The capital city of Hunan Province, Changsha is located on the lower reaches of the Xiang River, a branch of the Yangtze River in south-central China. Changsha became a staging post for expeditions into neighbouring provinces under the Qin dynasty and prospered as one of China’s chief rice markets during the Qing dynasty. Excavations of the Han dynasty Mawangdui tombs built between 186 and 165 BC revealed the excellently preserved mummified remains of Lady Xin Zhui and some of the earliest versions of Taoism’s main texts. In modern history the city’s claim to fame is that it was the first major city to be successfully defended by the Chinese from the Japanese invasion during World War II.
Today Changsha is chiefly known for its sights related to Mao Zedong and as the gateway to his rustic birthplace, Shaoshan. The Changsha City Museum features a colossal statue of Mao to greet you at the entrance and inside you'll find portraits, photographs and other historical items that once belonged to the chairman. Mao's poems and former living quarters are on display at the Hunan CPC Committee whilst the Hunan No. 1 Teachers' Training School is where Mao attended classes between 1913 and 1918.
The first-rate Hunan Provincial Museum has fascinating exhibits from the Mawangdui tombs including ancient wooden figurines, over 700 pieces of lacquerware, Han silk textiles and ancient manuscripts on bamboo slips.
About 100km northwest of Lijiang in Yunnan province is where the Yangtze River’s upper reaches, the Jingsha Jiang, channel with ...