Exploring Changsha – a Historical and Cultural City

Changsha is the second largest city in central China. It is also the first batch of national historical and cultural cities in China, with 3,000 years of rich history and ancient civilisation.  Hence, most of the attractions here are historical and cultural buildings / monuments, museums and there are hardly any natural attractions.

After 4 days of hiking adventure in Zhangjiajie City, it was back to civilisation to the capital of Hunan province where we finally did not have to walk and use as much energy as the past few days.  Haha.  As it is a long road journey from Zhangjiajie City in the northwestern part of Hunan province back to Changsha, we had to wake up at 5.30am that morning for a 6 hours’ drive back to the capital!  From a cooler Zhangjiajie, we headed back to one of the 3 hottest cities in China (中国火炉之都), and I could see the temperature indicator on our coach soaring as we got nearer to Changsha… 😦

By the time we arrived at the first attraction of the day after lunch, it was about 37 degrees celsius!  Fortunately the first stop was at Changsha Bamboo Slips Museum (长沙简牍博物馆), indoor air-conditioned museum. 😛

IMG_0500

This museum, free admission to visitors with valid identification, houses more than 100,000 bamboo slips and wooden tablets dating back more than 1,700 years, since October 1996.  There are guided tours in the museum, conducted by volunteers and the lady volunteer we got seemed to be someone who is really passionate about the important archeological discoveries housed here.  However, I am really not a history person so I kind of got bored halfway during the tour and wasn’t able to listen anymore haha.  So just a few photos I took while I was still more awake during the tour, for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

Interestingly, these were the musical instruments in the ancient days. The guide even played a song here to show us ;)

Interestingly, these were the musical instruments in the ancient days. The guide even played a song here to show us 😉

The process of discovering unearthed inscriptions on oracle bones (from top left in clockwise direction)

The process of discovering unearthed inscriptions on oracle bones (from top left in clockwise direction)

The tour ended about 40 minutes later and our next attraction for the day was across the road at Tianxin Pavilion (天心阁).  The admission fee was RMB 18 (about S$3.70) if I am not wrong.  Before we went in, I remembered that the tour guide mentioned that it would take around 45 minutes to tour the pavilion.  However, not sure if it was because of the high temperature and scorching sun, we were only there for around half an hour, including watching a 7-minute long 4D animation film “Battle in Changsha” (关羽战长沙) in the air-conditioned theatre.  Looks like there was nothing much to see at the pavilion except strolling in the sparse garden, but I wondered was it because our tour guide also didn’t want to stay under the sun for too long so she didn’t really bring us around? >.<

Tianxin Pavilion

Last stop for the day, also one that most of us were looking forward to, was the Huangxing Road Commercial Pedestrian Street (黄兴路商业步行街) for some shopping.  It is like Orchard Road in Singapore with many shopping malls and little boutiques, cafes and restaurants.  Our tour guide mentioned that all the shops are fixed priced shops and we do not need to bargain, and as it was the sales period, shopping would be more value for money.

Maybe we set our expectations too high, but after browsing the many stores, we realised things weren’t that cheap, in fact most of them are about the same price as in Singapore, at most just slightly cheaper than us.  So ended up we only bought “branded” China sports apparel and my friend also bought a few boxes of facial masks as she found them cheaper than back home.  Below is a collage of the shots I took of the shopping street, finally see Starbucks after being in Hunan for a week! 😛

Huangxing Road

How do I feel about Changsha after touring for about half a day?  Well, I must say it is a very urbanised city and the standard of living here is quite high, compared to the more rural area – Zhangjiajie.  Even during lunch and dinner, we were not served fruits after the meal in Changsha, unlike in Zhangjiajie.  I reckon fruits must be quite expensive in Changsha then? -_-“

I am not a history person, so I admit I wasn’t that fascinated by the museum and pavilion tour haha.  I still prefer sightseeing and hiking to such historical and cultural tour. 😉

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