Home of the giant panda
The giant panda, a Chinese national treasure, is one of the rarest animals in the world. The total number is estimated to be 1,500, including those living in the wild, 80 percent of which are in Sichuan Province.
A breeding center for giant pandas called Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was founded in the north suburbs of Chengdu. It is the only one of its kind in the world that's located in a metropolitan area. In order to better protect wild giant pandas, Chengdu has established nature reserves in Dujiangyan City, Chongzhou City, and Dayi County. Sichuan Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve, the biggest of its kind in the world, is only 130 km (81 mi) outside Chengdu. After the Wenchuan Earthquake, most of it was moved to Yanan.
The western world came to know giant pandas only after a French missionary named David first encountered this species in Sichuan in 1869. Now, the somewhat clumsy giant panda is a symbol representing the World Wildlife Fund. They are also a messenger of friendly communication between Chengdu and international cities. Currently, giant pandas are also reared in U.S.A, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Thailand as well as Mexico.
Chengdu has established the world-renowned breeding and research base for giant pandas, which attracts almost 100,000 visitors each year. Covering tens of hectares with bamboo groves and a native-like habitat, the base is the only one of its kind located in an urban area. A museum is open to the public throughout the year.
In 2008, after the release of the American animation movie Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and other DreamWorks members visited the city of Chengdu. In addition to seeing live pandas, crew members learned about the local culture. Katzenberg has stated that Kung Fu Panda 2 incorporates many elements of Chengdu in the film. The film's landscape and architecture also found inspiration from those found at Mount Qingcheng, a renowned Taoist mountain. In an interview with Movieline, Berger stated that ‘we never really thought of this as a movie set in China for Americans; it's a movie set in a mythical, universalized China for everyone in the world'.
On 11 January 2012, six captive-bred pandas were released to a "semi-wild" environment in Dujiangyan, Chengdu. Scientists believe that success in the reintroduction project would potentially help save the endangered giant panda. Retired NBA basketball star and animal activist Yao Ming attended the ceremony.
World natural and cultural heritage sites
Mount Qingcheng is amongst the most important centres of Taoism (Daoism) in China. It is situated in the suburbs of Dujiangyan City and connected to downtown Chengdu 70 km (43 mi) away by the Cheng-Guan Expressway.
With its peak 1,600 m (5,200 ft) above sea level, Mount Qingcheng enjoys a cool climate, but remains a lush green all year round and surrounded by hills and waterways. Mount Qingcheng's Fujian Temple, Tianshi Cave, and Shizu Hall are some of the existing more well-known Taoist holy sites. Shangqing Temple is noted for an evening phosphorescent glow locally referred to as "holy lights".
Dujiangyan Irrigation System
The Dujiangyan Irrigation System (58 km (36 mi) away from Chengdu proper) is the oldest existing irrigation project in the world with a history of over 2000 years diverting water without a dam to distribute water and filter sand with an inflow-quantity control. the great engineer was built by Libing and his son,The irrigation system contains floods and droughts throughout the Plain of Chengdu, and people in Chengdu sing the praises of their great job that have done for them.
Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries
Covering a total of 9,245 km2 (3,570 sq mi) over 12 distinct counties and 4 cities, Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, lie on the transitional alp-canyon belt between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. It is the largest remaining continuous habitat for giant pandas and home to more than 80 percent of the world’s wild giant pandas. Globally speaking, it is also the most abundant temperate zone of greenery. The reserves of the habitat are 100–200 km (62–124 mi) away from Chengdu.
The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries are the most well-known of their kind in the world, with Wolong Nature Reserve, generally considered as the "homeland of pandas". It is a core habitat with unique natural conditions, complicated landforms, and a temperate climate with diverse wildlife. Siguniang Mountain, sometimes called the "Oriental Alpine" is approximately 230 km (140 mi) away from Chengdu, and is composed of four adjacent peaks of the Traversal Mountain Range. Among the four peaks, the fourth and highest stands 6,250 m (20,510 ft) above sea level, and is perpetually covered by snow.
Culture of poetry and the Three Kingdoms
Wuhou Shrine (Temple of Marquis Wu) is perhaps the most influential museum of Three Kingdoms relics in China. It was built in the Western Jin period (265–316) in the honor of Zhuge Liang, the famous military and political strategist who was Prime Minister of the Shu Han State during the Three Kingdoms period (220–280). The Shrine highlights the Zhuge Liang Memorial Temple and the Hall of Liu Bei (founder of the Shu Han state), along with statues of other historical figures of Shu Han, as well as cultural relics like stone inscriptions and tablets. The Hui Mausoleum of Liu Bei represents a unique pattern of enshrining both the king and his subjects in the same temple, a rarity in China.
Du Fu thatched cottage
Du Fu was one of the most noted Tang dynasty poets; during the Lushan-Shi Siming Rebellion, he left Xi'an (then Chang'an) to take refuge in Chengdu. With the help from his friends, the thatched cottage was built along the Huanhua Stream in the west suburbs of Chengdu, where Du Fu spent four years of his life and produced more than 240 now-famous poems. During the Song dynasty, people started to construct gardens and halls on the site of his thatched cottage to honor his life and memory. Currently, a series of memorial buildings representing Du Fu's humble life stand on the river bank, along with a large collection of relics and various editions of his poems.
Ancient Shu civilization
The Jinsha Ruins are the first significant archeological discovery in China this millennium and were selected in 2006 as the key conservation unit of the nation. The Jinsha Relics Museum is located in the northwest of Chengdu, about 5 km (3.1 mi) from downtown. As a theme-park-style museum, it is for the protection, research, and display of Jinsha archaeological relics and findings. The museum covers 300,000 m2 (3,200,000 sq ft), primarily housing the relics, exhibitions, and a conservation center.
Golden Sun Bird
The Golden Sun Bird was excavated by archaeologists from Jinsha ruins on 25 February 2001. In 2005, it was designated as the official logo of Chinese cultural heritage by the China National Relic Bureau.
The round, foil plaque dates back to the ancient Shu people and is 94.2 percent pure gold and extremely thin. It contains four birds around the perimeter, representing the four seasons and directions. The center cutout contains 12 beams of sunlight, representing the 12 months. The exquisite design is remarkable for a 3,000-year-old piece.
Situated in the northeast of the state-protected Sanxingdui Site, Sanxingdui Museum is 40 km (25 mi) north of Chengdu, covering a total area of 7,000 square metres (75,000 square feet).
The main collection highlights the Ancient City of Chengdu, Shu State & its culture, while displaying thousands of valuable relics including earthenware, jade wares, bone objects, gold wares, and bronzes that have been unearthed from Shang dynasty sacrificial sites.
Buddhist and Taoist cultures
Chengdu Daci Monastery
Known as the "Nonpareil Monastery" in China, the Daci Monastery in downtown Chengdu was first built during the Wei and Jin dynasties, with its cultural height during the Tang and Song dynasties. Xuanzang, an eminent Tang dynasty monk, was initiated into monkhood and studied for several years here; during this time, he gave frequent sermons in Daci Monastery.
Also named Xinxiang Monastery, Wenshu Monastery is the best preserved Buddhist temple in Chengdu. Initially built during the Tang dynasty, it has a history dating back 1,300 years. Parts of Xuanzang's skull are held in consecration here (as a relic).
Located in Xindu District, Baoguang (meaning divine light) Monastery enjoys a long history and a rich collection of relics. It is believed that it was constructed during the East Han period and has appeared in written records since the Tang dynasty. It was destroyed during the Ming dynasty in the early 16th century. In 1607, the ninth year of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty, it was rebuilt.
Qingyang Taoist Temple
Located in the western part of Chengdu, Qingyang Temple ('Green Goat Temple') is not only the largest and oldest Taoist temple in the city, but also the largest Taoist temple in Southeast China. The only existing copy of "Daozang Jiyao", a collection of classic Taoist scriptures, is preserved in the temple.
According to history, Qingyang Temple was the place where Lao Tzu preached his famous Dao De Jing to his disciple, Ying Xi.
Featured streets and historic towns
The Wide and Narrow Lanes
The Wide and Narrow Lanes (Kuan Xiangzi and Zhai Xiangzi) were first built during the Qing dynasty for Manchu soldiers. The lanes remained residential until 2003 when the local government turned the area into a mixed-use strip of restaurants, teahouses, bars, avant-garde galleries, and residential houses.
Historic architecture has been well preserved in the Wide and Narrow lanes.
Nearby Wuhou Shrine, Jinli is a popular commercial and dining area resembling the style of traditional architecture of western Sichuan. "Jinli" (锦里) is the name of an old street in Chengdu dating from the Han dynasty and means "making perfection more perfect".
The ancient Jinli Street was one of the oldest and the most commercialized streets in the history of the Shu state and was well known throughout the country during the Qin, Han and Three Kingdoms periods.
Many aspects of the urban life of Chengdu are present in the current-day Jinli area: teahouses, restaurants, bars, theatres, handicraft stores, local snack vendors, and specialty shops.
Huanglongxi Historic Town
Facing the Jinjiang River to the east and leaning against Muma Mountain to the north, the ancient town of Huanglongxi is approximately 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Chengdu. It was a large military stronghold for the ancient Shu Kingdom. The head of the Shu Han State in the Three Kingdoms period was seated in Huanglongxi, and for some time, the general government offices for Renshou, Pengshan, and Huayang counties were also located here.
The ancient town has preserved the Qing dynasty architectural style, as seen in the design of its streets, shops, and buildings.
Located in the center of downtown Chengdu, Chunxi Road (春熙路) is a trendy and bustling commercial strip with a long history. It was built in 1924 and was named after a part of the Tao Te Ching.
Today, it is one of the most well-known and popular fashion and shopping center of Chengdu, lined with shopping malls, luxury brand stores, and boutique shops.
Anren Historic Town
Anren Historic Town is located 39 km (24 mi) west of Chengdu. It was the hometown of Liu Wencai, a Qing dynasty warlord, landowner and millionaire. His 27 historic mansions have been well preserved and turned into museums. Three old streets built during the Republic of China period are still being used today by residents. Museums in Anren have a rich collection of more of than 8 million pieces of relics and artifacts. A museum dedicated to the memorial of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake was built in 2010.
Luodai Historic Town
Luodai was built, like many historic structures in the area, during the period of the Three Kingdoms. According to legend, the Shu Han emperor Liu Shan dropped his jade belt into a well when he passed through this small town. Thus, the town was named 'lost belt' (落带). It later evolved into its current name 洛带 with the same pronunciation, but a different first character.
Luodai Historic Town is one of the five major Hakka settlements in China. Three or four hundred years ago, a group of Hakka people moved to Luodai from coastal cities. It has since grown into the largest community for Hakka people.
Most bridges, streets and alleys were well-preserved until 1949 when new construction started.
As of July 2013, the world's largest building, the New Century Global Centre is located in the city. At 328 feet (100 m) high, 1,640 feet (500 m) long, and 1,312 feet (400 m) wide, the Centre houses retail outlets, a 14-theater cinema, offices, hotels, the Paradise Island waterpark, an artificial beach, a 164 yards (150 m)-long LED screen, skating rink, pirate ship, fake Mediterranean village, 24-hour artificial sun, and a 15,000-spot parking area.