Heze, formerly known as Chaozhou, is a prefecture-level city in southwestern Shandong, China. It is home to 8,287,693 inhabitants, of whom 1,346,717 live in the built-up area around the seat of government in the Mudan District. Heze has a monsoon-influenced climate that lies between the humid subtropical and humid continental zones (Köppen Cwa/Dwa), with four well-defined seasons. The city is warm and nearly rainless in spring, hot and humid in summer, crisp in autumn and cold and dry in winter.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
In August 1949, Heze was detached from Shandong and given to the experimental province of Pingyuan. It returned to Shandong just over three years later. In April 1953, Heze and Jining gained counties from the former prefecture of Huxi after its abolishment. In Chinese culture, peonies symbolize elegance, dignity, and prosperity. It certainly fits Heze. A true peony town. It has served as a pivotal cultural and religious centre for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism.
Brief City History
Peony city – sits at the southwest corner of Shandong Province. It is also a region of eight counties that bears the same name. The total population is over 8.8 million. Peony, the National Flower. The peony is China’s national flower, very much like turnips are the Dutch’s national flower. In Chinese culture, peonies symbolize elegance, dignity, and prosperity. It certainly fits Heze. A true peony town. Peony passion is felt as soon as you arrive in town. There are peony gardens almost everywhere in Heze. There are farms that occupy 80,000 sq km, the largest in China. Peony farms supply 9 colored flowers to 100 other cities in China and export to 20 countries including France, Japan and Canada. Peony by-products is the major local industry. They are available as cosmetic products, nutritional supplements, foods, industrial designs, textiles, etc. You name it, they have it. Step into any shopping mall and you will find peony-related products at every corner. Peony season. The best time to visit Heze is between April and May where the peonies are in full bloom. The whole of Heze is buried in a huge flower bed with fragrances so enchanting you will not want to leave. Be sure to visit the Chaozhou Peony Festival in April and May if you are in town. The festival often draws millions of tourists, artists and traders every year. It is also truly a carnival loaded with hundreds of events that you could take a few days to digest. One thing for sure to participate in is the peony-themed culinary shows and tasting some of Heze’s peony-related foods. Peony Museums. Heze is also host to major peony research facilities in China. Peonies in Heze are biologically classified into 10 categories and 1,237 varieties. Scientists make them blossom at all seasons for research purposes. If you missed them in April and May, you can still visit peony museums that are available all-year-round. Good to see a full blossom in white snow. Traveling to Heze is a breeze. The distance from Qufu, Confucius’ hometown, to Heze is 170 km. They are connected by the interstate highways. Backpackers often take buses as well as local trains to reach Heze from anywhere in Shandong. If you are traveling by a bullet train from Beijing, it takes approximately 4 hours to arrive. And if you are arriving from abroad, it is only 2 hours by car via the newly constructed highway from Jinan Airport.
The Water Margin Park at Yuncheng is Heze’s 2nd charm at the national level. Heze is proud to be the place whereof the Chinese Robin Hood saga “the Outlaw of Water Margin” happened. The story describes how 108 local legendary heroes banded together and punished corrupted officials. It also paints the lives of the 108 who hunted in the woods daily, robbing the rich to aid the poor. The story was written about 900 years ago.
The Water Margin Hero Town at Yuncheng is the first of our highly recommended places in Heze. Yuncheng County has a very long history. The Yuncheng county castle was initially constructed as a fortress to ward off neighboring contending states by the Lu Kingdom in 587 BC. It was completely restored to a historical town with 36 courtyards built precisely to the themes in the novel, 72 action-scenes, and 108 “notable places” from the novel. You will find heritage museums, county courthouses, the Timely Tea House, Martial Club, Aunt Sun Inn, and national heritage folk arts including paper cutting, embroidery, and paintings based on 900-year-old stories. All the buildings have been restored to its original conditions. All streets and layouts of each building style are based on the descriptions of the novel. Foods prepared have also been cleverly illustrated in banquets as described in the novel at all restaurants. Plan at least one full day to wander around the streets. If you have time to spare, you can see related historical events carved into the high ceiling beams and pillars in much detail. For visitors interested in culture and architectural heritage, you will find a mixed architectural style of China’s southern provinces. These pieces have been brought from afar, disassembled, and reassembled into its original form with each piece coded with a unique serial number that perfectly matches. The workmanship is extremely superb that you will be shocked at its details. Leave enough time for the weaponry showcase later in the evening. There are long knives as heavy as 130 kg. Fortunately, there is a local club that has been practicing the maneuvering technique of those high ranked martial art masters. Their titles have been granted as generations are passed on. Hear the sound of flying swords as each performance blow you away. Greeted everywhere by historical characters from the novel in costume, you will be able to join martial art teachers to loosen your back and sharpen your skills Dine with “local heroes” to get the true sense of what it means to “drink wine with jumble bowls, and swallow pork shoulders by chunks” as depicted in the novel. Songjiang Martial Art School. Songjiang is a leading character in the novel. He was the one who started the band of heroes and was able to convince the rest of the 107 wondering marshals to join his camp. The best martial art school in Heze is named after Songjiang. It is located inside the Water Margin Hero Town. It is a boarding school with 3,600 students nationwide. Not only does the school teach students from China, but there are many international students as well. In addition to academic courses, students are trained with the best masters. Many of whom are national champions. You will see performances by students as part of your touring package. What do you think of their skills? Some of these students have even performed at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Do not be surprised when a few national champions from the school who are current students greet you.
Sun Bin Museum. Sun Bin (Sun Tzu’s descendent) is a well-known military strategist. Many Chinese people confuse Sun Bin with Sun Tzu since both of them had written books with the same name, the Art of War and are recognized in history as distinguished military strategists. On top of that, since the word, “Tzu”, is a respectful title for high achievers, we call both Sun Tzu and Sun Bin with respect. History opened a new chapter when books written by Sun Tzu and Sun Bin were unearthed in the same place at the same time in Linyi city, less than 200 km from Yuncheng, Heze. These are confirming facts that there are two hometown heroes in Shandong.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
Many people in Heze have never seen a foreigner. The local dialect is more widely spoken than standard Mandarin. Native Chinese speakers typically have no trouble with the dialect, as it is similar to the Beijing dialect, but it can prove challenging for non-native Chinese speakers.
Important Types of Commerce in Heze
Major industries include mining and ore processing; iron and steel; aluminum; coal; machinery; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemical; fertilizers; food processing; automobiles and other transportation equipment including rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Heze
Heze has been in a trade relationship with several countries. Because of such close relations, the necessity to learn and understand the Chinese language has increased in importance over the years. This developed the need for Chinese translators and interpreters. Moreover, for businesses planning to tap into Heze, in order to maximize the voice of your brand and help them to reach a new Chinese -speaking audience with enormous marketing opportunities in the global market, the next step is to partner with a professional translation and interpretation company.
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