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Hebei

Hebei province is in North China, around Beijing and Tianjin. It had been the site of countless wars because of its strategic position. Hebei's capital city is Shijiazhuang (Village of the Shi's) only 4 hours by train and south of Beijing. It is an important center of the nations railway system and also played an important role in China's revolutionary history. The burial place of Dr. Norman Bethune (Canadian), who was honored as a Chinese hero. Dr. Bethune helped the Communist army in its fight against the Japanese in 1938 and died in 1939. He was buried in North China Revolutionary Martyr's Cemetery. In 1948, the Communist Party Central Committee had their headquarters at Xibaipo Village, 90 km from the city. Shijiazhuang is also known for the Zhaozhou Bridge, built between A.D. 605 and 610.

Chengde, 250 km NE of Beijing, was an imperial summer resort in the Qing dynasty. The Imperial Summer Resort covers an area of 5.6 million square meters. The court lived here from May to October each year. In 1860, the court fled as Anglo-French forces approached Beijing and the emperor died there two years later. It has nine courtyards, eleven Lamaist temples, beautiful gardens, pavilions and a herd of deer. Notable are the temples. They are patterned after the original temples in various provinces, such as Tibet, Jiangsu and Beijing. The Jinshanling section of the Great Wall is 110 km away.

Beidaihe is a lovely seaside resort. By 1949, 706 villas and hotels had been built. The resort stretches along 12 km of hard, golden sand sloping gently out into the Bohai Sea.

Qinhuangdao (the Qin Emperor's Island) is on the northeastern tip of Hebei province on the Bohai Sea. It is one of China's busiest harbors. Named after a legend about how the Qin Emperor found pills of longevity, visitors can walk along Qinhuangdao's waterfront and watch fishing boats, or visit a shell-carving factory and the Qin Emperor's Temple.

40 km north of Beidaihe is a small town, Shanhaiguan. It is here that the Great Wall meets the sea. One of the ancient capitals, Handan, is also worth visiting.

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Site Created: September 16, 1998; Updated: September 23, 2007.