Located in the Yellow River basin, Henan Province is the main birthplace of the Chinese nation. The name Henan means “south of the (Yellow) River.” With nearly 100 million people by residency, Henan is the most populated province of China. It is often called Zhongyuan, literally “central plains,” or “midlands.” Northern Henan, along the Yellow River, was the core area of ancient China for at least the first half of Chinese history. Over the centuries, 20 dynasties and 200 emperors have established their capital cities in Henan. Three of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China are in this historic province. Unearthed cultural relics in Henan rank first in China. Henan enjoys a favorable geographic position, with rich tourism resources, convenient communication, a thriving industrial system and countless cultural attractions.
• Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan, is a national cultural and historical city and a “must see” destination for any tour of the Province. The ancient city was the capital of the Shang Dynasty 3,500 years ago. Zhengzhou maintains an abundant cultural heritage that reflects its glorious history as well as the culture of Henan Province. Its long history has left Zhengzhou with many enriching and notable sites, including: Shaolin Temple, Zhengzhou Confucius Temple (one of the oldest Confucius Temples in China) and the Henan Museum.
• Shaolin Temple at the foot of Mount Song is reputed to be “the Number One Temple under Heaven.” It is the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu and draws practitioners from all over the world to its Martial Arts Training Center. The site also embraces the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Mahavira Hall, the Pagoda, the First Founder’s Hut, the Second Founder’s Hut and Budhidharma’s Cave with the largest ancient pagoda group (240) in China.
• Henan Museum at the center of Zhengzhou is one of the largest museums in China. The architectural style is grand and unique, with exquisite displays protected by modern management and security systems. It houses more than 130,000 cultural relics, bringing to light the brilliant 8000-year civilization that once dominated the country and even the world.
• Longmen Grottoes are among China’s most significant sculptured groups. They were carved from limestone hills over many centuries, beginning with the reign of the pious emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty. The grottoes honeycomb the hills for over a kilometer along the west bank of the Yi River. They are about 7.5 miles (13 km) south of Luoyang, one of China’s historic capitals. There are over 2,300 holes and niches, 2,800 steles, 40 dagobas, 1,300 caves and 100,000 statues.
• Henan Mountain Show, designed by Olympic ceremony creator Zhang Yimou, encompasses a whole mountain and a waterfall and features more than 800 performers nightly.