Hunan Province is located in the southern part of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. Since it lies to the south of Dongting Lake, the second largest fresh water lake in China, it was given the name Hunan (literally meaning south of the lake). As the Xiangj iang River runs through the province from north to south, it has been shortened to Xiang. Hunan has a total area of 211,800 square km, a population of 65 million, and is home to the Tujia, Miao, Yso, Dong, Bai, Hui and Zhuang ethnic groups. The province governs 12 cities at the prefectural level, 11 administrative offices and one autonomous prefecture. The provincial capital is Changsha.
Hunan is in the continental sub-tropical monsoon humid climate zone. It has a short winter and a long frost-free period. The sunshine lasts for along period during the day and the four seasons are clearly distinguished. The annual average temperature is 16-18 'C, and the annual average rainfall is between 1,200 and 1,700 mm. The best tourism season is the fall, but traveling is pleasant from April to November.
Hunan has a long history, with abundant products, beautiful scenery and many places of interest. The historical and cultural cities of Changsha and Yueyang are located in the province. Also, there are 25 tourism areas at the State or provincial level, 22 nature reserves at or above the provincial level, 51 ancient or memorial buildings and more than 70 relics, ancient tombs or tablet inscriptions. Hunan is also the home of many famous people, including Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and Hu Yaobang. Lots of tourists come here to track down their stories.
Hunan is "a land of fish and rice", teeming with delicacies, fruits and handicrafts of every kind. Its embroidery is known across the country and the ammonite stone carvings are famous throughout the world. Both artistic forms have won favor with tourists. Travelers cannot only taste the delicious Hunan dishes, but can also enjoy colorful festivals with minority nationalities. Various kinds of folk art are demonstrated here.
Hunan -- hometown of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong, has become one of the new hot tourist destinations in China.
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