|Country||People's Republic of China|
|• Mayor||Wu Qixiu (吴奇修)|
|• Party Secretary||Chen Sanxin (陈三新)|
|• Prefecture-level city||5,006 km2 (1,933 sq mi)|
|• Urban||280 km2 (110 sq mi)|
|• Metro||2,793 km2 (1,078 sq mi)|
|Population (2010 census)|
|• Prefecture-level city||2,748,552|
|• Density||550/km2 (1,400/sq mi)|
|• Urban density||2,400/km2 (6,300/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||640/km2 (1,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||China Standard (UTC+8)|
Xiangtan (Chinese: 湘潭; pinyin: Xiāngtán; Wade–Giles: Hsiang-tan) is a prefecture-level city in Hunan province, China, located on the lower reaches of Xiang River. The hometowns of several founding leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, including Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and Peng Dehuai, are in the Xiangtan prefecture, as well as the hometowns of Qing dynasty painter Qi Baishi and scholar-general Zeng Guofan.
As of 2010[update], it had 2,748,552 inhabitants, of whom 1,779,960 lived in the built-up area (2 urban districts plus Xiangtan county). Together with the four adjoining urban districts of Zhuzhou, its built-up area is home to 2,586,948 inhabitants. In 2007, the city is named China's top ten livable cities by Chinese Cities Brand Value Report, which was released at 2007 Beijing Summit of China Cities Forum.
The name "Xiangtan" is derived from local geography, though there are several explanations for its origin which vary somewhat in details. In any case, "Xiang" (湘) refers to the Xiang River, while "Tan" (潭) is a Chinese term that means "deep pool", specifically one produced by a moving current or waterfall; "Tan" in rivers generally are places where the current eddies. One reasoning is that the city was built by a large eddy in a bend of the Xiang River, and was thus called "Xiang-Tan". Another more likely story says the name originated in the Xiangzhou Eddy, today called the Zhao Eddy (昭潭). The Zhao Eddy is an ancient whirlpool located in a deep section of the Xiang River near the traditional border between Xiangtan and Changsha, and is named for King Zhao of Zhou, who is said to have died there.
Relics from Daxi culture indicates that people inhabited the Xiangtan area in the 3rd millennium BC. Shang Dynasty bronzewares have been found in the region, as well as tombs from the Warring States period. During the Three Kingdoms Period, the kingdom of Eastern Wu built a city in the west of modern Xiangtan City and organized the Hengyang Commandery (衡陽郡) around it. In 749, the Tang Dynasty organized the area as Xiangtan County, centered at modern Yisu River (易俗河). By the time of the Northern Song Dynasty, Xiangtan's good access to both land and water trade routes had established it as the major commercial center of the region.
Ming and Qing Dynasties
Xiangtan prospered throughout the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty upon an economic foundation of trading in rice and traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients, and was sometimes referred to as "Little Nanjing" or "Golden Xiangtan". Prior to the Second Opium War, Xiangtan was a central transfer point for import and export goods going to and from ports in Canton, Shanghai, and Wuhan, and had approximately 200,000 inhabitants.
Geography and climate
Xiangtan has a humid subtropical climate with long, hot summers, and cool to cold, cloudy, damp winters with occasional flurries. Within its administrative area, the annual mean temperature ranges from 16.7 to 17.4 °C (62.1 to 63.3 °F), with the coolest month being January, which averages 4.1 °C (39.4 °F), and the hottest July, at 29.7 °C (85.5 °F).
- Yuetang District (岳塘区)
- Yuhu District (雨湖区)
- Shaoshan City (韶山市)
- Xiangxiang City (湘乡市)
- Xiangtan County (湘潭县)
In 2006, Xiangtan's nominal GDP was ¥42.2 billion (US$6.2 billion), a year-on-year growth of 13.2% from the previous year. Its per capita GDP was ¥15,455 (US$2,265).
Xiangtan is famous for its production of Lotus seed and Soy sauce. People in Xiangtan like to chew areca nut (槟榔; pinyin: bīngláng), though the area itself doesn't grow them. Most raw areca nut fruits are from Hainan and processed locally. The history of consuming areca nut dates back to 400 years ago, when people chewing it for pandemic prevention. Nowadays, it is quite common to see people chewing areca nut in Hunan. In 2003, the sales revenue of areca nut industry in Xiangtan has reached ¥800 million.
Xiangtan is well connected by roads, river and rail. There is shuttle bus connecting Changsha Huanghua International Airport.
Many people continue to visit Shaoshan, Xiangtan to visit the birthplace of Mao Zedong, the former chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and the leader of the People's Republic of China from 1949-1971.
There is good tennis training tradition in Xiangtan, and professional female tennis player Peng Shuai was born and trained here. Xiangtan Stadium was the home to Bayi Football Team of the Chinese Football Association Jia League (now Chinese Super League) from 2002 to 2003.
Colleges and universities
- Xiangtan University (湘潭大学)
- Hunan University of Science and Technology (湖南科技大学)
- Hunan Institute of Engineering (湖南工程学院)
Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.
Xiangtan is the birthplace of:
- "China’s Top 10 Most Livable Cities". hnloudi.gov.cn. Hunan Loudi Official Government. 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2014-08-04.
- "Despite Risks, an Addictive Treat Fuels a Chinese City" article by Dan Levin in The New York Times August 19, 2010, accessed August 20, 2010
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