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Shijiazhuang (石家庄 Shíjiāzhuāng) is the capital of Hebei province.

Shijiazhuang is a young city. It was an unimportant town until the building of the ZhengTai and JingHan railways saw it become an important regional transport hub. Captured by the PLA under the leadership of the CPC in 1947, it was the cradle of the new China, and for three years housed the headquarters of the CPC.

Nowadays it‘s the capital and main economic center of Hebei province and a relatively important city in China. Shijiazhuang is the largest pharmarceutical base in China and is as well an important center in the textile, IT, manufacturing and chemical industries. In 2007, it was listed as one of the top 15 economic powers in China.

According to the latest census figures, Shijiazhuang has a population of 2.19 million in the city proper, with a further 7.4 million people living in its 20 affiliated counties.


There are a number of sightseeing places in the area, both natural and historic. Most are not located within the city proper, where, however, there is a one must location - the Hebei Provincial Museum, which contains expositions from two major discoveries of the recent decades: the tomb of King of Zhongshan (中山王) from the late 4th century BCE, and the royal tombs of prince and princess of the Han principality of Zhongshan (Mancheng 满城 Han tombs) from the late 2nd century BCE.

Pilu Monastery
Pilu Monastery (毗庐寺, Vairocana monastery) is located at Shanjing village in the northwestern suburbs of SJZ city (bus 115 or 204 from the railway station, entrance fee 20 RMB). The monastery was built in the Tang dynasty and underwent major restorations under the Yuan and Ming dynasties. The main hall (Vairocana hall, Pilu dian 毗庐殿) contains a stone pedestal with excellent Tang carvings; and murals from the Yuan-Ming period, some of which are truly magnificent (if you have the luck to visit when the sunlight is good enough to observe the details).

Major sites around Zhongshan can be divided according to their location to the south, west and north of the city.

Zhaozhou bridge and Bolin Monastery
Zhaozhou bridge is a great masterpiece of Chinese civil engineering. Created around 600 CE under the Sui dynasty, it survived numerous floods and earthquakes, and is considered nowadays as the oldest stone single arch bridge in the world.

Entrance fees: 30 RMB (including the adjacent small museum with a collection of stone carvings, steles and statues from the vicinity of the Zhou county.

How to get there: A bus from SJZ leaves from the southern Nanjiao keyun zhang (南焦客运站) station, which can be riched by bus 35 from the Central Railway Station. Take a bus directly to Zhao county or, better, to the Ningjin (宁晋) county, get off the bus at the junction from which you can walk to the bridge (1 km).

Bolin monastery (柏林寺) is located in the Zhao county proper, 3 km from the Zhaozhou bridge and can be reached by the same buses. It is a large monastery, dating back to the Tang dynasty.

Cangyan Mountain and the Stone Village
The really beautiful Cangyan Mountain (苍岩山, 90 minutes drive from SJZ) picture postcard temples built on the steep hillsides. There is a pavilion built on a bridge over a gorge that was filed in the final scenes of the Oscar winning film "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon". Buses to Cangyan Mt. leave from the Western Xi Wang keyunzhan (西王客运站, reached by bus 9 from the Central Bus Station).

Stone Village (Shitou cun 石头村, or, more precisely Yu Family Village) (于家村) - a perfect example of Chinese stone architecture, with an excellent local temple (Qingliang pavillion 清凉阁) built in the late Ming-Early Qing period (16th-18th centuries): it may serve as an introduction to popular beliefs of the Chinese peasants. The village is located 20 km from the Jingxing county and can be visited en route to the Cangyan Mt.

Those who really love old towns can continue from the "Stone Village" to the Niangzi guan (娘子关, literally female fortress on an internal section of the Great Wall), another 20 km to the east, in the Shanxi province. You can take a taxi for 80-100 RMB from the "Stone Village" or from the nearby Jingxing county (井陉县) to Nianzi guan, or go directly there from SJZ by train (6414, leaves at 6:38, back at 17:59 from Nianzi guan). The dusty coalminers‘ town has two major attractions: a small but impressive section of the internal Great Wall, separating Shanxi from Hebei, a site of major battles from the sixth century on; and a beautiful village built on a stream, with private watermills run by many villagers (ask for Shui shang ren jia 水上人家).

Zhengding county (正定)
The old town of Zhengding (once Zhending 镇定) is located only 15 km to the north of SJZ, bus 201 or 31 from the SJZ railway station). It features numerous beautiful sites, most specifically the Longxing Temple 隆兴寺, built in the Tang dynasty, which features a huge 22m high bronze Buddha statue donated by the Song emperor in the 11th century. It is also home to four unique ancient pagodas.


As a young industrial city, Shijiazhuang city proper is generally considered to have relatively few sights of historical or cultural interest. Exceptions are:

--Martyrs‘ Memorial (Lieshi Lingyuan) dedicated to Norman Bethune, Eric Liddell, and Dwarkanath Kotnis
--Hebei Museum (Hebei Sheng Bowuguan): including the exhibition of the royal cemetary of the Zhonghsan kingdom (4th century BCE) and exhibits from Mancheng tomb from the early Han period (2nd century BCE).
--Well-equipped leisure centers, especially the luxury bathing centers.


Aggregated with 3 China top 10 wholesale markets, it is a good place for shopping for cheaper stuff. There are also a number of very large modern western-style department stores. The biggest of these is the "Bei Guo" centre in the middle of the city just down the road from the "People‘s Park".

For a fantastic authentic Chinese feast you cannot go past the restaurant "Hebei House".

Rehe huiguan (热河会馆) restaurant, just opposite the railway station (slightly to the south) features excellent Hebei and Manchu cuisine.

There is a small but lovely, and relatively cheap, Korean restaurant on Zhongshan Xi lu (中山西路), a few minutes walk from the railway station.

The good citizens of Shijiazhuang enjoy the Chinese alcohol made from rice "Bai Jiu," or white spirit. It is a strong drink and you need to develop an acquired taste. You will surely get to try some whenever you eat out with Chinese friends.

The main bar for expats and foreign teachers is located inside Changan Guangchang on Zhongshan Lu, it is next to McDonald‘s (just tell the taxi driver ‘Maidanglau zhongshan lu‘ and you should get there). It is called the "Youth Year Beer Bar" however it is more popularay known as McDonald‘s Bar. It is in the far right hand corner of the bottom floor of Changan Guangchang with Sonia and Kevin at the bar. Sonia never smiles.

Seven Club(‘qi jiu ba‘ in Chinese) is the main night club that all the expats and foreign teachers go to, located to west of the train station. The beer is not great but it has the best atmosphere compared to any other club.

     Photo Album of Hebei