China

Changsa, Hunan Province

Changsa, is the capital of Hunan Province. I was here 15 years ago, but it has now become a sprawling city of about 8 million and is unrecognisable to me. But, there are still pockets of the old city hidden in the side lanes where time seems to have stood still.

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The restaurant that we had our dinner on our first night in Changsa
The restaurant where we had our dinner on our first night in Changsa

We were here to meet up with a local chinese friend who lives in Changsa. He was to drive us to visit Zhangjiajie (which apparently inspire the scenes of the Avatar movie) and Fenghuang (a famous ancient river town).

On our friend’s recommendation, we stayed in Changsa for 2 nights to take in some of the sights and historical places that it has to offer.

On our second day, our first stop was supposed to be the Hunan Provincial Museum which house (amongst others) the more than 2,000 years old mummified body of Lady Xin Zhui. However, the museum was closed for renovation, so we visited the actual site of her burial ground, the Mawangdui tombs of the Han Dynasty constructed between 186 and 165 BC. The tomb was excavated in 1970, when the preserved corpse of Lady Xin Zhui was discovered.

Our friend from Changsa leading the way to the burial site of Lady
Our friend from Changsa leading the way to the burial site of Lady Xin Zhui
The ticket office of the burial site
The ticket office of the burial site
The tomb of Lady
The tomb of Lady Xin Zhui
The actual burial site
The actual burial site
Photos of her coffin, silk blouses and other artefacts buried together with her
Photos of her coffin, silk blouses, lacquerware and other artefacts buried together with her

Our next stop was the Hunan contemporary art museum, where apart from arts, artefacts up to a few thousand years old were on display.

Hunan contemporary art museum
Hunan contemporary art museum

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After the museum visit, we had lunch in a restaurant in the outskirts of Changsa. The food was quite good and cheap.

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Children posing for photo in front of the restaurant
Children posing for photo in front of the restaurant

After a satisfying lunch, we proceeded to visit the Yuelu Academy (on the campus of modern day, Hunan University), which was founded more than 1,000 years ago in 976 AD during the Song Dynasty. Hunan University, is a descendent of the academy.

Fruit vendor outside the university walls
Fruit vendor outside the academy walls

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Local tourists
Local tourists
The university grounds
The academy grounds
Art student
Art student

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On our last day in Changsa, we visited the home of two very famous people in China. The first one is Mr Lee Shaoqi (a contemporary of Mao Tze Tong) who rose through the ranks to become the President of the People’s Republic of China from 1959 to 1968.

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The home of Liu Shaoqi

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The road from the home of Liu Shaoqi to the Liu Shaoqi museum

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The Liu Shaoqi museum
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Liu Shaoqi

Our last stop was to visit the residence of Chairman Mao. Before the visit, we had lunch in a restaurant own by a Madam Mao, who have over 300 restaurants in China.

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The restaurant own by Mdm Mao
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Mdm Mao (in red) who is more than 80 years old
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This building is the school where Chairman Mao attended. It is next to his family home
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The entrance to the family home of Chairman Mao

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View of Chairman Mao’s family home from across the pond

After the visit to Chairman Mao’s family home, we departed Changsa for Zhangjiajie, which is about 5 hours drive from Changsa. But as it was quite late in the afternoon, we decided to stay a night in Changde (which is half way to Zhangjiajie) before proceeding to Zhangjiajie the next morning.

We reached Changde about 6.30pm and headed straight to this beautiful restaurant for dinner before checking into our hotel for the night.

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The entrance to the restaurant
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Inside the beautiful restaurant
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Dishes available are placed on this long table with the name of the dish written on the bamboo chopsticks. Just pick the chopstick corresponding to the dish you want and hand it over to the waiter

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Cured meat

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Our Hotel for the night
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The catholic church opposite our hotel

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Changde is a very clean city. The only place of real interest is the lake. After breakfast in our hotel (which was quite bad), we checked out and visited the lake before continuing our journey to Zhangjiajie.

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Bicycles for rent
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Dragon boats

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All images shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikkor 24-120mm f4g lens.

1 thought on “Changsa, Hunan Province

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