The 9 major cities in China that have really flourished throughout the ages, is there your hometown?

China is an ancient civilization with a long history, with thousands of years of uninterrupted life, fireworks and cultural heritage.

These cities were once dynastic capitals, some were military and economic towns in the past, but all of them have a deep cultural heritage,

What are some of these cities that have endured through the millennia of the past and the present?

I. Nanjing

Nanjing was formerly known as Jinling, Jianye, Jiankang, and Jiangning,

It is the ancient capital of the Six Dynasties with a prominent position in Chinese history, which is surrounded by the Yangtze River barrier in the north, with a wide river surface.

In the eastern suburbs is the Purple Mountain, shaped like a dragon, and in the western suburbs is the Stone City, shaped like a tiger,

The rich plains of the south of the Yangtze River in the back,

The city is connected to the river and the sea, and to the south and the north,

The geographical location is unique,

As the old saying goes, “If you camp in the southeast, you must guard Jiankang”.

Nanjing has a long history,

The founding of the city began in 571 B.C. with King Ling of Zhou

The first year of the city was 2,593 years ago.

But Nanjing’s real historical fame began during the Three Kingdoms, as the capital of the Eastern Wu, officially

began to take its place in history

. In addition to the Eastern Wu, Nanjing was also the capital of the Eastern Jin Dynasty and the Southern Song, Qi, Liang, and Chen Dynasties, giving it the name of the “ancient capital of the six dynasties,” which is the most frequent and longest-standing capital in the South.

Nanjing has been one of the top ten cities in China since the Three Kingdoms period, and has been the capital of many dynasties since then


Among the top ten cities in China.

Nowadays, Nanjing is also called “the capital of ten dynasties”, which includes the history of the Southern Tang Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and the Republic of China, and if we include

If you include the first capital of the Southern Song Dynasty, founded by Emperor Gaozong of the Song Dynasty, and the four years of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms of Yang and Wu, Nanjing was the capital of 12 dynasties, which is unique among Chinese cities.

Nanjing today is an important city in Eastern China,

The capital of Jiangsu Province, a sub-provincial city, and an important city in the Yangtze River Economic Belt,

In 2020, the city’s GDP will be RMB 148.17 billion, ranking 10th among the top 100 cities in China.

As one of the first national historical and cultural cities and an important birthplace of Chinese civilization, Nanjing is now

continues to perform the splendor of history.

II. Guangzhou

When it comes to Guangzhou, more people know it as a cosmopolitan city, but many people are not aware of its past history, and some even believe that historically it was a barbarian land.

Guangzhou has a long history and a rich cultural heritage. From

Qin Shi Huang set up Nanhai County here after unifying Lingnan

from the beginning,

Guangzhou has been

The county was ruled by


State government



the administrative center. By the time

During the Western Han Dynasty, Guangzhou entered the top ten cities in China, and by the Tang Dynasty it was already the largest port in China at that time, and remained the number one port in China until the Northern Song, Ming and Qing Dynasties. The first city in the world after Beijing and London, it is truly the first city in Lingnan in ancient times.

Guangzhou is the only city recognized by the United Nations to have prospered for 2,000 years, and today

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province, the only national central city in South China,

The leader of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area


With a GDP of 2,501.9 billion yuan in 2020, the city ranks 4th among China’s top 100 cities, and is a cosmopolitan city with a thousand-year cultural deposit and a bright modern spirit.

III. Chengdu

Located in the western part of Sichuan, Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province, a remarkable city in the past and in the present,

Since the Warring States period, Chengdu has been one of the top ten cities in China, and it has been one of the top ten cities in China for many dynasties since then.

According to historical records, Chengdu was founded 2,500 years ago during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, from

Geographically, the city is not at the foot of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, neither by the sea nor along the rivers, and even now, transportation is still not convenient,

It has never been the capital of any major dynasty in history,

But Chengdu has continued to prosper for more than 2,000 years since its founding, with a level of commercial development that doesn’t correspond to its location, all because of a great water project, the Dujiangyan.

The Chengdu Plain used to be a watery place, but the completion of Dujiangyan changed the fate of Chengdu, making it

into an affluent country of heaven,

The terrain is flat and

The soil is fertile, the water is abundant,

It is the only large-scale plain in southwest China, and one of the few irrigated plains in China that is flooded and drought-proof, with an extremely high population carrying capacity and the right soil to raise a metropolis.

Zhuge Liang once praised “Yizhou as a dangerous and fertile land, a land of heaven”. The city of Chengdu, which is located in the southwest, has been a popular destination for secessionist forces since ancient times, and there have been seven local secessionist regimes throughout history, with Chengdu during the Shu Han period being undoubtedly the most prestigious.

Chengdu has been the most prosperous city in the southwest and the political, economic, and cultural center of the region for many dynasties, and was known as the city of jinquan during the Qin and Han dynasties because of its silk weaving industry.

Chengdu’s cultural atmosphere is more traditional, while its fashionable lifestyle has become a pioneer of the times. The city of Chengdu is not only the economic capital of the southwest, but also a place of leisure with the most Chinese cultural characteristics, thanks to its deep history, which makes the culture of elegant people and the city culture compatible. Chengdu’s GDP in 2020 achieved 177.16 billion yuan, accounting for more than a third of the province’s GDP in Sichuan, ranking 7th among Chinese cities.

IV. Xi’an

Xi’an, known as Chang’an in ancient times, was the first city in China’s history to establish a capital, and several dynasties chose Xi’an as their capital because of its excellent geographical location and pleasant climate.

Xi’an is located in the center of the Guanzhong Plain, surrounded by

The Hakka Pass,

Dasan Pass and


and other fortress barriers


Convenient transportation,

easy to defend and difficult to attack, plus

The Guanzhong Plain at that time

The climate was favorable and

The fertile land, the many rivers, the developed agriculture, the superior geographical environment, provided good conditions for the ancient city, and is the reason for the longevity and continuity of this thousand-year old capital, as the ancients said: “If you want to king the northwest, you must live in Guanzhong”


Xi’an has an illustrious history of capital building. It has a history of 3,000 years since the first capital city, the Western Zhou, and 13 dynasties have been built here, making it the capital of 13 dynasties.

Xi’an entered the list of the top ten cities in China from the Western Han Dynasty and continued through the Sui and Tang Dynasties. At the end of the Tang Dynasty

The successive blows of the An-Shi Rebellion, peasant revolts and vassal wars caused Xi’an to decline rapidly.

After the Song and Yuan dynasties, with the gradual shift of the country’s strategic center of gravity and the rise of Kaifeng and Beijing, Xi’an was replaced as the national capital and its status declined sharply until the founding of the country, when it was still a major town in the northwest but never again among the top ten cities.

Although Xi’an did not continue the glory of a thousand years ago, today Xi’an still ranks as the leading city of the five northwestern provinces, the economic center of the northwest, the only sub-provincial city in the northwest, with a GDP of 1002 billion yuan in 2020, ranking 16th among the top 100 cities in China in terms of comprehensive strength, from the once flourishing ancient capital to the current town of the northwest. The city’s GDP is expected to reach RMB 100.2 billion by 2020, ranking 16th among China’s top 100 cities in terms of overall strength.

V. Beijing

Beijing has a long history and is known as the ancient capital of the Six Dynasties, but

The first time it became a capital city, it has passed

more than 3,000 years.

It became the capital of Yan in 1045 B.C., but

At that time, Beijing was far from the cultural center of the Central Plains and was still on the periphery, and in 938 AD,

The Liao dynasty established a companion capital here, and it was the Jin dynasty that really began to build a capital here, in 1153 AD,

The Golden Kingdom of Wanyan Liang

The capital was officially established in


, called Zhongdu, which was the beginning of Beijing’s official capital, 869 years ago.

Since the Qin dynasty,

Beijing has been the capital of the north,

Its real rise to prominence came after the Song dynasty,

From the Liao to the Yuan dynasties, several dynasties built their capitals here, but none of them was the result of a northern nomadic invasion of the city.

As the threat of these nomads to the Central Plains continued to grow,

Beijing also

changed from a mere military town to

to defend against foreign enemies and

A strategic place of national importance, Beijing’s historical status has become more and more prominent,

After Zhu Di seized the throne, he moved the Ming capital to Beijing based on this strategic consideration.

The importance of Beijing’s geographical location as the capital is also obvious. It is the choke point of the northeast and Guan’in, surrounded by mountains on three sides,

Overlooking the Central Plains,

Water and land access to the granaries of Jiangnan, with strategic supplies, and strategically secure in defense with Shandong and Liaodong Peninsula.

Throughout the long history of China, the city has remained unchanged and its historical and cultural lineage has continued uninterrupted through several dynasties and more than 800 years before and after, like Beijing as the national capital, which is also rare in the world history.

Today, Beijing is the capital of the Republic,


The political center, the central city of the country

, a world-renowned cosmopolitan city,

The city’s GDP will be 3,610.2 billion yuan in 2020, ranking as the 2nd largest city in China, second only to Shanghai.

VI. Hangzhou

Hangzhou, formerly known as Qiantang,

In 222 B.C., Qin Shi Huang set up Qiantang County here, which was the beginning of Hangzhou’s establishment. The name “Hangzhou” appeared for the first time in history when the county was abolished and the state was established in 589 A.D. (Sui Kaihuang 9). The first record of Hangzhou’s history is the construction of the city wall at Phoenix Hill two years later.

Before the Sui and Tang dynasties, Hangzhou was largely unknown,

Thanks to the opening of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal,

Hangzhou began to

developed and

It became the “throat of Wu-Yue, the most powerful river and sea”, establishing its position as a transportation hub in the lower reaches of the Qiantang River and accelerating the rapid economic and cultural development of Hangzhou.

During the Sui and Tang dynasties, Hangzhou was among the 10 largest cities in China at that time. The real glory of Hangzhou in history began when the capital of Wu-Yue was established during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, after

After 85 years of operation by three generations of Wu and Yue and five emperors, Hangzhou developed into a place of economic prosperity and cultural convergence for the whole country, laying the foundation for the economic and cultural rise of Hangzhou later.

During the Northern Song Dynasty, Hangzhou was the capital of the two Zhejiang provinces and enjoyed unprecedented development for nearly 150 years, becoming one of the four major commercial ports in China.

and traded with more than 60 countries and regions, reaching as far as the Mediterranean Sea and the coast of East Africa,

It is the most populous state city in Jiangnan. By the time the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty was established, Hangzhou began its heyday in history,

Shops lined up, Chinese and foreign merchants gathered,

The imperial city was majestic, with 13 gates alone and a total population of 1.24 million


After the Song Dynasty, in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, Hang

The economic prosperity and cultural flourishing of Hangzhou was preserved until the Taiping movement in the 19th century,

The second Taiping attack on Hangzhou in 1861 resulted in an 80% loss of population, leaving the city devastated by one of the largest battles in its history.

Today Hangzhou is

one of the central cities of the Yangtze River Delta, an important international center for e-commerce,

The city’s GDP will reach 1,610.6 billion yuan in 2020, ranking 8th among Chinese cities,

is China’s

The pinnacle of second-tier cities, Hangzhou still continues to perform the legends of its history after a thousand years.

VII. Suzhou

Suzhou, also known as Gusu, was founded in 514 B.C. by King Helu of Wu, who ordered Wu Zixu to build the city of Helu as the capital of the kingdom, which is the city of Gusu.

The location is in the ancient city of Suzhou today,

This was the beginning of the founding of Suzhou,


After more than 2,500 years of vicissitudes, the location of the ancient city of Suzhou has remained unchanged, with its ancient urban pattern of “parallel water and land, adjacent rivers and streets” and the unique appearance of “small bridges and flowing water, whitewashed walls and tiles”

This is why the ancient city of Suzhou is also known as “the first ancient city in China”.

Suzhou’s experience as a famous city in China’s history is also unique. It became the capital of the State of Wu in the Spring and Autumn Period, the only time Suzhou has been a capital city, and Gusu City was ranked among the top cities in the country during the Warring States Period

Among the 10 largest cities in the country, Suzhou was the only majestic state in the south of the Yangtze River during the Tang Dynasty, and reached its peak during the Qing Dynasty, when it was known as the economic center of China, with the Suzhou Prefecture paying almost one tenth of the country’s annual taxes, making it the wealthiest city in the south of the river.

Today, Suzhou is neither a sub-provincial nor a planned city, but an ordinary prefecture-level city that has produced extraordinary results.

In 2020, the city’s GDP achieved RMB2017 billion, surpassing the GDP of 12 domestic provinces (regions) and ranking 6th among the top 100 cities in China


The biggest highlight of Suzhou is its exceptionally developed county economy,

All four counties and cities under Suzhou’s jurisdiction not only made it to the top 10 in the 2021 ranking of the country’s top 100 counties and cities in terms of overall strength, but Kunshan also took the first place,

A remarkable economic miracle.

VIII. Changsha


is one of the first national historic cities with a long history,

is the birthplace of Chu civilization and Xiangchu culture,

A city whose name has remained the same for three thousand years, and whose site has remained the same as well.

Changsha belonged to Qianzhong County of the State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, and became Changsha County during the Qin Period,

Western Han Dynasty


Changsha State

The ancient city of Changsha was founded more than 2,400 years ago when it was ruled by Linxiang County and began to build a city wall.

Starting from the Western Han Dynasty, Changsha was one of the top ten cities in China during the Eastern Han, Three Kingdoms, Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, and Song Dynasty. By the pre-Tang period, Changsha was already a prosperous city in terms of population, economy, and culture,

The poet Du Fu, when he visited Changsha, wrote the following line: “The prosperity of the city is reserved for the day when thousands of people come out of Changsha”, which is a true reflection of Changsha in this period.

Changsha became the capital of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms for a short period of time


The capital city, which was the only state established with Changsha as its capital.

Changsha ranked sixth among the top ten cities in the country during the Song Dynasty, and was once called Changsha 100,000 households,

The Yuelu Academy was also founded in this


Construction began, pushing Changsha’s culture and education to its heyday. Changsha reached its historical heyday during the Qing Dynasty, when Yongzheng split up Huguang and Changsha became the capital of the newly built Hunan Province, especially around the time of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, when the Xiang army group rose rapidly and a group of important late Qing officials emerged from Changsha Prefecture, represented by Zeng Guofan, whose increasing discourse also benefited the development of Changsha, followed by the foreign affairs movement, and the redirection of the Yuehan Railway, making

Changsha was truly transformed.

Changsha today is still

an important central city in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River,

With the city’s GDP achieving 1,214.2 billion yuan in 2020, Changsha surpassed Zhengzhou by tens of billions, becoming the second city in central China after Wuhan, and ranking 15th among the top 100 cities in China.

IX. Fuzhou

Fuzhou, also known as Banyan City, is the capital of Fujian Province.

Fuzhou has a long history, with the founding of the city dating back 2,200 years to the Mingyue Kingdom’s Dongyecheng, while the basic pattern of Fuzhou was laid down during the Jin Dynasty, a period when the eight surnames entered Fujian and the population increased greatly, contributing to the rapid development of Fuzhou. Fuzhou was the capital of the Min state during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms,

It was also during this period that Fuzhou entered the top 10 cities in the country, and remained a top 10 city through the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.

With its distance from the sea and its geographical location more conducive to defense, Fuzhou has historically played the role of a regional political and cultural center. After the Middle Tang Dynasty, as the center of gravity of China’s foreign trade and cultural exchanges shifted to the southeast coast, Fuzhou gradually became an important port city and a regional economic and cultural center along the Maritime Silk Road,

It was one of the six largest cities in the country during the Song dynasty, and culture and education developed like never before,

Fuzhou ranked first in the country in the number of ancient scholars and second in the number of scholarship holders.

Fuzhou has a prominent place in modern Chinese history.

The heyday of Fuzhou can also be seen in the period from the late Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China, from the four major cultures of Mindu, namely the Shipbuilding Culture and the Three Square Seven Lane Culture.

The Mawei Shipyard and the Shipbuilding Academy are the cradle of China’s modern navy.


A city with a long history and a deep cultural heritage, although today it is not as famous as Xiamen, not as economically strong as Quanzhou, and not particularly prominent among China’s many strong provincial capitals, but it does have its strengths,

By 2020, the city’s GDP will be 100.2 billion yuan, ranking 23rd among China’s top 100 cities,

The comprehensive urban strength of science, education, culture and health remains in the leading position in Fujian.

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