Phone Code: 0731
Postal Code: 410000
Area: 11,819.5 square kilometers (4,562.3 square miles)
Population: 7,044,118 (statistics in 2010)
Nationalities: Han, Hui, Manchu, and Mongolian
Neighboring Areas: Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Sichuan, Hubei Provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Location: Changsha is located in the east and central part of Hunan Province between latitudes 27°51'-28°40'N and longitudes 111°53'-114°5'E.
Physical Features: Changsha occupies in the transitional region from Dongting Lake plain to the central hilly and basin area of Hunan Province, shaped like a strip from west to east. The landscape is high in the south and west and low in the north and east with the Xiangjiang River running through the city from south to north. Red soil makes up about 70% of the total land and the paddy soil about 25%. The land here is very fertile for the growth of various plants.
History: As early as 7,000 years ago, there were primitive villages in Changsha. With original names "Linxiang" and "Tanzhou" in different periods, the history of the city can date back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC - 476 BC) and Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC). The Changsha Prefecture was established during the reign of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 207 BC) who unified China. Its economy and culture were most flourishing in the Tang (618 - 907), Song (960 - 1279), Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) Dynasties. Also, as one of the main battlegrounds of the Sino-Japanese War, the city played an important role before the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Attractions: Natural attractions in Changsha are numerous since the city is blessed with mountains, rivers and lakes. Mt.Yuelu is a highly reputable scenic area in Hunan Province, which combines both natural scenery and cultural landscape, such as Ju Zi Zhou Tou (also called Long Island), Tian Ma Shan (Tianma Hill), Yuelu Academy, and Lushan Temple. Dawei Mountain National Forest Park is regarded as the "Green Pearl of the East Hunan". Hunan Provincial Museum is the biggest integrated historical museum in Hunan Province, where cultural relics unearthed from the Han Tombs at Mawangdui are most famous. In addition, being a city with long history in warfare, Changsha has many memorial sites of the revolution, among which the top ones are the Former Residence of Liu Shaoqi, Cemetery of Martyrs, Aiwan Pavilion, and Lei Feng Memorial Hall.
Transportation: Changsha is a transportation hub in South China. Its air, water and land traffic capacity has been growing rapidly in last few years.
Air: Changsha Huanghua International Airport is located 22 kilometers (13.66 miles) east of the city. The airport has flights to 47 domestic cities including Beijing, Taibei, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, and cities in foreign countries like Bangkok, Seoul, Pusan, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Train: Beijing-Guangzhou Railway stops at Changsha Railway Station. Wuhan-Guangzhou Railway as well passes through the South Railway Station and West Railway Station. Special railway lines from Hangzhou to Changsha and Changsha to Kunming are under construction now. In addition, the Chongqing-Changsha Railway project will be started within 2011.
Subway: Subway lines 1 and line 2 are expected to be finished before 2015, and the construction of subway lines 3, 4, and 5 will be started then.
Bus: Three long-distance bus stations operate buses to cities in neighboring provinces, such as Hefei, Nanchang, Xiamen, and Guilin. Public buses run to all parts of the inner city and its suburbs. Fares are CNY 1 for ordinary buses and CNY 2 with air conditioning.
Ferry: New Xianing Port is an inland river port along the Xiangjiang River and it is the biggest logistics center in the central region of China.
Taxi: The minimum taxi charge in daytime is RMB 6 and RMB1.8 per km after exceeding 2 km; at night time RMB 7 as the starting fare and RMB 2.16 per km exceeding 2 km.
Weather: The four seasons are obvious in Changsha. Rains come in late spring and early summer. The severe winter is short but summer is long and hot.
Dining and Shopping
When traveling in Changsha, Hunan Cuisine, also known as 'Xiang Cuisine', should not be missed. As one of the eight famous Chinese cuisines, it features heavy oil together with a spicy and pungent flavor. Famous specials are Zu'an Yu Chi (Stewed Shark Fins in Chicken Soup), and Zi Long Tuo Pao (Sauted Shredded Eel in Sauce), San Ceng Tao Ji (Three-Boxed Birds), Ma Ren Xiang Su Ya (Crisp Sesame Duck), Hua Gu Wu Dan Huang (Non-Yolk Eggs with Mushroom), Ma La Zi Ji (Spicy Chicken Cubes). Besides, snacks in the city is also numerous with unique flavor, such as Changsha Smelly tofu, Fire Palace, Sisters' Rice Balls, Changsha Tasty Shrimp, Duck Neck, and Fried Rice Vermicelli. The snack booths along Pozi Jie Street and Nan Men Kou are famous.
There are many local products in the city, such as Liuyang chrysanthemum stone, Xiangxiu embroidery, tea (including Jasmine tea), Ramee textile, tobacco, hemp and timber, and earthenware. The most important shopping areas are Zhongshan Road on the east bank of Xiangjiang River, Wuyi Road, and Huangxing South Road. In addition, Victoria Shopping Center beside the Bo Long Crossroads is a big department store where almost all living necessities can be found.