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185

Héběi 河北
Héběi is Běijīng’s forgotten cousin from the countryside: she’s got less money, wears last
year’s fashions and can catch a chicken faster than a taxi, but hey, she’s still family. But while
cuisine, language and favourite opera songs may overlap, the similarities end there. The
capital is slick, modern and cosmopolitan; the province has more of a rough-edged charm
comprised of grazing sheep, brown earth and fields of corn and wheat.
Don’t let those tattered edges put you off though; Héběi is more than just one big stretch
of farmland. It first put itself on the world map in the 1920s, when dragon bones uncovered
in Zhōukǒudiàn (southwest of Běijīng) turned out not to belong to some mythical creature,
but instead to Homo erectus, the precursor to modern humans. At the time, the remains –
which may date back as far as 500,000 years – gave rise to a short-lived theory that humankind originated in Asia. (This has since been refuted.)

HIGHLIGHTS
„ Escape the capital for some downtime

at the rustic imperial retreat at Chéngdé
(p192)
„ Scramble up Jiǎo Shān (p200) at

Chéngdé
J¸míngyì
Ji†o Shƒn

Shānhǎiguān for sparkling ocean vistas
and a little Great Wall adventure
„ Check out one of China’s more unusual rock

collections – the village of Yújiācūn (p190)
„ Strike off for Jīmíngyì (p198), a 13th-century

stop on the pony express

Zhèngdìng
Yújiƒc¥n

„ Count temples and compare pagoda styles

at the ancient walled town of Zhèngdìng
(p189)

„ POPULATION: 42.1 MILLION

„ 

HÉBĚI

And even if it’s not the cradle of civilisation, Héběi is hardly disappointing – especially as
there are a number of sights that can be done as a weekend getaway from the capital. Chief
among them is Chéngdé, the majestic 18th-century summer retreat of the Qing emperors.
Twentieth-century rulers preferred seaside Běidàihé, but much more impressive is the Great
Wall, whose serpentine roller-coaster ride begins nearby at the sea’s edge and continues across
the province’s rugged northern Yanshan Mountains. What you may remember most though are
trips to low-key towns like Yújiācūn and Jīmíngyì, where you’ll be rewarded with overwhelming hospitality and a glimpse into the hard-working lives of China’s many farmers.

186 H É B Ě I • • S h í j i ā z h u ā n g

lonelyplanet.com

0
0

HÉB¦I

200 km
120 miles

Q

INNER
MONGOLIA

Chìf‰ng

ao
il

To Mongolia
(360km)

Fuxin

tu
Mo

Wéich†ng

un t a

Kƒngb†o

To Hƒ›rb¸n
(730km)

Cháoyáng...
HÉBĚ I
Héběi is Běijīng’s forgotten cousin from the countryside: she’s got less money, wears last
year’s fashions and can catch a chicken faster than a taxi, but hey, she’s still family. But while
cuisine, language and favourite opera songs may overlap, the similarities end there. The
capital is slick, modern and cosmopolitan; the province has more of a rough-edged charm
comprised of grazing sheep, brown earth and fields of corn and wheat.
Don’t let those tattered edges put you off though; Héběi is more than just one big stretch
of farmland. It first put itself on the world map in the 1920s, when dragon bones uncovered
in Zhōukǒudiàn (southwest of Běijīng) turned out not to belong to some mythical creature,
but instead to Homo erectus, the precursor to modern humans. At the time, the remains –
which may date back as far as 500,000 years – gave rise to a short-lived theory that human-
kind originated in Asia. (This has since been refuted.)
And even if it’s not the cradle of civilisation, Héběi is hardly disappointing – especially as
there are a number of sights that can be done as a weekend getaway from the capital. Chief
among them is Chéngdé, the majestic 18th-century summer retreat of the Qing emperors.
Twentieth-century rulers preferred seaside Běidàihé, but much more impressive is the Great
Wall, whose serpentine roller-coaster ride begins nearby at the sea’s edge and continues across
the province’s rugged northern Yanshan Mountains. What you may remember most though are
trips to low-key towns like Yújiācūn and Jīmíngyì, where you’ll be rewarded with overwhelm-
ing hospitality and a glimpse into the hard-working lives of China’s many farmers.
Héběi 河北
POPULATION: 42.1 MILLION www.yunnantourism.net
HIGHLIGHTS
Escape the capital for some downtime
at the rustic imperial retreat at Chéngdé
( p192 )
Scramble up Jiǎo Shān (p200) at
Shānhǎiguān for sparkling ocean vistas
and a little Great Wall adventure
Check out one of China’s more unusual rock
collections – the village of Yújiācūn ( p190 )
Strike off for Jīmíngyì ( p198 ), a 13th-century
stop on the pony express
Count temples and compare pagoda styles
at the ancient walled town of Zhèngdìng
( p189 )
Yújiƒc¥n
Zhèngdìng
J¸míngyì
Ji†o Shƒn
Chéngdé
185
© Lonely Planet Publications
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