest of Shaolin Temple is a cemetery for Shaolin monks, the Stupa Forest. Some 14,000 square meters in area, it is the largest of its kind in China with 243 brick and stone stupas of past dynasties. Rectangular, hexagonal, cylinderal, conical, bottlelike, or round in shape, the stupas have between one to seven tiers, the highest being 15 meters tall, as well as many carvings and inscriptions. It is a good place to study brick or stone architecture and sculpture.

Pagoda of Songyue

The Pagoda of the Songyue Temple is located 5 kilometers northwest of Dengfeng County. Built in 520 AD, it is the oldest Buddhist brick pagoda in China. Forty meters high with a circumference of 33.7meters, the 12-sided pagoda contains 15 tiers and a 2.5-meter-thick wall. On top is a 2-meter-high carved spiral column of stone. Built of small bricks mortared with clay, the pagoda stands in a perfect state despite 1,400 years of weathering.

Song Du Yu Jie

Song Du Yu Jie is the former Imperial Street which is now called Zhongshanlu Beiduan. It leads straight to the Palace of the Northern Song Dynasty and is 400 meters long and 30 meters wide with a ground area of 25,980 square meters. On both sides of the street are snack bars selling foods of various flavors, New Year picture studios, and shops that sell antiques, embroideries, and silks. On the north side of the street is a newly-built imitation of Gonglou or Faniou, the best of 72 restaurants in Dongjing of the Northern Song Dynasty. Gonglou consists of five 3-storied buildings: the east, west, south, north and middle, all facing each other and connected to one another. It mainly provides imperial dishes and confectionaries of the Northern Song Dynasty. Visiting this will provide some understanding of Song Dynasty customs.

Dragon Pavillion

The Dragon Pavilion is situated in the northwest corner of Kaifeng and was formerly called the Longevity Pavilion. It It was built in 1692 during the 31st year of Emperor Qing Kangxi's reign, and a "Long Live The Emperor Tablet" is enshrined here. During festivals, officials, soldiers, and civilians come to pay their respects. The Great Hall is situated on a 13-meter-high brick platform, and the stone way is composed of three staircases with 72 steps. In the middle is a blue stone ramp with dragons carved into it. In front of the pavilion are the Pan and Yang's Lakes as the pavilion goes straight to the Yu Jie. In the reconstructed east and west side halls is China's first wax figure museum where historical stories of the Northern Song period are represented.

Xiangguo Monastery

Xiangguo Monastery is located on Ziyou Lu Rd and was first built in 555. The Hall of Heavenly King, the Mahavira Hall, the Octagonal Glazed-Tile Hall, and the Scripture Preserving Hall are all structures of the Qing Dynasty. In the Octagonal Hall, you'll flnd a wooden statue of Avalokitesvara with four faces and one thousand hands and eyes. The 5-meter-high statue weighs 4 tons and is gilded all over, and it was carved from a thousand year old gingko in the time of Qianiong. In the Bell Tower, there is a giant bronze bell that was made during the Qing Dynasty. It is 3 meters high and weighs 5 tons. When it is striked, the bell can be heard all over the town. It is one of many attractions in Kaifeng.

Iron Pagoda

The Iron Pagoda was built in 1049 at the northeast corner of Kaifeng. It was named the Iron Pagoda because it was built with drab-colored glazed bricks of 28 different patterns that created the look of iron. The 13-storied octagonal pagoda is 55.1 meters high. More than 50 glazed brick carvings of female performers, flying Apasarus Buddhas, and lions are vividly portrayed with exquisite craftsmanship, and are considered masterpieces of the Song Dynasty.

Longmen Grottoes

The Longmen Grottoes stretch for more than one kilometer on the west bank of the Yihe River, 12 kilometers south of Luoyang. It is one of the three great treasures of grotto art in China. Construction of the grottoes lasted 400 years and its landscape is acclaimed to be best of the Eight Sights of Luoyang. There are more than 2,100 grotto niches, 43 pagodas, 3,600 tablets and steles, and more than 100,000 statues, of which the biggest stands 17.1 meters tall and the smallest only 2 centimeters.

White Horse Temple

The White Horse Temple is located 12.5 kilometers east of Luoyang. Built in 68 A.D. as the first Buddhist temple in China, it is regarded as an ancestral temple and is respectfully called "the Number One Ancient Temple in China". The story goes that two Indian monks brought the Buddhist scriptures to Luoyang on two horses; hence the name White Horse Temple. Extant are the Hall of Heavenly King, Mahavira Hall, Boddhisattiva Hall, Avalokitesvara Tower, Reception Hall, and Vairocana Tower. Two white horses flank the front gate. The big iron bell in Boddhisattiva Hall weighs 1250 kilograms and can be heard at a distance of 5 kilometers on a moonlit night.


Guandimiao is located 7 kilometers south of Luoyang and is said to be the burial place of the head of Guan Yu, a Shu general during the Three-Kingdom period. Built during the Ming and Qing dynasties are the Theatre Building, Primary Hall, Secondary Hall, the Bell and Drum Tower, and more. In both the Primary and Secondary Halls, there is a seated statue of Guan Yu with Guan Ping and Zhou Cang standing on both sides. Murals in the halls tell stories of the life of Guan Yu. Deep in the woods is a 20-meter-high statue of Guan Yu surrounded by an octagonal red wall. Before the tomb is a stele pavilion. There are more than 4,000 ancient cypress trees growing in the woods.

Luoyang Ancient Tomb Museum

The Luoyang Ancient Tomb Museum is located in the Zhongtou Village of Luoyang. The 30,000-square-meter museum contains a floor space of 7,600 square meters and is of great scientific and artistic significance, being the first ancient tomb museum in China. The Prelude Hall is an imitation of Han Dynasty architecture. Standing on its two sides are annex halls where models of tombs of the primitive society and the slave society are on display. There are restorations of 22 ancient tombs from the west and east Han Dynasties to the Northern Song.

Frog Pagoda

The Frog Pagoda stands in the ruins of the Baolun Temple in the ancient city of Shaanzhou. It was first pagoda built in the Tang Dynasty and rebuilt in the Jin. The 13-story brick pagoda is 26.5 meters high, has four sides, and has a conical top where one may enjoy good views of the city and the Yellow River. If you tap stones or clap your hands meters away from the pagoda, an echo may be heard. The sound is similar to that of a frog and is why it is named the Frog Pagoda. It is one of the best-known echo-producing structures in China.

Ancient Tomb of State Guo

In 1956, thousands of relics were excavated from the tombs of Guo State at Beishangcunling, Sanmenxia. These included two bronze daggers inscribed "Guo Taizi Yuantu Ge:" the Prince of Guo State's, Yuantu's, dagger. In 1990, about 4,800 relics were excavated from Tomb Four including an iron sword with a jade handle, the oldest iron antique in China. The blade has deteriorated but the jade handle is still in good condition. Also at the Ancient Tomb of State Guo, many carriages and horses were buried with dead nobles of Guo State at Beishangcunling, Sanmenxia City. A total of 234 tombs, 3 carriage-and-horse burial grounds, and 10 horse pits have been excavated. The one on exhibit is the best preserved burial ground for carriages and horses. The rectangular pit is 15 meters long, 3.8 meters wide and 4.1 meters deep, and held 5 carriages and 10 horses. The wooden carriages are two wheeled and painted. Only one carriage is still in good condition. Gifts, weapons, horse & carriage gears and ornaments have also been unearthed at the site.

Transportation in Henan

The infrastructure of Henan Province has become more and more completed. It has played a more and more significant role in economic development. The electricity installation capacity ranks 5th in the county. The transportation system of highway, railway, and aviation has already come into existence.


By the end of 2005, the total mileage of highway in Henan Province had already reached 79,500 km, among which 2,678 km is expressway.


Henan Province is an important railway hub in China. Zhengzhou Railway Station is also one of the biggest passenger transfer station in China. By the end of 2005, the total state-owned railway mileage in Henan Province reached 2,093.2 km, with an extended railway mileage 3,897.8 km. In 2005, the passenger transportation capacity of railway system was 51,072,000 person-times and circular passenger flow volume 46,221.6 million person-kilometers; the goods carrying capacity of railway system was 99,370,000 tons and circular freight flow volume 147,560.9 million ton-kilometers. The mileage of local railway in Henan Province is 1,212 km, which amounts to one fourth of the total mileage of local railway in China.


There are 3 airports in Henan Province, including Zhengzhou Airport, Luoyang Airport, and Nanyang Airport. Almost 70 flight courses and more than 800 flights each week link up 50 medium and big cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Hong Kong, Macao, etc. There are direct flight to Hong Kong, Macao, and Taipei via Macao. Zhengzhou International Airport, a 4E class airport, is a Class-one airport in China that has scheduled and non-scheduled passenger and cargo charter flight courses to Moscow, Hong Kong, Macao, Bangkok, Munich, Frankfurt, and Los angles. In 2005, 2,968,200 passengers traveled by plane and 45,000 tons of cargo were transported by airplane.




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