Hanzhong, the birthplace of Han
Reputed as the birthplace of Han family during the reign of emperor Liu Bang and a cornucopia of China, Hanzhong (汉中) is a city located in the southwest of Shaanxi Province with Qin mountains in the north, Dabashan mountains in the south and a basin in the middle. Admistering one district and ten counties, it occupies an area of 27,000 sq.km. (10,425 sq. mi.) and has a population of 3.72 million.
Hanzhong played an important part during the Eastern and Western Han Dynasties and the Three Kingdoms Period. Since it controlled the main route for an army to invade Sichuan, the then Shu kingdom, it saw many battles happening in this period and thus today it is endowed with rich tourist attractions including ten cultural site under national protection and 45 under provincial protection. Up to 2009, Hanzhong has six national nature reserves, three national water conservancy areas and four national forest parks. Today, you can find many cultural relics left behind by that historical period in Hanzhong Museum as well as the ruins of Hanzhong City Wall. On 28 November 2007, Hanzhong was entitled as "China's excellent tourism city".
Up to October 1995, 2,942 species of plants are found growing in Hanzhong including seed, fern and moss and lichen, fungi and algae plants with a forest cover rate of 51.2% and a vegetation cover rate of 56% ranking first in the whole Shaanxi Province. Rare animals like pandas, giant salamanders, golden monkeys, takins and the symbol of the city, Nipponia nippon (朱鹮).
While visiting Hanzhong, you also have the opportunity to experience the local culture and customs. For example, Han Diao Guang Guang (汉调桄桄), one of the nine types of Shaanxi operas, is particularly popular with its characteristic local color. Traditional dwellings such as stone houses, bamboo houses, Diaojiao buildings and Siheyuan (quadrangle courtyard in English) can still be found scattering mostly in the mountainous areas of Hanzhong. Be sure to have a try of the delicious local food and snacks which will surely impress you deeply.