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Anhui ( , ) is a province of the People's Republic of Chinamarker. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze Rivermarker and the Huaihe River, it borders Jiangsumarker to the east, Zhejiangmarker to the southeast, Jiangximarker to the south, Hubeimarker to the southwest, Henanmarker to the northwest, and Shandongmarker for a tiny section in the north. The capital of the province is Hefeimarker.

The name "Anhui" derives from the names of two cities in south Anhui, Anqing and Huizhou (now Huangshan City). The abbreviation for Anhui is "Wǎn", because there were historically a State of Wan, a Mount Wan, and a Wan river in the province.


The province of Anhui was formed in the seventeenth century. Before then, there was no coherent concept of "Anhui". Northern Anhui was firmly a part of the North China Plain in terms of culture, together with modern-day Henanmarker province. Central Anhui constituted most of the fertile and densely-populated Huai He River watershed. Southern Anhui, along the Yangtzemarker, was closer to Hubeimarker and southern Jiangsumarker provinces in culture. Finally, the hills of southeastern Anhui formed a unique and distinct cultural sphere of its own. The creation of the province of Anhui has not eroded these distinctions.

During the Shang Dynasty (sixteenth to eleventh century BC) most of Anhui was populated by non-Sinitic peoples known collectively as the Dongyi. King Tang of Shang, the legendary founder of the Shang Dynasty, was said to have put his capital at Bo (亳), in the vicinities of Bozhou in modern northern Anhui.

During the Warring States Period, Shouchun (modern Shou Countymarker) in central Anhui became a refugee capital for the state of Chu after its heartlands in modern Hubeimarker province was overrun by the powerful state of Qin in the west, in 278 BC. Qin nevertheless managed to conquer all of China in 221 BC, creating the Qin Dynasty.

Anhui was administered under several different commanderies during the Qin Dynasty and the Han Dynasty. Near the end of the Han Dynasty Shouchun became the base for the warlord Yuan Shu, who declared himself emperor at one point, but soon succumbed to illness, allowing his small realm to come under the powerful warlord Cao Cao, founder of the Wei Kingdom, one of the Three Kingdoms.

The 4th century saw the influx of nomadic tribes from Central Asia into North China. This began several centuries of political division of northern and southern China. Being at the juncture of north and south, the lands comprising modern Anhui changed hands frequently and was usually bisected through the middle politically. The Battle of Feishui, between the Former Qin of the north and the Eastern Jin Dynasty of the south, took place in 383 AD in modern Anhui.

The Sui Dynasty (581-618) and the Tang Dynasty (618-907) oversaw several centuries of relative peace and unity in China. During this period Anhui was once again ruled under several different jurisdictions.

During the division of China between the Jin Dynasty in the north and the Southern Song Dynasty in the south, Anhui was once again bisected, this time along the Huai He River. This lasted until Mongol reunification of China in 1279.

The Ming Dynastymarker drove out the Mongols in 1368. Due to a short stint as the capital of China by the city of Nanjingmarker in nearby Jiangsumarker province, the entirety of Jiangsu and Anhui kept their special status as territory-governed directly by the central government, and were called Nanzhili (南直隸 "Southern directly-governed").

The Manchu Qing Dynastymarker, which conquered China in 1644, changed this situation by establishing Nanzhili as Jiangnan province; in 1666 Jiangsu and Anhui were split apart as separate provinces. This was the beginning of the contemporary Anhui province, which has since kept almost the same borders as today. The one significant change that occurred was the move of the provincial capital from Anqing to Hefeimarker in 1946.

When the People's Republic of Chinamarker was founded in 1949, Anhui was briefly split into two separate administrative regions: Wanbei (North Anhui) and Wannan (South Anhui). They were merged into a province in 1952.

In the 2007 book China Road, author Rob Gifford stated that the Chinese refer to Anhui as nongye dasheng ("big agricultural province"). According to Gifford this is a euphemism for a "very poor" area and that people have referred to Anhui as the "Appalachia of China."


Anhui is quite diverse topographically. The north of the province is part of the North China Plain while the north-central areas are part of the Huai He River watershed. Both of these regions are very flat and densely populated. The land becomes more uneven further south, with the Dabie Mountainsmarker occupying much of southwestern Anhui and a series of hills and ranges cutting through southeastern Anhui. The Yangtze Rivermarker finds its way through south Anhui in between these two mountainous regions. The highest peak in Anhui is Lotus Peak, part of the Huangshan Mountainsmarker in southeastern Anhui. It has an altitude of 1873 m.

Major rivers include the Huai He in the north and the Yangtzemarker in the south. The largest lake is Lake Chaohumarker in the center of the province, with an area of about 800 km². The southeastern part of the province near the Yangtze River has many lakes as well.

As with topography, the province differs in climate from north to south. The north is more temperate and has more clearcut seasons. January temperatures average at around -1 to 2°C north of the Huai He, and 0 to 3°C south of the Huai He; in July temperatures average 27°C or above. Plum rains occur in June and July and may cause flooding.

Major cities:

Administrative divisions

Anhui is divided into seventeen prefecture-level divisions, all of them prefecture-level cities:

Map # Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Type
1 Hefeimarker 合肥市 Héféi Shì Prefecture-level city
2 Anqing 安庆市 Ānqìng Shì Prefecture-level city
3 Bengbu 蚌埠市 Bèngbù Shì Prefecture-level city
4 Bozhou 亳州市 Bózhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
5 Chaohu 巢湖市 Cháohú Shì Prefecture-level city
6 Chizhou 池州市 Chízhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
7 Chuzhou 滁州市 Chúzhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
8 Fuyang 阜阳市 Fǔyáng Shì Prefecture-level city
9 Huaibei 淮北市 Huáiběi Shì Prefecture-level city
10 Huainan 淮南市 Huáinán Shì Prefecture-level city
11 Huangshan 黄山市 Huángshān Shì Prefecture-level city
12 Lu'an 六安市 Lù'ān Shì Prefecture-level city
13 Ma'anshan 马鞍山市 Mǎ'ānshān Shì Prefecture-level city
14 Suzhou 宿州市 Sùzhōu Shì Prefecture-level city
15 Tongling 铜陵市 Tónglíng Shì Prefecture-level city
16 Wuhu 芜湖市 Wúhú Shì Prefecture-level city
17 Xuancheng 宣城市 Xuānchéng Shì Prefecture-level city

The seventeen prefecture-level divisions of Anhui are subdivided into 105 county-level divisions (44 district, five county-level cities, and 56 counties). Those are in turn divided into 1845 township-level divisions (972 town, 634 township, nine ethnic townships, and 230 subdistricts).

See List of administrative divisions of Anhui for a complete list of county-level divisions.


The Politics of Anhui Province is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.

The Governor of Anhui (安徽省省长) is the highest ranking official in the People's Government of Anhui. However, in the province's dual party-government governing system, the Governor has less power than the Anhui Communist Party of China Provincial Committee Secretary (安徽省委书记), colloquially termed the "Anhui Party Chief".


Agriculture in Anhui varies according to the climate zones that the province crosses. North of the Huai He river wheat and sweet potatoes are grown, while south of the Huai He it is rice and wheat instead.

Natural resources of Anhui include iron in Ma'anshan, coal in Huainan, and copper in Tongling. There are industries related to these natural resources (e.g. steel industry at Ma'anshan). One of the famous Anhui-based corporations is the automobile company Chery, which is based in Wuhu.

Compared to its more successful neighbours to the east, Zhejiangmarker and Jiangsumarker, Anhui has lagged markedly behind in economic development, with a GDP per capita around one third the level of those two provinces. There is great regional disparity as well, and most of the wealth is concentrated in industrial regions close to the Yangtze Rivermarker, such as Hefeimarker, Wuhu, and Ma'anshan.

Anhui's nominal GDP for 2008 was approximately 887.4 billion yuan (ca.US$128 billion), up 12.7% from 2007 and a per capita of 14,485 yuan (US$2,085). It is considered a mid-size economy in terms of economic output.

Major Economic and Technological Development Zones
  • Hefei Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Hefei Hi-Tech Industrial Park
  • Wuhu Economic and Technological Development Zone
  • Wuhu Export Processing Zone


Han Chinese make up the vast majority of the population. The She and Hui nationalities are the two largest minorities.


Anhui spans many geographical and cultural regions. The northern, flatter parts of the province, along the river Huai He and further north, are most akin to neighbouring provinces like Henanmarker and Shandongmarker. In contrast, the southern, hilly parts of the province are more similar in culture and dialect to other southern, hilly provinces, like Zhejiangmarker and Jiangximarker.

Mandarin dialects are spoken over the northern and central parts of the province. Dialects to the north (e.g. Bengbu dialect) are classified as Zhongyuan Mandarin, together with dialects in provinces such as Henanmarker and Shandongmarker; dialects in the central parts (e.g. Hefei dialect) are classfied as Jianghuai Mandarin, together with dialects in the central parts of neighbouring Jiangsumarker province. Non-Mandarin dialects are spoken in the south: dialects of Wu are spoken in Xuancheng prefecture-level city, though these are rapidly being replaced by Jianghuai Mandarin; dialects of Gan are spoken in a few counties in the southwest bordering Jiangximarker province; and the Huizhou dialects are spoken in about ten counties in the far south, a small but highly diverse and unique group of Chinese dialects.

Huangmeixi, which originated in the environs of Anqing in southwestern Anhui, is a form of traditional Chinese opera popular across China. Huiju, a form of traditional opera originating in the Huizhou-speaking areas of southern Anhui, is one of the major precursors of Beijing Opera; in the 1950s Huiju (which had disappeared) was revived. Luju is a type of traditional opera found across central Anhui, from east to west.

Anhui cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. Combining elements of cooking from northern Anhui, south-central Anhui, and the Huizhou-speaking areas of southern Anhui, Anhui cuisine is known for its use of wild game and herbs, both land and sea, and comparatively unelaborate methods of preparation.

Anhui has a high concentration of traditional products related to calligraphy: Xuanzhou (today Xuancheng) and Huizhou (today Huangshan City) are revered for producing Xuan Paper and Hui Ink, respectively, which are traditionally considered the best types of paper and ink for Chinese calligraphy. She County is famous for the She Inkstone, one of the most preferred types of inkstones (a required tool in traditional calligraphy).



In 2008, France is to help the Anhui Provincial Tourism Bureau develop a rural tourism demonstration project.

Colleges and universities


See also

External links

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