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Baoding – from the capital’s south gate to back garden

2014-01-10 16:21:04

(China Today)


The city of Baoding, in Hebei province, borders the national capital Beijing, 140 kilometers to the northeast. The city’s name, roughly interpreted as “protecting the capital,” refers to the city’s immediacy to Beijing. Due to its geographic location, Baoding has been of great military import since ancient times. The Battle of Zhuolu, the second battle in Chinese history recalled in Records of the Grand Historian, was fought between the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) and Chi You in the north end of Baoding. Jing Ke, in the tale of The Emperor and the Assassin, resided as a guest in the estates of Dan in present-day Baoding, becoming renowned for his failure to assassinate Ying Zheng, the King of Qin, who later became China’s first emperor (r. 221-210 BC). The city also witnessed numerous historical episodes during the War of Resistance against Japanese Invasion, including the Five Heroes of Langya Mountain and Tunnel Warfare.

Baoding was home not just to various monarchs, such as Emperor Yao (a legend in ancient China), Liu Bei (founding emperor of Shu-Han) and Zhao Kuangyin (founder of the Song Dynasty), but also holds the Western Qing Tombs (of Emperors Yongzheng, Jiaqing, Daoguang, and Guangxu). A blend of central plains culture and grassland culture, the city’s rich cultural heritage includes Li Daoyuan’s Commentary on the Waterways Classic, Guan Hanqing’s Snow in Midsummer, and Wang Shifu’s Romance of the Western Chamber – all treasures in China’s cultural panorama.

Its history dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 24), Baoding later served as the capital of Zhili (today’s Hebei province) from 1669, remaining a vital center of politics, defense and culture for almost 300 years.

Its age-old history and profound cultural legacy make Baoding a national historic and cultural city with abundant tourism resources. The city now has 47 key national and cultural relic protection sites, 3,500 immovable cultural relics, three national geographical parks, one national key scenic site, as well as five national forest parks.

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