Kunming in Brief

Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province, serves as the center of the province in terms of politics, economics and culture. It is a tourist city renowned for its perennially pleasant weather, intriguing highland scenes and sights, and venerated history. Thus it has been entitled as "one of the historical and cultural cities of China". Kunming, although a huge city, is exceptionally clean and tidy. The city has the best climate of all Chinese cities, popularly known as the "Spring City". The citys products include foodstuffs, trucks, machine tools, electrical equipment, textiles, chemicals, building materials and plastics. The modern Kunming is one of the most popular tourist cities in China, especially after the International Horticulture Exposition 1999 held in Kunming.


Geographical Features

It covers an area of 15,561sq.km with a population of 3.7 million. It lies at between 102o10 and 103o40 east longitude and between 24o22 and 26o33 north latitude and 4,000 meters in the northern mountain region, 2,000 meters on the southern highland above the sea level. Kunming enjoys a pleasant climate with little change in temperature throughout the year. The temperature averages about 15 Co in the urban area, 19.7 Co in the summer and 7.5 Co in the winter. Kunming does not have severe win or hot summers and the natural features of the four seasons are clearly defined, the rainy season is between May and Oct when 85% of the annual rainfall of 1,000mm falls. There are Nujiang, Lancang, Jinsha, Yuanjiang, and Nanpan Rivers around.



One fascinating aspect of the city is the many different cultures and nationalities thriving here. Various cultural and religious activities are practiced by the people here and add to the vibrancy and color of Kunming city life. There are twenty-four ethnic minorities here, among which mainly are Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Dai , Miao, Lisu, Hui, Lahu ,Va, Naxi, Yao, Tibetan , Jingpo, Bulang, Pumi, Nu, Achang, etc .They speak different languages ,but the government language is still the mandarin. The main religion in Kunming is Buddhism. These different minority groups produce a wealth of cuisine and entertainment- inspirational to the weary China traveler.



Kunming has a rich history .As early as 2,000 years ago, Kunming served as a major textile distribution center on the "Southern Silk Road" which started from Sichuan, traversed through Yunnan and continued on to Vietnam. In the 14th century the Ming Dynasty took over Yunnanfu, as Kunming was then known, building a walled town on the present site. In the 19th century, the city suffered several sieges at the hands of the sultan of Dali. Kunming began to be influenced by the West during the middle of the 19th century when France took control of Indochina, and Britain took control of Burma, accessing the city from the south. By 1900 Kunming opened for foreign trade. The French sought to capitalize on the regions copper, tin and lumber resources and in 1910 their Indochina railroad reached the city and is still in operation today. Kunming expanded during WW II, when factories were established and refugees from eastern China fleeing the Japanese poured into the city. Anglo-American forces sent supplies to Nationalist troops entrenched in Sichuan and Yunnan to help their efforts against the Japanese. Supplies came overland on the famous Burma Road, a 1000-km haul from Lashio to Kunmings Renmin Road, a road carved out of the mountains in 1937-38 by 160,000 Chinese with virtually no equipment.

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