Zhengzhou travel guide
Clean with wide fragrant flower lined streets, the ancient city of Zhengzhou is a beautiful place to explore. The capital of Henan Province, its ancient roots have given the city a flavour truly unique to Zhengzhou alone.
Located in the centre of the province, the sprawling city has received little attention to it from historians despite the fact that it has played a vital role in the province’s, as well as national, history. Indeed, Zhengzhou was one of the Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China and throughout the subsequent years, became a vital and major transportation hub.
A city guide to Zhengzhou is important if you want to understand the history and culture, as well as discovering what things to do are available. The first port of call in any city guide is the Henan Provincial Museum (Henan Sheng Bowuguan). Because of its roots stretching back into the ancient Shang Dynasty, the museum features an amazing array of artefacts dating to then. These include a bronze bu featuring a beast motif and some famous oracle bones. The museum also has galleries dedicated to other periods of Chinese history, namely the Ming and Qing eras, featuring an impressive array of ceramics and other artefacts.
Zhengzhou has some other impressive cultural attractions which are guaranteed to amaze any tourist. The Shang City walls (Shangdai Yizhi) are the remains of a sophisticated people who lived here at the dawn of Chinese history. The walls are, in fact, tall long mounds of earth but they offer tourists the chance to walk them and enjoy the amazing views of the city and surrounding areas.
If you are a lover of Chinese temples then Zhengzhou will certainly make you fall in love. There are several temples which are well worth visiting. Chenghuang Temple (Chenghuang Miao) offers free admission and you can enjoy the monks lighting incense among the thousands of worshippers who flock here, and the Confucian Temple (Wen Miao) is also good for a visit.
It is, however, the Shaolin Temple (Shaolinsi) which draws more visitors than anywhere else. Situated about two hours away in the Song Mountains, lies the temple where the Shaolin martial arts was created centuries ago. Constructed in 495 CE, the temple was originally the home of an Indian monk named Batuo (later known as the Grand Monk) and then later the home of Boddhidharma. After nine years of mediating in a cave, he designed a distinctive style of fighting named xingyi boxing – thus, the birth of Shaolin martial arts.
There is a wonderful antique market held in Zhengzhou. Some of the items are fakes but you can generally tell its authenticity depending on its price. There are some lovely antique shops here as well but please note that you will not be able to take items over 100 years old out of the country.
Restaurants in Zhengzhou are an assortment of regional and national styles of cuisine, so you could try a Sichuan meal one day and Cantonese one the next. The city has a wonderful range of street foods to noodle shops to high class sophisticated restaurants.
Hotels in Zhengzhou tend to run to the mid-range options rather than cheap backpacker options. As with most Chinese cities, the more affordable hotels can be found near the train station.
Zhengzhou is a sprawling city but it is one that will make you feel right at home with its friendly people and hospitable atmosphere. Clean, charming and full of cultural attractions waiting for you to visit them, you will never forget your time in Zhengzhou.