Baoding
Located in central Hebei Province and in a triangle formed by Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, Baoding has long been referred to as a “place of strategic importance near the capital and its environs” and as the “South Gate of the Capital”. Although it is small in size, Baoding possesses a long history and abundant natural scenes that cannot be overlooked. Baoding is the city where the Zhili Provincial Governor Office was located during the Qing Dynasty, thereby enjoying a higher status than other provincial capitals then. In fact, both Li Hongzhang and Yuan Shikai once served as Zhili Provincial Governor in Baoding. Baoding leans against the Taihang Mountains to the west and has Baiyangdian Lake in its eastern part. Some beautiful scenic spots in Baoding that is close to Beijing, including Yesanpo, Baiyangdian Lake, Tianqiao Waterfalls, Baishi Mountain, and Langya Mountain are all favorite destinations to field trip lovers in Beijing. Baoding takes great pride in its profound history. During the Spring and Autumn Period, about 2,000 years ago, the State of Jin built walls and moat around a settlement in the place which is now Baoding for the first time in the history as a city. From then on, Baoding became a county, commandery or prefecture and even the provincial capital of Zhili Province during various dynasties. It was long deemed as a military town of strategic importance as well as one leg of the Beijing-Tianjin-Baoding tripod in ancient times. The Ancient Lotus Pond located at the downtown is the site of an institution of higher learning during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng in Qing Dynasty, which was deemed one of the top ten gardens back then. Baoding is home to Mancheng Han-Dynasty Mausoleum, which served as the resting place of Zhongshanjing Monarch Liu Sheng of the Western Han Dynasty and which once caused a great sensation as a result of the unearthing of the Jade Clothes Sewn with Golden Thread. Baoding is also home to Qingxi Mausoleum, where 4 emperors in Qing Dynasty including Emperor Yongzheng were buried. Some military campaigns waged either against the Japanese forces as part of the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance or as part of the Chinese Civil War also took place in and around Baoding. In fact, the story of the five martyrs of Langya Mountain and many true stories depicted in familiar old films like Struggling in an Ancient City, and Keep Red Flag Flying took place in Baoding.
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