Henan Province, “Yu” for short, is located in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. It was named Henan (literally “south of the river”) because most part of the province is located south of the Yellow River. Henan is the birthplace of the Chinese civilization and the Chinese nation, as well as a historical Chinese cultural center.
The province has complex topography with a terrain that descends from west to east. The Taihang Mountains are located in the north, while branches of the Qinling Mountains are in the west. The Dabie Mountains and Tongbai Mountains are in the south. The Yellow River flows through the province from east to west with the vast North China Plain located in the east.
Henan has a typical temperate monsoon climate with four distinct seasons, characterized by simultaneous rain and heat. The weather is pleasant in spring, while the sky is high and the weather fine in autumn, the two best seasons for traveling.
Henan enjoys a long history and has been China’s political, economic, cultural and transportation center for 5,000 years. The province is also the home of Luoyang, Kaifeng, Anyang, Zhengzhou and other world-famous ancient Chinese capitals.
Henan Province comprises 17 prefecturelevel cities, including Zhengzhou, Sanmenxia, Luoyang, Jiaozuo, Xinxiang, Hebi, Anyang, Puyang, Kaifeng, Shangqiu, Xuchang, Luohe, Pingdingshan, Nanyang, Xinyang, Zhoukou, and Zhumadian.
South Taihang Mountains
Along the South Taihang Mountains, there are numerous splendid peaks and valleys. Unique topography, landforms and rare animal and plant resources create the most exotic natural scenery found at the Taihang Grand Canyon.
Linzhou - Red Flag Canal
The Red Flag Canal is a hydro project dug out of the cliffs in the Taihang Mountains, and known as the “Artificial Milky Way”. It is over 1,500 km long, known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.
Qinyang - Shennong Mountain
Shennong Mountain is a famous cultural mountain in the Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist traditions, and the place where Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism, was enlightened and became immortal. The mountain is known as “the center of Taoism and holy land of Buddhism”.
Boai - Qingtian River
The Qingtian River has magical green mountains with gorgeous scenery along it. In the scenic area, there are seven excursion areas including Big Spring Lake, Sangu Spring, Buddha Ears Gorge, and Yueshan Temple. It enjoys a reputation of ‘”Northern Three Gorges”.
Along the Yuntai Mountain there are 36 peaks, more than 20 natural karst caves, and innumerable springs, pools, streams and waterfalls. It is said that there is a spring every three steps, a waterfall every five steps and a pool every ten steps.
Zhuyu Peak, commonly known as Small North Peak, is the location of the Temple of Mysterious Heavenly Upper Emperor, the Sky Bridge, the Cloud Ladder and other attractions. In the middle of the peak is the King of Medicine Cave with an ancient yew at its entrance. The yew is estimated to be 1,000 years old.
Quanbao Gorge, about 3 km long, is solemn and magnificent, with towering peaks on both sides. At its deepest point, the Yuntai Sky Waterfall falls to a depth of 314 meters.
Hongshi Gorge, hailed as a “boutique gallery of nature”, is home to springs, waterfalls, streams, pools, ravines and other spectacles, and emanates a mighty, precipitous, rare and secluded beauty. The valley is cool and pleasant in summer, while mosses, flowers and grass keep it green during winter.
Zhengzhou is one of the eight ancient capitals of China, a major birthplace of Chinese civilization and the Chinese nation, as well as the capital of the Youxiong State led by Huangdi, the first ancestor of the Chinese. The Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty, Guan State, Zheng State, and Han State also had their capitals here.
Henan Museum has magnificent appearance and a rich collection of cultural relics in its exhibition halls. Characteristic collection pieces include prehistoric artifacts, Shang and Zhou bronzes, ancient ceramics and jade artifacts.
Kang Bai-Wan's Museum
In the Kang Bai-Wan’s Mansions, there are buildings, caves, bulwarks, and piers near rivers. It is representative of the feudal fortress architecture of the Loess Plateau.
Located in Beiguan, Xinzheng, Huangdi’s hometown is a sacred place for Chinese people at home and abroad to seek their roots and worship their ancestors. During the Han Dynasty, Huangdi’s Hometown Ancestral Hall was built in front of Xuanyuan Hill. A sitting statue of Huangdi is enshrined within the hall.
Mount Song consists of the Taishi Mountain and the Shaoshi Mountain. At Taishi Mountain, the main peak, Junji Peak, is 1,491.7 meters high, while the highest peak at Shaoshi Mountain is the Liantian Peak which is 1,512 meters high. Mount Song is a cultural mountain that hosts the famous Shaolin Temple, Zhongyue Temple and other historical sites.
Shaolin Temple, praised as “the first famous temple in the world”，is the ancestral place of Chinese Chan Buddhism and the birthplace of Shaolin boxing. Since its establishment, it has been world-famous for its Chan Buddhism, martial arts and medicine.
Shaolin Temple Pagoda Forest
The Pagoda Forest has been the cemetery for eminent Shaolin Temple monks throughout the ages. It boasts the most pagodas in China, and includes over 232 ancient pagodas that date from the Tang Dynasty.
Sanhuang Village, boasting unique landscapes, is like a natural village hanging on a hillside, hailed as a “natural geological museum”. The village is world-renowned for its odd peaks, precipitous roads, strange rocks and gorgeous scenery.
Mianchi - Yangshao Village Site
Yangshao Village Site is a Neolithic site in the Yellow River basin which includes four ancient culture sites: the mid Yangshao culture, the late Yangshao culture, the early Longshan culture and the late Longshan culture.
Xinzheng - Ancestor Mountain
The Ancestor Mountain is host to many Huangdi cultural sites throughout its mountains and hills, including sites such as the Huangdi Worshiping Boy Huagai Ancestral Hall, the Xuanyuan Pavilion, the Fenghou Ancestral Hall, the Leizu Temple, the Huangdi Great Ancestral Hall, the Black Dragon Pool and the White Dragon Pool.
Neixiang - Local Magistrate's Office
Neixiang Local Magistrate’s Office is China’s best-preserved feudal county-level government office as well as the first feudal government office museum in China. At Neixiang Local Magistrate’s Office, there are extensive exhibits which reproduce authentic old county-level government offices.
Anyang - Yinxu
Yinxu is the site of the capital of the late Shang Dynasty, the first confirmed capital in Chinese history. It is made up there sites, namely, a mausoleum, a palace and ancestral temple, and the Huanbei Shang City. The famous Simuwu Cauldron was also unearthed here.
Suiyang - Shangqiu Ancient Town
The Shangqiu Ancient Town was the Guide Prefecture City during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The ancient city is spherical outside and the inside, like the ancient Chinese coins, boasting unique architecture. Within the city, Nanhu Park, Yingtian Academy, Suiren Mausoleum, Fire God Platform and other attractions can be found.
Nanyang has a history of over 2,700 years, known as “the hometown of five sages and the Chinese medicine capital”. The Medical Sage Shrine, Neixiang Local Magistrate’s Office and other relics are located here. This city is also where Emperor Guangwu of the Eastern Han Dynasty rose to power.
Xinyang - Jigong Mountains
The Jigong Mountain is hailed as the “World Architecture Museum”. It looks like a rooster raising its head and spreading its wings. In the scenic area, there are many towers, platforms, and pavilions in different styles, and natural wonders such as broken spectre, sea of clouds, and rime can be seen.
Neixiang - Baotianman
In Baotianman, known as “the jewel of the Central Plain”, there is unique scenery and virgin forests, as well as many wild animals and plants.
Song County - Baiyun Mountain
Baiyun Mountain National Forest Park is a primitive forest hinterland in Mount Funiu. In the forest park, there are 2,000 acres of virgin forest, including the Tang Dynasty ginkgo forest, Wild Peony Garden, Red Birch Forest, Bai River Grand Canyon and other attractions.
Luoyang, Xi’an, Nanjing and Beijing arc ranked as the four great ancient capitals of China. In Luoyang, the Longmcn Grottoes, White Horse Temple and other historical sites are located, and peonies here are world famous.
White Horse Temple
The White Horse Temple, built during the Eastern Han Dynasty, is known as “China’s Number One Ancient Temple”. It faces the south and has a rectangular courtyard.
Legend has it that Guanlin is the place where the famous general Guan Yu from the Three Kingdoms period was buried. It is the only ancient architectural complex that includes a mound, a temple and a forest. There is an ancestral temple in front of Guanlin and a burial mound at the back with luxuriant cypresses, magnificent temple rooms, grand tombs and giant steles.
The Luoyang peony is world-famous. The Peony Park covers a planting area of over 100 acres, including a Peony Viewing Garden that is divided into South and North parks, with hundreds of domestic and foreign varieties of peonies and hundreds of thousands of peonies in total.
The Longmen Grottoes
The Longmen Grottoes, built during the reign of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty, is one of China’s four great grottoes. Up to 1 kilometer in length from north to south, there are still more than 2,100 caves and niches, over 100,000 sculptures, and over 3,600 inscriptions within the grottoes.
The Longmen Grottoes’ Vairocana Buddha is of the highest artistic level and is the largest of its kind. Empress Wu Zetian was the model for its design. Built on an open-air precipice, it is immense with the height of 17.14 meters.
Middle Binyang Cave
Middle Bingyang Cave was built by Emperor Xuanwu of the Northern Wei Dynasty for his father Emperor Xiaowen. Within the grotto, there is a horseshoe-shaped plane, a dome roof, and a lotus ceremonial canopy at the center carved with multipedaled lotus flowers and surrounded by 8 musical apsarases and 2 attending apsarases.
Cave of Ten Thousand Buddhas
The Cave of Ten Thousand Buddhas got its name from the 15,000 neatly arranged small Buddha sculptures carved inside the south and north sides of the cave. The cave is built with a front and back chamber structure and has the most complete sculpture arrangement in the Longmen Grottoes.
Kaifeng, known as “the Capital of Seven Dynasties”, is the only capital city in the world whose central axis has never been changed. The City-above-City Site is unique in world histories of archeology and capitals.
Kaifeng Prefecture Office
Kaifeng Prefecture Office used to be the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty. The current buildings, built according to the architectural style of that dynasty, are magnificent and majestic with 9 exhibition areas including Prefecture Government Culture and Prison Culture.
Tianbo Yang Mansion
Tianbo Yang Mansion is the residence of the famous general Yang Ye of the Northern Song Dynasty. The mansion holds statues of the generals from the Yang family, the Shetaijun Temple, Yang family weapons and many other artifacts.
Baogong Memorial Hall
Located by the Baogong Lake, Kaifeng Baogong Memorial Hall was built to commemorate the famous honest official Bao Zheng. Kaifeng Baogong Memorial Hall is an enclosed three-section courtyard with white walls and grey tiles. Surrounded by water, it is solemn and serene.
Qingming Riverside Park
Qingming Riverside Park is a large amusement park themed on the folk customs of the Song Dynasty, based on the famous painting “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival”, painted by the Song Dynasty’s Zhang Zeduan. The park reproduces the 1,000 years of wonderful scenery from the world-famous ancient capital Bianjing.
Fuyun Pavilion, 31.99 meters high, is the tallest building in the park. Containing four visible and three hidden rooms, it is a place for storing important court documents, traditional Chinese paintings and books. Grand and dignified, it is the best place in the area to access to grand views of the surroundings.
Xuande Hall and Xuanhe Hall
These two halls were built in the same style and have been integrated into one. They look like gate towers from afar and imperial palaces up close. Within them there are colored drawings. Fantastic royal shadow plays and chime bell dances are performed in these two halls.
Dongjing Delicacy Street
On Dongjing Delicacy Street, one can enjoy specialties of the ancient capital Kaifeng: steamed small meat dumplings in a basket, bucket chicken, First Building steamed buns, Huang’s steamed buns, spiced sheep’s hoof, diced chicken with pickled cucumber and so on.
Recommended Tourist Itineraties
A Tour of Scenic Spots and Historic Sites
Route: Gongyi – Luoyang – Mianchi – Sanmenxia
Sight: Visit imperial mausoleums of the Northern Song Dynasty and the Kang Bai-Wan9s Mansions in Gongyi City, the Longmen Grottoes and the White Horse Temple in Luoyang City, and the famous Yangshao cultural relics and the Alignment Terrace of the Qin and Zhao Kingdoms in Mianchi County.
A Tour of Ancient Capitals and Cities
Route: Kaifeng – Shangqiu – Zhoukou
Sight: Kaifeng, known as “the capital of seven dynasties”, was the Eastern capital of the Northern Song Dynasty. Located here are the Baogong Memorial Hall, Daxiangguo Temple, Dragon Pavilion, Iron Tower and other scenic spots. Shangqiu was the auxiliary capital of the Northern Song Dynasty. In Zhoukou City, the Guandi Temple, Nvwa City, Taihao Tomb and other relics can be found.
A Tour of Landscape
Route: Jiaozuo – Jiyuan – Xinyang
Sight: The famous Yuntai Mountains in Jiaozuo with wonderful mountains is a national geological park. Mount Wangwu in Jiyuan City is the place where the fable “The foolish old man moves the mountains”, took place. Xinyang is the location of the beautiful Jigong Mountain.
Famous Henan dishes include Xiao’s Three Delicacies braised noodles, Kaifeng soup dumplings, Mayuxing bucket chicken, Ge’s raised cake, Luoyang no-turn soup, Luoyang soup banquet, soup with pepper, carp jumping over dragon gate, Four Treasures Set, braised fish, steamed small meat dumplings in a basket, steamed cake with mutton and fried jelly, to name but a few.
Henan Braised Noodles: Henan braised noodles, a characteristic local delicacy, is a traditional snack with meat, vegetables, soup, greens and rice. Aromatic and fresh, the soup is delicious and the noodles are tender, making it the most popular street snacks in Henan.
Xinyang Maojian Tea: Xinyang Maojian tea is one of China’s top ten teas. With dark green leaves and a strong stem, it provides a high quality tea leaf. After careful preparation, the finished tea is pure and clear and has a lasting fragrance and taste.
In Henan Province, there are five major civil aviation airports, namely, Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, Luoyang Northern Suburbs Airport, Nanyang Jiangying Airport, Shangqiu Airport and Xinyang Minggang Airport. Zhengzhou is one of the country’s eight major aviation hubs and has flights to 67 domestic and international cities and regions via 90 routes, including 84 domestic routes and 6 international and regional routes.
Henan Province’s railway system has the most passenger and freight railway mileage in the country, with lines including the Beijing- Guangzhou Railway, the Beijing-Kowloon Railway, the Jiaozuo-Zhicheng Railway, the Jiaozuo-Xinxiang Railway, the Lianyungang- Lanzhou Railway and the Nanjing-Xi’an Railway. The Zhengzhiou railway hub is the busiest transportation hub in China. Zhengzhou North Railway Station is Asia5s largest railway passenger and freight marshalling yard, and Zhengzhou East Railway Station is the largest railway transfer station in China.
Henan has a developed highway transportation network composed of 9 national expressways, such as the Beijing-Hong Kong- Macao Expressway, the Lianyungang-KJiorgas Expressway, the Jinan-Guangzhou Expressway, and the Daqing-Guangzhou Expressway, as well as over 20 regional and local expressways. There are also 9 national highways running through the provinces.