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Shenyang ( ), or Mukden ( in Manchu), is a sub-provincial city and capital of Liaoningmarker province in Northeast China.

Along with its nearby cities, Shenyang is an important industrial center in China, and the transportation and commercial centre of China's northeastern region.

The city was also known as Shengjing (盛京) or Fengtian (奉天).


The city’s name, Shenyang, literally meaning "the city to the north of Shen River", comes from the Hun River on the city’s south side, which used to be called Shen River. Archaeological findings show that human beings resided in present day Shenyang as early as 7,200 years ago. The City of Shenyang was first established by Qin Kai, a general of Yan in the Warring States period about 300 B.C. It was named as Hou City (Chinese: 候城) at that time. It became known as Shen Prefecture (瀋州) in the Jin Dynasty and Shenyang Path (Chinese: 瀋陽路) in the Yuan Dynastymarker. During the Ming Dynastymarker, it became Shenyang Zhongwei (Chinese: 瀋陽中衛).

In 1625, the Manchu leader Nurhaci moved his capital to Shenyang, or Simiyan hoton as it is called in Manchu. The official name was changed to Shengjing (盛京) in Chinese, or Mukden in Manchu, in 1634. The name derives from the Manchu word, mukdembi, meaning "to rise", and this is reflected by its Chinese name, which means "rising capital". Shenyang remained the capital of the Qing Dynastymarker until the relocation of the capital to Beijing in 1644 after the fall of Ming dynastymarker. However, it retained considerable prestige as the older capital, treasures of the royal house were kept at its palaces, and the tombs of the early Qing rulers were once among the most famous monuments in China. In 1657, Fengtian Prefecture (Chinese: 奉天府; Pinyin: Fèngtiān fǔ; Manchu: Abkai imiyangga fu or Fungtyian, "obeying heaven") was established in the Shenyang area, and Fengtian was sometimes used synonymously with Shenyang/Mukden. In 1914, the city changed back to its old name Shenyang. However, Shenyang continued to be known as Mukden in some English sources (sometimes spelled Moukden) through much of the 20th century.

With the building of the South Manchurian Railway, Mukden became a Russianmarker stronghold. During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), Mukden was the site of the Battle of Mukden from on 19 February 190510 March 1905. It was the largest battle since the battle of Leipzigmarker in 1813. Following the Japanesemarker victory, the Japanese concession at Mukden was one of the chief bases for Japanese economic expansion into southern Manchuria. It was also the seat of the Chinese viceroy of the three Manchurian provinces. In the 1920s, Mukden was the capital of the warlord Zhang Zuolin, who was killed when his train was blown up near Mukden at a Japanese-guarded railway bridge.

In the early 1900s, Shenyang began expanding out of its old city walls. Shenyang Railway Station on the South Manchurian Railway and the Shenyang North Railway Station (today's old north station) on the Jingfeng railway became new commercial centers of Shenyang. Several factories was built by Chang Tso-lin to manufacture ammunition in northern and eastern suburb. These factories laid the foundation for Shenyang's industrial development.

The Mukden Incident (18 September 1931), which gave the Japanese the pretext to create the Manchukuo state, took place near Shenyang. During the Manchukuo era (1932-1945) the city was called Fengtian in Chinese again, and Mukden in English. During the Japanese occupation, Shenyang was developed into a heavy industry center.

Soviet forces occupied Shenyang in early August 1945 on the surrender of Japan. The Soviets were replaced by the Nationalist Chinese, who were flown in on US transport planes. During the Chinese Civil War, Shenyang remained a Kuomintang stronghold from 1946–1948, although the Chinese communists controlled the surrounding countryside. It was captured by the communists on 30 October 1948 following a series of offensives known as the Liaoshen Campaign. Since 1949, Shenyang became one of the most important heavy industry centers of China.

Xinle Remains

Xinle Civilization
The remains of the Xinle culture, a Neolithic period society over 7,200 years old, are located in a museum in the north part of Huanggu District. It is complemented by a recreated village on site. A wood-sculptured bird unearthed there is the earliest cultural relic in Shenyang, as well as one of oldest wood sculptures found anywhere in the world.

Old City

Shenyang used to have two city walls. The inner city wall was built in 1625. Most of it was rebuilt on the old city wall of Ming Dynastymarker, and the city wall gates were increased from four to eight. The outer city wall was built in 1680 to protect the urban area outside the inner city wall, which also had eight gates. The total length of the outer city wall is around 16 km. Nearly all of the city walls were demolished after 1949. Two gates and one corner tower of the inner city wall have been rebuilt during the 1990s.

Around 2.5 km outside Shenyang outer city wall, there were four pagodas and four temples, namely, East Pagoda/Yongguang Temple, South Pagoda/Guangci Temple, West Pagoda/Yanshou Temple, and North Pagoda/Falun Temple. They were built in 1643. The four Pagodas are identical Buddha-stupa as high as 26m. Only the North Pagoda and Temple is well preserved. As for the East and the South, only the Pagodas are left. The West Pagoda was rebuilt in 1998.

Both Temple of Heavenmarker and Temple of Earth also were to be found in the old city during the Qing Dynastymarker, smaller replicas of Beijing's counterparts. Neither exists today.

Geography and climate

Western Shenyang is located on the alluvial plain of Liao River, while eastern Shenyang is part of Changbai Mountainsmarker, covered with forests. The highest point in Shenyang is 414m and the lowest point only 7m. The main urban area is located to the north of Hun River, a major tributary of the Liao River. The average elevation of the urban area is 29m. North canal and South canal flow to the north and south of the urban area respectively, which follows the historic course of Hun River.

Shenyang's climate is a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dwa) characterized by hot, humid summers, due to the monsoon, and dry, cold winters, due to the Siberian anticyclone. The four seasons in Shenyang are distinctive. The annual average temperature is 8.3°C with the lowest at -28.5°C and highest at 36.1°C. The rainfall is concentrated in July and August. The annual precipitation is around 700mm.
Satellite image of Shenyang

Districts and zones

Map of Shenyang showing major districts and landmarks, as well as major roads
The sub-provincial city of Shenyang has direct jurisdiction over 10 districts (区 qu), 1 county-level cities (市 shi) and 3 Counties (县 xian):

Shenyang City Proper
Dadong-qu 大东区
Heping-qu 和平区
Huanggu-qu 皇姑区
Shenhe-qu 沈河区
Tiexi-qu 铁西区
Hunnan xin-qu 浑南新区
Shenyang Suburban and Rural
Yuhong-qu 于洪区
Sujiatun-qu 苏家屯区
Dongling-qu 东陵区
Shenbei xin-qu 沈北新区
Xinmin-shi 新民市
Dongling-xian 法库县
Kangping-xian 康平县
Liaozhong-xian 辽中县

Heping District (和平区/和平區 Hépíng Qū)

Zhongshan Square
Heping District is located in the center of Shenyang. It has an area of 21 km² and a population of 0.64 million. The downtown Heping district has all manner of businesses that are brightly lit by neon at night.

At the center of the district, is the famous Zhongshan Square (Zhongshan Guangchang, 中山广场), featuring one of China's largest statues of Chairman Mao. To this day, flowers are still placed around a large statue of Chairman Mao during the holidays.

The district was built in the area in front of Shenyang Railway station, the hub of former South Manchurian Railway. The boulevards are lined of very large trees of Ginkgos, which become golden in color and produce their distinctive fruits in autumn.

Koreatown is located in the northern Heping District, as well as the West Pagoda.

Shenhe District (沈河区/瀋河區 Shěnhé Qū)

Most of Shenhe District is within the old city wall. It has an area of 18 km² and a population of 0.61 million. Shenhe District is the site of the Mukden Palacemarker. It is also the site of Zhang Zuolin's former home and headquarters, Shengjing Ancient Cultural Street, and Gloria Plaza, a high-end hotel. In the western Shenhe locates Muslim town. South Pagoda is located in southern Shenhe. The major thoroughfare of Qingnian Street separates the southern portion of Shenhe District from the southern portion of Heping District.

Dadong District (大东区/大東區 Dàdōng Qū)

Dadong District is an industrial district. It has an area of 51 km² and a population of 0.64 million. It is the largest district of the urban Shenyang city area. It is also the home of the 9.18 Museum and the North and East Pagoda.

Huanggu District (皇姑区/皇姑區 Huánggū Qū)

Beiling park
Huanggu district has an area of 37 km² and a population of 0.75 million. It is the site of the large, historical tomb of Huang Taiji (of the Qing Dynastymarker), called Beiling park ( ).

Huanggu district also hosts the Liaoning Mansion Hotel. It is also the place of the government of Liaoning provience

Huanggu's name comes from Huanggutun ("tun" means village), where the Huanggutun Incident took place.

Tiexi District (鐵西新區/铁西新区 Tiěxī Xīn Qū)

Tiexi district is famous for its industry. This mixed-use district also contains large blocks of residential complexes, so as well as strips of small to medium-sized shopping. It has an area of 39 km² and a population of 0.81 million.

It recently featured in a documentary called West of the Tracks (the literal meaning of Tiexi) by the young filmmaker Wang Bing showing the transition in this rust belt district.

Tiexi is also home to the Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Area, a state-level development zone. This new development area combined with Tiexi District has a population of 1 million people, a total area of 126 km², and enjoys the same administrative rank as municipality. (Administrative Committee of Shenyang)

Dongling District (東陵區/东陵区)

Dongling means the eastern tomb, referring to Qing Tombs dedicated to the first emperor of Qing Dynasty Nurhachi and his empress (a UNESCO site).

The district, located on the east and south of downtown, is rapidly becoming high end residential areas, as suburbs of Shenyang are growing steadily. Two corridors along two major highways, one leading to the eastern tomb and Fushun, the other leading to the international airport, see luxury apartments, fine neighborhoods and sleek commercial development quickly coming into shape.


Shenyang is an important industrial center in China. It has been focused on heavy industry, particularly aerospace, machine tools, heavy equipment, and defence, and recently, on software, automotive, and electronics. During the first five-year plan (1951-1956), many factories were built in Tiexi district. At its peak (1970s), Shenyang is one of the top three industrial centers in China (the other two are Shanghai and Tianjinmarker). However, after the 1980s, the heavy industry has declined gradually and Shenyang has become a rust belt city. The economy of the city has revived significantly in recent years, thanks to Chinese government's "Revitalize Northeast China" campaign and the rapid development of software and auto manufacture industries.

Many major industrial companies have their headquarters in Shenyang. Brilliance China Auto is a major Chinese automobile manufacturer, and most of its production plants are also located in Shenyang. Shenyang Aircraft Corporation produces airplanes for civilian use as well as for the PLAAF. Neusoft Group is the biggest software company in China. Shenyang Machine Tool Group is the largest machine tool manufacturer in China.

Industrial zones

  • Shenyang Economic & Technological Development Zone
  • Shenyang High-tech Industrial Development Zone


Shenyang has a population of 7.2 million and its urban population is 4 million. By urban population, it is the largest city in northeastern China and among top ten largest cities in China.

Shenyang has 38 of China's 56 recognised ethnic groups, including the Han Chinese majority that make up 91.26% of Shenyang's population. The 37 minority groups are Manchu, Korean, Hui, Xibe, Mongolian, Zhuang, Miao, Tujia, Dong, Daur, Bai, Uyghur, Tibetan, Yi, Taiwanese Aboriginal People, She, Bouyei , Yao , Akha, Kazakh, Dai, Li, Shui, Nakhi, Jingpo, Kyrgyz, Tu, Mulao, Qiang,Maonan, Gelao, Russian, Evenks, Tatars, Oroqen, Nanai, Lhoba. Most of these groups are not native to the Shenyang area, but some, like the Manchus and the Xibe, are.

Not only is Shenyang a multiple ethinic city, it is also a place where many foreigners, especially from Japan and Korea live. Shenyang has numerous temples, mosques, churches and other religious sites.


Shenyang holds the Headquarters of the Shenyang Military Region and the Air Force of Shenyang Military Region. Shenyang is also famous for its defense industries.


Shenyang is served by air, rail, and an extensive network of streets and expressways, with bus service throughout the city.

Inter-city transportation

Shenyang is the railway hub of Northeast China. Eight railways connected Shenyang with Beijing, Dalian, Changchunmarker, Harbinmarker and Fushunmarker. The city is also served by the Qinshen Passenger Railway, a high speed railway connecting Shenyang and Qinhuangdaomarker. The travel time between Beijing and Shenyang is decreased to only around 4 hours by 200 km/h high-speed train in early 2007. In August 2007 construction works started on the Harbinmarker-Dalian high speed passenger railway, which is expected to be completed in 2013, connecting Shenyang with other major cities in Northeast China, Harbinmarker, Changchunmarker, and Dalian. Shenyang has two major railway stations: Shenyang North Railway Station and Shenyang Railway Station. The Shenyang North Railway Station was built in 1990, replacing the old north railway station, which was built in 1927 and still stands today. The north railway station is used mostly for express and high-speed train service. Shenyang Railway Station (also known locally as the "Shenyang South Railway Station", though the real "Shenyang South Railway Station" is at Sujiatun) has a history more than 100 years, built by Russian in 1899 and expanded later by Japanese. Today, it is focused on regular service.

Shenyang is connected by several major expressways. The Jingshen 8 lane Expressway, to the city of Beijing, some 658 kilometers away. The Shen-Da Expressway connecting Shenyang and Dalian is the first expressway ever built in China. It is the fastest highway (8-lane) linking one of the largest port city to Shenyang. Shendan Expressway is a 4-lane expressway to Benximarker and Dandongmarker. It also serves Shenyang Taoxian International Airportmarker. There are other express ways to Fushunmarker, Changchunmarker, and Xinmin. There are many long-distance and express bus routes to Beijing and other cities in the northeast.

The city is served by the Shenyang Taoxian International Airportmarker (沈阳桃仙国际机场, airport code SHE). Direct flights from Shenyang go to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kongmarker, Seoulmarker, Cheongju of Koreamarker, Tokyomarker and other cities. There are three other airports in Shenyang, none of them open to public: Dongta airport is the oldest airport in Shenyang, openned in 1920s and retired in 1980s. Beiling airport is used by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation for test flights. Yuhong airport is for military use only.

Intra-city transportation

Within Shenyang itself, there are three ring roads: Middle Ring, 2nd Ring, and Outer Ring (Shenyang Round City Expressway). The southern part of the 2nd Ring and the Outer Ring are express beltways. The Outer ring is an 82 km expressway, the first express beltway in China. A "big outer ring" is under construction, which is also an express beltway with a total length of around 400 km. Inside city, there is an east-to-west expressway through the city center, most of which is elevated.

In Shenyang, there are more than 160 bus routes. Shenyang used to have about 20 trolleybus routes, one of the biggest trolleybus networks in China. The entire network was demolished in 1999 after a series of electrocution accidents.

Shenyang has been planning subway system since 1940. In November 18, 2005 the construction of the first Shenyang Metro subway line finally started. The first (east-west) line is expected to be finished by 2010. Construction is made hard by the rocky ground on which Shenyang is built. The second (north-south) line started in November 18, 2006.

Life and Culture

Shenyang Dialect

People native to Shenyang speak the Shenyang Dialect, a variant of Northeastern Mandarin. The Shenyang Dialect is very similar to the other Northeastern Dialects and it is also very close to the Standard Mandarin dialect but has some very distinctive words that the standard Mandarin doesn't have. Some people prefer to think of it as a strong accent rather than a different dialect. Shenyang dialect is used heavily by several famous skit actors such as Zhao Benshan in their performance, and has become a stereotype for northeast natives.


Two northeast folk dances, Er Ren Zhuan and Yang Ge, are very popular in Shenyang. Dawutai Theatre is famous for its Er Ren Zhuan and Chinese skit performances by Zhao Benshan and his students.

Shenyang is home of many performance art organizations, such as Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe of China [26979], Liao Ning Song and Dance Ensemble [26980], and Liaoning Ballet [26981]. Many artists are from Shenyang, such as Na Ying, or Lang Lang


  • Liaoning Provincial Museum, the largest museum in north-eastern China. The museum hold many relics from Manchuria's past, including a selection of inscriptions in Chinese and Khitan.
  • Shenyang Steam Locomotive Museum, with 16 steam engines from America, Japan, Russia, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia and China.
  • The 9.18 Incident Museum, a museum in memory of Mukden Incident. The museum has a shape of an opened calendar, and is located on the site where the Japanese troops destroyed the South Manchuria Railway, the prelude to the invasion of Manchuria.
  • The Xinle Relic, located on the location where the Xinle civilisation was first discovered, containing a reconstructed Xinle settlement and housing artefacts discovered there.


Shenyang is famous for its football tradition. The local football team is the Liaoning F.C., in the Chinese Super League. Another Chinese Super League team, Shenyang Jinde moved to Changshamarker in 2007. Shenyang Olympic Sports Centre Stadiummarker was a venue for the football preliminary of 2008 Summer Olympics.

Shenyang Sport University [26982] is a famous professional sports university in China. The university is the training base for winter sports in China and has many Olympic champions.


Famous Restaurants

  • Lao Bian Dumpling, a traditional dumpling restaurant established by Mr. Bian Fu in 1829
  • Ma's Steamed Dumpling, a Hui Muslim restaurant established by the Ma family as early as 1767

Famous people from Shenyang



Shopping areas

210 px
Shenyang has many shopping areas that provide people necessities, luxuries and entertainments. One of the shopping districts is Middle Street which is like the Fifth Avenue in New York City. Middle Street features many western-style stores and restaurants, including Wal-martmarker, Pizza Hut which is a fancy restaurant in Shenyang, Louis Vuitton flagship store, Häagen-Dazs retail store and etc. The largest shopping mall in Shenyang is also located on Middle Street, selling products from all around the world.

Taiyuan Street( )is another shopping area which is similar to Middle Street. Taiyuan Street also features many restaurants and theaters for people to enjoy. Many spend their holidays shopping on these two streets.

There is also a very large underground shopping center, offering lots of items, especially fashion jewelries, accessories and clothing.

Another area, Wu'ai Market, (Traditional Chinese: 五愛市場, Simplified Chinese: 五爱市场), features a large multi-story shopping center with a size comparable to that of many city blocks. It contains hundreds, if not thousands, of mini or boutique stores that open very early in the morning and close in the early afternoon. It is famous for wholesaling cheap clothes and household stuff.

The information technology center is in Sanhao street ( ), in the southern part of the city.

There are also many large superstores located throughout the city that sell everything from meat and dairy to clothes and electronics.


Shenyang has many schools, both public and private.

High schools

Colleges and universities

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Shenyang is twinned with:

See also


  1. Map of Mukden in 1912
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. 沈阳公交线路表(市区线路)-心·路
  5. 沈阳地铁官方网站

External links

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