Hunan Province lies in south-central China between 24°38′- 30°08′N and 108°47′- 114°15′E and has an area of 211,800 square kilometers (81,776 square miles). It is adjacent to Jiangxi Province in the east, Chongqing Municipality and Guizhou Province in the west, Guangdong Province and Guangxi Autonomous Region in the south, and Hubei Province in the north.
Sheltered by mountain ranges to the east, west and south, the center of Hunan comprises of hills and basins, and the north is composed of plains. The landform of the province therefore takes the form of a horseshoe, open to the north, low in the center, and high in the other three directions. Hunan's highest mountain Huping in Shimen County, Changde, reaches 2,009 meters above sea level, while its lowest area. Huanggai Town in Yueyang, lies at an altitude of only 21 meters.
Hunan is located in the region with continental subtropical seasonal humid climate. It has four distinct seasons, abundant sun, long frostless periods and abundant rain. The total number of annual sunshine hours is between 1300 and 1800. The annual average temperature is between16C-18C. The frostless period is as long as 260-310 days. Annual rainfall is between 1200-1700 mm, which is favorable for the growth of agricultural crops and green plants.
The Monthly Average Temperature in Hunan Province
The Monthly Average Rainfall in Hunan Province
Hunan covers 2 percent of China's land mass, and contains about 5 percent of its population, ranking No.7 in China with an average population density of 325 per square kilometer. The Dongting Plain and the main river valleys are where the population is primarily concentrated.It is multiethnic, with Miao, Dong, and Yao being the most numerous minorities.
By the end of 2012, the registered permanent resident population of the province had reached 66.389 million, an increase of 433,000 compared to 2011, among whom 6.956 million were males and 6.955 million were females. The resident population was 18.885 million, among whom 5.174 million were those without registered permanent residence. The registered households numbered 5.066 million. The birth rate of the registered permanent population was 13.58‰ while the death rate of the same population was 7.01‰. The natural growth rate of the registered population was 6.57‰. The density divided by the registered permanent population was 2,194 persons per square kilometer while the density divided by the resident population was 2,978 persons per square kilometer. The mean life expectancy was 81.28 years, with 79.06 years for the males and 83.50 years for the females.
Hunan has an extensive network of rivers. To the north is the Dongting Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in China. It has the largest reserve of natural water resources among the nine provinces of southern China.
Its cultivated land, pastureland, and forests total 3.78 million ha., 6.37 million ha., and 10.3699 million ha., respectively forming approximately 3 percent, 1.6 percent and 6.6 percent of the country’s totals. The province has rich and varied land resources, favoring the development of its agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fisheries.
It is rich in both nonferrous and non-metallic minerals. A total of 141 minerals have been identified in the province; 60 of these represent deposits that place them among the country’s top ten mineral reserves, especially the nonferrous metals. Hunan’s abundant mineral reserves highlight its importance not only to the country but to the wider world.
Hunan has rich resources of animals and plants with a wide coverage. Five rare surviving "living fossil" in the world are found in Hunan, namely: Cathaya Aargyrophylla, Met sequoia Glyptostrobodies, Glyptostrobus Pensilis, Gingko and Davidia Involucrate.
There are around 5,000 types of seed plants, taking the seventh place across the country, over 2,000 kinds of woody plants, more than 1,000 types of wild economic plants, over 800 sorts of medicinal plants and 66 categories of rare wild plants under state protection. Grain crops are rich in category, with over 9,000 types of rice. Oil crops include camellia oleosa seed, seed of tung tree, rapeseed, sesame, sunflower, cottonseed and castor-oil plant. Economic crops are mainly cotton, ramie, jute (red jute) and tobacco. There are 100 types of medicinal plants like coptisroot and gastrodia elata and 88 sorts of agricultural and sideline products including citrus, tea, Hunan white lotus, day lily, water-soaked bamboo slice, lilium brownii var. viridulum, pearl barley and hot pepper.
There are woody plants of 103 families, 478 genera and 2, 470 species. Hunan's forest area has reached 7.5,014 million hectares, with forest coverage of 51.4%, higher than the national and world level. 23 forest natural reserves have been established, and the first national forest park Zhangjiajie Forest Park is among them.
The provincial grassland area covers 6.373 million hectares, among which available grassland reaches 5.666 million hectares. The grazing capacity achieves 7,040 thousand cattle unit. There are grassland plants of 137 families and 868 species, among which 775 species serve as the food of livestock.
Hunan has a great variety of animals. There are 66 kinds of wild mammals, over 500 sorts of birds, 71 kinds of reptiles, 40 types of amphibians, more than 1,000 sorts of insects and over 200 kinds of aquatic animals. There are 18 categories of animals under the first-class state protection like south China tiger, clouded leopard, golden cat, whitecrane and white-flag dolphin, 28 sorts of animals included in the second-class such as macaque, stump-tailed macaque, pangolin, hellbender and cowfish, and 49 types of animals belonging to the third-class including egret, wild duck and bamboo partridge. As the well-known freshwater fish producing area in China, Hunan has over 160 types of natural fish, including carp, blackcarp, grass carp, bighead carp, silver carp, bream fish, crucian carp, gurnet, which mainly belong to the cyprinidae family. Famous species are Chinese sturgeon, Chinese paddlefish, silverfish, hilsa herring and eel. Regarding livestock and poultry, Ningxiang pig, Binhu buffalo, Xiangxi cattle, Xiangdong black goat, Wugang bronze goose, Linwu duck and Liuyang three buff chickens are the most well-known.
The Provincial Flower - Lotus Flower
Fleur symbolique de la province du Hunan est le lotus
(Photo source: China.org.cn )
The lotus flower has been planted in Hunan since ancient times, giving the province the fame: "land of lotus". The verse line "the land of lotus glowing in the morning sun"captured Mao Zedong’s praise and love for his hometown in his poem "Reply to a Friend".
The Provincial Bird - Leiothrix lutea
(Photo source: Changsha Online)
Changsha, the famous city in the Chu and the Han with a history of over 3000 years, is the provincial capital of Hunan, the political, economic, scientific, educational, cultural an business center of the province. It has a moist monsoon climate of the subtropical zone. The average annual air temperature is 17.2℃ and the rainfall 1361 mm. The frostiness period lasts 275 days and the yearly duration of sunshine amounts to 1600 hours.
Lying in the northeast of Hunan, by the lower stretch of the Xiangjiang River, it is one of the 24 historically and culturally renowned cities of the whole nation first announced by the State Council. With an area of 11,800 square kilometers and a population of 7.044118 million, it consists of six districts (Furong, Tianxin, Yuelu, Kaifu, Yuhua and Wangcheng), two counties (Changsha and Ningxiang) and one county-level city (Liuyang city).
Changsha ranks 12th in overall strength among the 265 Chinese cities at and above the prefectural level. It is the home of famous brands and trade marks, like "Yuanda" , "Baisha " and "Menadale" . Changsha has established friendly ties with cities in a dozen countries, including Kagoshima in Japan and Saint Paul in the United States.
Changsha, with a long history, rich natural resources, scenic beauty and outstanding personalities, is a famous place investing and initiating enterprises, engaging in business and spending holidays.
Zhuzhou, named Jianning in the past, located in the eastern part of Hunan Province and aside the middle reaches of Xiangjiang River, is an important polar place in "Changzhutan Golden Triangle". With an area of 11,420 square kilometers and a population of 3.65 million, it consists of four districts (Tianyuan, Lusong, Hetang, and Shifeng), Liling city and four counties (Zhuzhou, Youxian, Chaling, Yanling).
Emperor Yan, one ancestor of Chinese nationality, was buried here. The Mausoleum of Emperor Yan is a famous place in China and has the famous name of "the First Mausoleum of China".
Zhuzhou has warm weather, abundant rainfall, long growing period of crops, and kinds of landforms. With abundant mineral and organic resources, Zhuzhou is one of the regions of high and stable agricultural yield in Hunan Province.It also possesses superior geographic position and convenient traffic and transportation with three bone railway lines (Beijing-Guangzhou, Zhejiang-Jiangxi and Hunan-Guizhou) cross here. Zhuzhou railway station is one of five special class passengers & goods transportation stations in China and the biggest goods transportation marshalling station in South China. The Xiangjiang River passing the city is open to navigate for all seasons. From Yongli Wharf, which has a 1000-ton berth, container ships can sail directly into Dongting Lake and Shanghai.
Located in the east of central Hunan, with an area of 5016 square kilometers and a population of more than 3.0204 million, Xiangtan consists of two districts (Yuetang, Yuhu), Xiangxiang city, Shaoshan city and Xiangtan county.
An ancient city with a history of more than 1,500 years, it is the hometown of Mao Zedong, the great leader of the Chinese people, and Qi Baishi, a world-famous master of Chinese painting.There are more than 80 tourist attractions in the vicinity. Peng Dehuai's birthplace in Wushi are well known to both Chinese and foreign tourists. The beautiful scenery in the Zhaoshan Scenic Area and the scenic area around the Shuifu Temple Reservoir have become big attractions for an increasing number of tourists.
Xiangtan is one of the major industrial cities in Hunan, with a number of big and medium-sized industrial enterprises, including the Xiangtan Iron and Steel Company, the Shaofeng Cement Group and the Hunan Wire and Cable Group.
The appearance of the city is changing every year. Its improved infrastructure network, consisting of well-paved roads, convenient transport, sufficient water, power and gas supplies, environmental protection, gardens and greenery, provides good conditions for investment.
Yueyang lies in the northeastern part of Hunan. With an area of 15,000 square kilometers and a population of 5.5115 million, it consists of four districts (Yuanyanglou, Junshan, Yunxi, Quqyuan), two cities (Linxiang, Miluo) and four counties(Huarong, Yueyang, Pingjiang, Xiangyin).
Located at the confluence of Dongting Lake and the Yangtze River, Yueyang is a 2,500-year-old cultural city, whose lovely scenery and cluster of places of historical interest draw large numbers of Chinese and overseas tourists every year.
The city has convenient transportation. The railway between Beijing and Guangzhou, the expressway from Beijing to Zhuzhou and the No.107 national highway run from north to south through Yueyang. The Yangtze River flows through the city from west to east. The new Dongting lake bridge and the Yangtze River bridge at Jingzhou connect the city with the western part of Hubei Province and the eastern part of Chongqing Municipality. Chenglingji is the city's natural harbor on the river.
Yueyang is a newly rising industrial city, with the production of petrochemicals as its leading industry. There are now five other pillar industries in the city-feed grains, pharmaceuticals, textiles, building materials and paper making. Yueyang's principal economic indices rank second in the province.
Yiyang City, a famous "home of rice and fish" in the Dongting Lake area, is a major producer of food grains, cotton, oil-bearing crops, pigs and other industrial crops. Its ramie accounts for one fourth of the world's production. It is also one of the ten major bamboo-growing areas in China.
Its industrial products include ramie clothes, hot foodstuffs, cooking oil, bamboo sleeping mats, preserved duck eggs and antimony products, and sell well on both the domestic and international markets. In addition, there are 25 high-tech projects in the Yiyang High-Tech Science Park, including the Zhongke Software Corporation, a bio-genetic engineering project, etc.
The local investment environment is being optimized. Improved infrastructure facilities, such as those involving energy, transport and telecommunications, provide better conditions for economic and social development.
Changde City is a transport hub, an energy-production base, and cultural center in the northwest of Hunan province, with a population of 6.1195 million. Its large enterprises include the Changde Tobacco Plant and the Jinjian Rice Processing Plant. Aquatic products from Dongting Lake are also economically important.
Changde has more than 300 places of tourism interest. The Peach Blossom Source is said to be the Chinese Shangri la or the ideal paradise of the ancient people in China. The Chengtuoshan ruins in Lixian County date back 8,000 years. Jiashan Temple at Shimen is a 1,000-year-old Buddhist center and said to be the source of the Japanese tea ceremony. The tomb of Monk Fentianyu next to the temple has been ascertained by scholars of the history of the Ming Dynasty as the tomb of Li Zicheng, leader of a peasant uprising, who lived a secluded life as a monk after his failure to overthrow the dynasty. The 2,500 m long wall of poems in Changde set a Guinness record as the world's longest tablet inscribed with poems. The UN Natural Wetland Protection Zone of west Dongting Lake and the Mount Huping National Nature Reserve both have natural charms.
Hengyang lies in the central south of Hunan. With an area of 45,310 square kilometers and a population of 7.2249 million, it consists of five districts (Yanfeng, Shigu, Zhuhui, Zhengxiang, Nanyue), two cities(Changning, Leiyang) and five counties (Hengnan, Hengyang, Hengshan, Hengdong, Qidong).It has been called a "city of wild geese" since ancient times, as flocks of wild geese stay here for the winter after a long journey from the north. Within the city there is the Returning Goose Peak, a symbol of the "city of wild geese".
Hengyang is rich in historical relics and beautiful natural scenery. The memorial temple to Marquis Cai Yong of the Han Dynasty, the Shigu (stone drum) Academy of Classical Learning and the tablet to the legendary Emperor Yu have attracted visitors for thousands of years. Mount Heng, one of the "five sacred mountains" of China, is famous for its magnificent landscape and ancient temples.
The city is one of the major producers of food grains, lean-meat pigs and cooking oil in China, and its agricultural production leads the country. Meanwhile, its process of industrialization is being accelerated. It is now China's largest mining equipment manufacturer. It also produces small-bore steel tubes, processes beallon (an alloy of beryllium and copper), makes ultra-high-voltage transformers and manufactures fine chemicals. It is also the largest biological pharmaceuticals production center in south-central China.
Yongzhou lies in the south of Hunan province, by the middle stretch of Xiangjiang River. With an area of 22,400 square kilometers and a population of 5.8209 million, it consists of two districts (Zhishan, Lengshuitan) and nine counties (Dong'an, Qiyang, Shuangpai, Ningyuan, Xintian, Daoxian, Jiangyong, Jianghua Yao Nationality Autonomous, Lanshan).
Yongzhou City was called Lingling in ancient times. It was one of the three well-developed areas and one of the four ancient prefectures in Hunan. It was also the world's original rice-growing area, the cradle of ceramics in China and the source of China's Taoist culture. There are more than 1,700 cultural relics and historical sites in the area.
The city has established trade and economic and technical cooperation relations with Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as well as the United States, Japan, Australia and 20 other countries.
Loudi City is located in the central part of Hunan Province, with a population of 4.2060 million. It has 48 kinds of mineral resources and the reserves have been verified for production.
Its antimony reserve ranks first in the world, and the reserves of coal, dolomite, limestone and marble rank first in the province. A sizable raw materials processing industry has been built. The local Lianyuan Iron and Steel Company is a backbone enterprise in Hunan.
The Hunan-Guizhou and Luoyang-Zhanjiang railways interconnect at the city. National highways Nos.320 and 207 run through the city area, and an expressway passes through it from east to west. Infrastructure facilities including telecommunications, energy supply and urban construction are being perfected. The city is expected to be a major transport hub and commercial product collection and distribution center in southern China in the future.
The National Forest Park at Mount Daxiong (Big Bear) is the largest primitive secondary forest in southern China. The 5,400-m-long Boyue (wave and moon) Cave with a forest of stalagmites is rated a world wonder. The Meijiang scenic area, with steep peaks and mysterious caves, is another attraction.
Huaihua City is situated in the southwest of Hunan Province. It is a new city, built in the 1970s along with the construction of the Hunan-Guizhou and the Jiaozuo-Liuzhou railways, having a population of 5.1199 million.
The city has a good ecological environment and a majestic landscape with many sites of historical interest. The newly discovered ancient trading town at Hongjiang is well preserved. Its marketplace, business names and offices are still clearly distinguishable, and it is of high archaeological value for the study of the history of economic and social development in western Hunan.
Chenzhou City is the southern gateway of Hunan and a well-known "home of non-ferrous metals", with a population of 4.7708 million.
Chenzhou has more than 70 kinds of mineral resources. Its reserves of tungsten, bismuth and molybdenum rank first in China; its tin and zinc reserves rank third and fourth in the country; its micro-crystal graphite accounts for more than 70% of the world's total reserves; its coal reserve is estimated at 1.1 billion tons; its hydraulic energy reserve is estimated at 1.7 million kilowatts, having been recognized as a small hydraulic power producing center by the United Nations; and it has a forest coverage of 62%, making it a major timber source for Hunan.
Chenzhou also has abundant tourism resources. The scenic attractions include one of the 18 retreats of Taoist immortal at Mount Suxian, Dongjiang Lake, a unique cave at Wanhua Rock, the National Geological Park at Mount Feitian, southern China's only international hunting ground at Mount Wugai and the National Forest Park at Mount Mang-shan.
Shaoyang, the gateway of the southwest, situated in the center of Hunan province, consists of eight counties(Xinshao, Shaodong, Shaoyang, Longhui, Dongkou, Xinning, Suining, Chengbu Miao Nationality Autonomous), one county-level city (Wugang City) and three urban districts (Shuangqing, Daxiang, Beita),with an area of 20,876 square kilometers ranking the second in Hunan and with a population of 7.4763 million ranking the first in Hunan. It has always been the important city of Hunan for 2500 years.
With green hills and clear rivers, Shaoyang boasts bountiful tourism resources, such as: Danxia Landform in Langshan Mountain Scenic Spot which is said to be more beautiful than Guilin; The Nanshan Pastures, which is one of the biggest in southern China; Wugang Yunshan, which is one of the best 72 places worshipping Buddha in China; and the original secondary forest-Suining Yellow Mulberry Nature Reserve.
Shaoyang has a vast area and rich resources, The reserves of gypsum, iron, tungsten and etc.stand the first in Hunan, Xuefeng mandarin orange was named by the premier Zhou Enlai.Wugang tong goose, Longhui chili, garlic, ginger, Xinning navel orange, Shaodong day lilies have long been famous. Mount Nanshan is the widest pasture in south China.Suining is called only one of an unpolluted oasis on the earth.
Zhangjiajie City, located in the northwestern part of Hunan Province, has a population of 1.6498 million.
Zhangjiajie has a first-rate scenic area at Wulingyuan. Tourism is the city's main industry. The scenic area covers 369 sq km, and is famous for its over 3,000 grotesque quartz rocks. The rock peaks, bridges, caves, lakes and waterfalls have interwoven with each other to form a magnificent wonderland. The area has abundant animal and plant resources, and its forest cover accounts for more than 97%. Primitive forests (including secondary forests) are seen here and there.
Large numbers of wild animals live in these forests. The Wulingyuan Scenic Area was listed in the Directory of World Natural Heritages by the UNESCO in December 1992. In addition, there are Mount Tianmen (Heavenly Gate) and Mount Jiutian (Nine Heaven) Cave scenic places. Drifting on the Maoyan Stream is a popular tourist activity.
Zhangjiajie is also inhabited by more than 20 ethnic groups, including Tujia, Miao and Bai. The multiple cultures and different customs of the different ethnic groups are blended with each other. Ancient houses made of wood or bamboo supported on stilts, vigorous drum dances and melodious folk songs are among the prime tourist attractions here. The majestic landscape, the clear water, the fresh air and the pristine folk customs are major elements attracting Chinese and foreign visitors.
Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture
Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture of Tujia and Miao Nationalities is the only autonomous prefecture for minority nationalities in Hunan. It is inhabited by people of the Tujia, Miao, Hui, Dong and Bai nationalities, who constitute 72% of the total population of 2.7703 million.
The autonomous prefecture is situated in the Wuling Mountain range. It not only has a beautiful landscape, but has also preserved large numbers of unique ethnic customs. It is now open to tourists from all parts of the country as well as the rest of the world. Its tourism trade is growing with each passing day.
The Xiangxi autonomous prefecture is the only region in Hunan Province that has been included in the state plan for the development of the western region on a large scale. It enjoys state preferential policies specially formulated for the development of the west. The people of Xiangxi are sure to seize this historical opportunity to accelerate its economic and social development.