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Hunan Province, situated in South China, has a short name Xiang (湘) because the Xiang River running across the province from south to north. Hunan (means the south of a lake in English) got its name from its geographic location, lying to the south of Dongting Lake, one of the three largest lakes in China. Hunan Province borders five provinces, with Jiangxi to the east, Guizhou to the west, Guangdong and Guangxi to the south and Hubei to the north.
Surrounded by mountains on the east, west and south, and by the Yangtze River on the north, Hunan is blessed with a lot of beautiful natural scenery, including the picturesque landscapes in Zhangjiajie City. The province is also known for its important position in Chinese history: Hunan Province plays a magnificent role in Chinese modern history, because many influential people were born in the province, including Mao Zedong (the top leader of People Republic of China from 1949 to 1976) and Zeng Guofan (a great government officer in Qing Dynasty).
Hunan cuisine is also called Xiang cuisine, featuring richness, creaminess, moistness and fragrant, combined with a delicate use of chili. Duck cooked in Xiang style is really a recommended cuisine. Read more about Xiang cuisine.
By visiting Hunan Provincial Museum, visitors can get a clear know to the profound history of the province with the rich collections like Mawangtui Han Tomb of Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and the Bronze ware crafts of Shang (1675 BC–1029 BC) and Zhou (1029 BC–771 BC) Dynasties.
Hunan Province is well known for its natural beauties, and the highlight should be the marvelous landscapes in Wulingyuan Scenic Area, one of the world heritage sites in China: there are spectacular peaks, green lakes, murmuring streams, verdant trees and typical karst cave – Yellow Dragon Cave with limestone in various fantastic shapes. Juzi Island, located in the center of Xina River and surrounded by waters in all directions, is another famous scenic spot in Hunan.
Besides, there are many historical sites in Hunan Province. Yuelu Academy is the most ancient academy in China with a long history more than 1,000 years. Shaoshan is the birthplace of Mao Zedong, and there situate Former Residence of Mao Zedong and Ancestral Hall of Mao Family. There are numerous ancient towns in the province: Fenghuang Ancient Town, a timeless town hemmed by rolling mountains and watered by a smoothy flowing river; Tuojiang Ancient Town, a town situated by the Tuojiang River, is an ideal destination for relation and holiday-spending.
Hunan is a multiracial province with minorities of Hui, Tujia, Miao, Zhuang, Manchu, Dong, Yi, Tibet, etc. Located at a valley, Shanjiang Miao Village is a nice destination to have a close encounter with Miao architectural style, costumes, customs, songs and dances, especially during Miao traditional festival such as Lusheng Festival and Sister Rice Festival.
Located in South China, Hunan has five airports (another two are under construction), six main railway lines, highways with total mileage ranking the third among 23 provinces in China, and relatively convenient waterway transportation.
There are totally five airports in Hunan Province: Huanghua International Airport in Changsha City, Hehua Airport in Zhangjiajie City, Taohuayuan Airport in Changde City, Lingling Airport in Yongzhou City and Zhijiang Airport in Huaihua. Moreover, two more airports are still under construction.
These six railway lines have covered the whole province, which bring Hunan Province a great convenience. Besides travelers can reach Hunan Province from lots of domestic cities (like Beijing, Guangzhou, Liuzhou, Luoyang, Wuhan and Shanghai) by trains, travelers can also arrive at all the tourist cities and regions (like Changsha City, Zhangjiajie City, Fenghuang County, and Shaoshan City) by railway.
In Hunan, there are eight national roads running through the province, which brings Hunan an advanced network of highway. No matter cities or scenic pots in Hunan, they are linked by highway. Hence, travelers can reach most places in Hunan by highway, including Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Fenghuang Ancient Town and Tuojiang Ancient Town.
There are four rivers running through Hunan Province, with the largest one is Xiang River. These rivers provide the province a great convenience on traffic, with Yueyang, Changsha, Zhuzhou, Xiangtan, Shaoyang, Huaihua, Changde and Yongzhou are important transfer station of waterway traffic network in Hunan.