Shenyang is the capital city of Liaoning Province, as well as the largest city in Northeast China by urban population. Along with its nearby cities, Shenyang is an important industrial center in China and serves as the transportation and commercial hub of China's northeast—particularly with Japan, Russia, and Korea. A titan of heavy industry since the 1930s, the city has been diversifying its industry and now has a solid industrial foundation, a good land and air transport network, abundant natural resources, and a skilled workforce.
As the capital of the Liaoning Province and the largest city in the northeast of China, Shenyang is a city steeped in history. The city’s name, Shenyang, contains a reference to the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang. It literally means "to the Yang side of the Shen River", that is located at the north side of the Shen River. Archaeological findings show that humans resided in present-day Shenyang as early as 8,000 years ago. The remains of the Xinle culture, a Neolithic period society over 7,200 years old, are located in a museum in the north part of Huanggu District of Shenyang. The City of Shenyang was first established by Qin Kai, a general of Yan in the Warring States period about 300 BC. It was at that time named Hou City. In 1625, Nu'erhachi built his imperial palace and was laid to rest in one of the first two imperial tombs of the Qing Dynasty, Fuling Tomb. The official name was changed to Shengjing or Mukden. His son is buried in Zhaoling tomb, which is the second of the first two imperial tombs. The imperial palace and the two tombs are all listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. It was in Shenyang that the Russian army was defeated by the Japanese in 1905. It was also here, on September 18th, 1931 that the Mukden incident ignited a war between China and Japan that would see the Japanese occupation of all of Northeast China. Japan was able to exploit resources in Manchuria using the extensive network of railroads. For example, vast expanses of Manchurian forest were chopped down. The 20th century saw Shenyang develop as a major industrial center. Today, the city is rapidly losing its older structures with large scale construction throughout the city, like all cities in China.
Mukden Palace (Gugong), Shenyang Rd., Shenhe District (Bus 222 or 213 can take you there for ¥1). Former Imperial Palace - First built in 1625 for Nu'erhachi and inherited by his son Abahai (Huang Taiji), the Former Imperial Palace of Shenyang is one of two royal complexes extent in China today. The splendid and distinctly ethnic Manchu architectural style of the palace is still in perfect shape. This is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site alongside the palace in Beijing. It is also a 4A rated tourist site on the Chinese national scale.
September 18 Memorial Museum: At 10:30 PM on 18 September, 1931, a bomb exploded along the Japanese railway line near Shenyang. Though instigated by the Japanese, the Chinese were blamed for the event, giving the Japanese an excuse to invade and occupy the whole northeast section of China. Shenyang was the epicenter of that invasion, so it is most appropriate that the museum for the '9.18 Incident', as it is known, is in Shenyang next to the spot where the explosion occurred. The museum, as one would expect, depicts the incident from a Chinese perspective. It is not for the faint-hearted because it unflinchingly displays the atrocities of war. Only the main descriptions are available in English--enough to follow the course of events. Anyway, the pictures and exhibits speak for themselves.
Shenyang Horticultural Exposition Garden, Dongling District. This is the site of the 2006 International Horticultural Exposition. As one of Shenyang's main tourist attractions, it continues to operate though the expo has officially ended. It features international gardens reminiscent of Epcot Center at Disney World in the U.S.A. It also features gardens for different provinces and cities within China and the expo's most recognizable feature, the Lily Tower, a massive structure inspired by its namesake flower. Before its transformation to the Expo Gardens, this was once the much humbler Botanical Gardens. It opens in the spring and closes in October.
The Qipan Mountain Scenic Area is famous for its greenery during springtime, its attractions in summer, the maple in autumn, and snow in winter. Once host of the international chess match, it has been the scenic spot of Liaoning Province and was appraised as a national 4A tourism scenic area in 2000.
With an extensive network of streets and expressways, Shenyang is served by air, rail, bus, subways, trolley buses, and taxis throughout the city.
Shenyang Taoxian International Airport (airport code SHE) is 20 km away from downtown. Basic routes ensure convenient trips to more than 50 domestic cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and more than 30 international regions such as Seoul, Cheongju of Korea, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Sydney, Los Angeles and other cities.
Besides, Shenyang is the railway hub for northeastern China with two major railway stations: Shenyang North Railway Station and Shenyang Railway Station. The Shenyang North Railway Station was built in the 1980s. Built by Russians and expanded later by the Japanese, the Shenyang Railway Station has a history of more than 100 years. Both railway stations were reconstructed in 2013 and are used for regular service.
Furthermore, Shenyang is connected by several major expressways. The Jingshen 6 lane Expressway is some 658 kilometers away and goes to the city of Beijing. The Shen-Da Expressway, connecting Shenyang and Dalian, is the first expressway ever built in China. It is the fastest highway (8-lane) linking one of the largest port city to Shenyang. Shendan Expressway is a 4-lane expressway to Benxi and Dandong. It also serves Shenyang Taoxian International Airport. There are other expressways to Fushun, Changchun, and Xinmin.
Shenyang is located in the northeast of China, the center of Liaoning Province. It is in a monsoon climate of medium latitudes. The annual average temperature here is 6.2～9.7°C, the annual average rainfall is 600-800 mm, and the average frost-free period is 155-180 days. It has four distinct seasons. The spring is short and windy and the temperature rises quickly. It rains a lot during the summer and the highest temperature could reach 35°C. In autumn, the weather is pleasantly cool and it is the most suitable time for hiking, picnics, and other outdoor activities. The winter here is dry and cold with plenty of snow, and the temperature might decline towards -30°C. We suggest that international students check the weather report for better preparation.
Shenyang is famous for dozens of delicate cuisines, most of which have hundreds of years of history. Gastronomists from all around the world come to enjoy the special flavor of traditional Shenyang food and learn about the continuation of its catering culture. What you cannot miss to taste include Laobian dumplings, Li Liangui bacon pie, Yuanweizhai roast duck, Zhang Jiuli carbonado, and Song’s wonton. What typically appears for breakfast is fried bread stick, soybean milk, clay-oven rolls, rice porridge, etc. Traditional snacks include prawn crackers, dried tofu, bean paste cake, hemp flowers, candied gourd, and so on. You can always find something to satisfy your appetite.
As in other big cities in China, besides the authentic local Dongbei (northeastern) dishes, you can sample other Chinese cuisines and western food. Usually, the best western food can be found in upscale shopping malls and hotels. American fast food can be eaten here with franchises of McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway, and Burger King in most major shopping centers. Yoshinoya, the Japanese fast food chain, has several branches across the city. International cuisine tends to be at the higher end of the price market, but dining out is still cheap, especially if you stick to local food.