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One of the main rice-growing areas of China and south of the Yangtze, Hunan means South of the Lake, a name derived from the Dongting Lake in its northern part. There are countless tea plantations, bamboo groves and rice fields along the road.

Hunan's capital city, Changsha, is famous for its Han tomb excavation. The Hunan Provincial Museum displays relics excavated from the three 2100-year-old tombs. There are pieces of lacquer ware. The Han Tomb Site is now a pyramid-shaped hill. Hunan's Provincial Embroidery Factory is so fine it can be displayed from either side. Chairman Mao studied for about 5 years at the Hunan Provincial First Normal School. Orange Island, in the middle of Xiang River, is covered with orange groves.

Mt. Hengshan, about 310 km south of Changsha, is one of the Five Great Mountains of China, with 72 peaks and innumerable Buddhist temples. The most grand one being Nanyue, occupying 98,000 square meters, erected in 725. Shaoshan, hometown of Chairman Mao, is 104 km SW of Changsha. The Birthplace of Chairman Mao is a simple mud-brick farmhouse, Mao was born on December 26, 1893. The museum nearby depicts events in the life of the founder of the People's Republic.

Yueyang is a city on the north shore of Lake Dongting just south of the Yangtze. Its Yueyang Tower was first built in A.D. 716 in the Tang. It is made of wood, 19 meters high. Junshang Island, 15 km west across the lake, has 72 hills. The highest hill has a celebrated view of the 740,000-acre lake.

Zhangjiajie, a natural forest park, is in the western part of Hunan. It is a paradise full of forests, brooks, beautiful hills, stone pillars, flowers and wild boar, monkeys and leopards. It is one of the attractions most Chinese long to visit.

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