Shijiazhuang is a city that in just 100 years of its existence has experienced a miraculous transformation from a small provincial village to a four-million metropolis. It is hard to believe that at the beginning of the 20th century it consisted of 6 streets, 6 temples, 4 wells and 150 houses, in which 500 people lived.
The transformation of Shijiazhuang began in 1905, when the Beijing – Wuhan railway was laid through it. The establishment of transport links spurred the development of trade, followed by industry and agriculture. True, such an acceleration seriously hit the environment – Shijiazhuang is considered one of the most polluted cities in China. But in fairness, it should be noted that in a couple of days (it makes no sense to allocate more to see its few sights) to undermine health will not work.
How to get to Shijiazhuang
Like almost all Chinese millionaire cities, Shijiazhuang has its own airport, it is located 32 km from the center. There are no direct flights from Moscow there, you will have to fly with a change in Guangzhou by Aeroflot or China Southern Airlines. Flight time from Baiyun Airport is 2 hours 50 minutes. Check maternityetchic for customs regulations and visa requirements of China.
You can also go through Beijing, Aeroflot and Air China fly daily to the capital of China. At Beijing Airport, you need to take a shuttle to the West Station (1 hour on the way), and then take the G-Train high-speed train. It runs every 30 minutes, covering 300 km to Shijiazhuang in an hour.
There is a regular bus and railway service between Shijiazhuang Airport and the city. Buses leave every half an hour from 5:00 to 21:00, travel time is 40 minutes. Trains run with the same frequency from 7:00 to 20:30, the journey takes 10 minutes. A taxi will take you to the city center for 100-120 CNY.
Shijiazhuang serves a network of 90 bus routes, 4 of which are designed specifically for tourists: Tour 1, Tour 5, Tour 6 and Tour 7. There is also a subway in the city, which so far consists of two lines. A taxi ride will cost 10-25 CNY, the cars are mostly painted green. Parking in the city is free. Shijiazhuang does not yet have a bike rental system, but bikes can be rented from some hotels if needed.
If you look at the map of the city, you can see that it has the shape of a rectangle. Five-star hotels are located in the most prestigious eastern part in the Huan Road area. The cost of a standard room in them is 560-1100 CNY per day. “Treshki” are located mainly along Zhongshan Road, you can settle there for 170-360 CNY. Apartments are rented throughout the city, the average price of an apartment: 100-296 CNY per night. A bed in a neat new hostel can be found for 48-70 CNY.
Cuisine and restaurants
Shijiazhuang cuisine does not feature a wide palette of original dishes, but these rare specialties deserve a closer look. Among them are “ganlu shaobing”, crispy tandoor bread with butter and sesame or “bagao”, buckwheat porridge with vinegar and garlic powder sauce. Another popular local dish is “gaocheng gongmian” – hollow noodles served with various broths.
The average cost of a dinner for two with alcohol is 200-300 CNY. You can eat in fast food mode at KFC for 40-60 CNY.
There are very few tourists in Shijiazhuang: the city is purely industrial. Most of the interesting objects are located outside the metropolis, since until the 20th century this place was too small for any significant monuments.
45 km to the southeast is the world’s oldest stone arch bridge Anji (GPS coordinates: 37.717700, 114.768506). This masterpiece of Chinese engineering was built in the 7th century and still stands despite numerous earthquakes and floods. Nearby is a small museum with a collection of stone products, sculptures, art objects from nearby villages. You can get to the bridge by bus number 35, departing from the Central Railway Station.
Another notable place is located 15 km north of the center of Shijiazhuang (109 Zhongshan Road). This is the ancient Longxing Monastery, discovered in the 6th century. Several buildings stand along the central axis of the complex. The first is the Hall of Heavenly Kings, on the other side next to it is the Main Hall with a statue of the deity Guanyin. Lunxing’s unique building is the Revolving Library Pavilion. It contains a revolving bookcase that used to hold sacred texts.
In Shijiazhuang itself, a must-see is the Hebei Provincial Museum, recently reopened after a major renovation (East Street 4). The main treasure of its exposition is artifacts from the imperial burial of the 4th century BC. e. The burial robes of monarchs are made of polished jade plates connected with gold wire.