Prefecture-level city
Clockwise from top: Huángxīng Lù Pedestrian Street, Statue of Huang Xing, Lushan Temple, Hunan Martyrs Park, Yuelu Academy
Clockwise from top: Huángxīng Lù Pedestrian Street, Statue of Huang Xing, Lushan Temple, Hunan Martyrs Park, Yuelu Academy
Changsha is located in Hunan
Location of Changsha City in Hunan
Country China
Province Hunan
County-level divisions 8
Township divisions 172
 • Party Secretary Yi Lianhong
 • Mayor Hu Henghua
 • Prefecture-level city 11,819 km2 (4,563 sq mi)
Elevation 63 m (208 ft)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Prefecture-level city 7,044,118
 • Density 600/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
 • Urban 3,617,469
 • Rank in China 19th
 • Major nationalities Han - 99.22%
Minorities - 0.78%
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 410000
Area code(s) 0731
GDP 2014[1]
 - Total CNY 781 billion
(USD 125.68 billion)
 - per capita CNY 108,172
(USD 17,407)
GDP growth rate Increase 10.5%
License Plate A
O (police and authorities)
ISO 3166-2 cn-43-01
City tree: Camphor; City flower: Azalea
"Changsha", as written in Chinese
Simplified Chinese 长沙
Traditional Chinese 長沙
Xiang tsã13 sɔ33
Literal meaning long sandbar

Changsha (simplified Chinese: 长沙; traditional Chinese: 長沙; pinyin: Chángshā) is the capital of Hunan Province in south-central China,[2] located on the lower reaches of the Xiang River, a branch of the Yangtze River. Its municipality covers an area of 11,819 square kilometres (4,563 sq mi) and, according to the 2010 Census, a population of 7,044,118 inhabitants. The city's urban area has a population of 3,617,469.[3]

Changsha was important from the time of the Qin dynasty (221–207 BC). In AD 750–1100 Changsha was a major commercial hub, and its population increased greatly. Under the Qing dynasty, from 1664, it was the capital of Hunan province, and it was a major rice market. It was besieged during the Taiping Rebellion but never fell. Changsha was the site of Mao Zedong's conversion to communism. It was the scene of major battles in the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45 and was briefly occupied by the Japanese. Rebuilt since 1949, the city is now a major interior port and a commercial and industrial center.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Geography 3
    • Climate 3.1
    • Administration 3.2
  • Transportation 4
    • Public transport 4.1
      • Metro Rail 4.1.1
    • Roads 4.2
    • River 4.3
    • Rail 4.4
    • Air 4.5
  • Economy 5
    • Changsha National Economic and Technical Development Zone 5.1
  • Culture and sports 6
  • Education 7
    • Colleges and universities 7.1
    • International schools 7.2
    • Notable high schools 7.3
    • Notable Primary Schools 7.4
  • Notable people 8
    • Associated people 8.1
  • Astronomy 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The origins of the name "Changsha" are lost in antiquity. The name first appears in the 11th century BC, during the reign of King Cheng of the Zhou dynasty, a vassal lord from the Changsha area sent a type of softshell turtle known as "Changsha softshell turtle" (simplified Chinese: 长沙鼈; traditional Chinese: 長沙鼈; pinyin: Chángshā biē) as tribute to the Zhou king. In the 2nd century AD, historian Ying Shao wrote that the Qin dynasty use of the name Changsha for the area was a continuance of its old name.[4]


During the 1st millennium BC, it was the centre of the southern part of the Yangtze River valley state of Chu. In 1935–36 some Chu graves excavated nearby produced important evidences of Chu culture, for instance, the Chu Silk Manuscript. The city is sometimes called Qingyang (simplified Chinese: 青阳; traditional Chinese: 青陽; pinyin: Qīngyáng) in Warring States period texts.

Under the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) it became a staging post for Qin expeditions into Guangdong province. By 202 BC it was already a fortified city. During the Han dynasty it was also the capital of Changsha Kingdom, an imperial fiefdom of Han.

From Han times (206 BC–AD 220) it was named Linxiang County and was the seat of the Changsha commandery. The county was renamed Changsha in 589, when it became the administrative seat of Tan prefecture. It lost some importance at this period, however, because traffic from Guangdong was mostly diverted up the Gan River valley in Jiangxi.

Portrait of a man riding a dragon, found in a tomb dated back to the Warring States period

The celebrated Mawangdui Tombs of the Han dynasty were constructed between 186 and 165 BC. The earliest tomb (no. 2), when excavated in the 1970s, had preserved the corpse of Lady Xin Zhui in a surprisingly good condition. Also found in the tomb were the earliest versions of Dao De Jing, the main text of Taoism, among many other historical documents.

During the Three Kingdoms period, Changsha was a much-fought-over territory. During the Sui Dynasty, Changsha was a county and under the Tang it was known as Tanzhou.

After the fall of the Tang dynasty (618–907), it became the capital of the independent Chu state and later fell to the Later Tang dynasty (923–937). Between 750 and 1100, as Changsha became an important commercial city, the population of the area increased tenfold.

Under the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911/12) dynasties it was made a superior prefecture and from 1664 onward was the capital of Hunan and prospered as one of China's chief rice markets. During the Taiping Rebellion the city was besieged by the rebels (1854) but never fell; it then became the principal base for the suppression of the rebellion. Changsha was opened to foreign trade in 1904. Further development followed the opening of the railway to Hankou in Hubei province in 1918, which was extended to Guangzhou in Guangdong province in 1936. Although Changsha's population grew, the city remained primarily commercial in character and before 1937 had little industry, apart from some small cotton-textile, glass, and nonferrous-metal plants and handicraft enterprises.

Yuelu Academy was founded in AD 976 (Song dynasty), destroyed by war in 1127, and rebuilt in 1165 (Southern Song dynasty). The celebrated philosopher Zhu Xi taught at the Academy in 1165. It was destroyed by the Mongols but was restored in the late 15th century (Ming dynasty). Early 19th century graduates formed what one historian called a "network of messianic alumni" including Zeng Guofan, architect of the Tongzhi Restoration[5] and Cai E, a major leader in defending the Republic of China.[6] In 1903 it became Hunan High School. The modern day Hunan University is a descendant of the academy. The architecture of some of the buildings was restored from 1981–1986, presumably according to the Song design.

In 1852 the Taiping forces laid a siege on Changsha, through 3 months, the Taiping gave up offensive and toward Wuhan.( Battle of Changsha (1852) )

The 1903 Treaty of Shanghai between the Qing dynasty and Japan opened the city to foreign trade. Consequently, factories, churches and schools were built. A college was started by Yale University bachelors, and later became a medical center named Xiangya and a secondary school named the Yali School.

Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China began his political career in Changsha. He was a student at the Hunan Number 1 Teachers' Training School from 1913 to 1918. He later returned as a teacher and principal from 1920 to 1922. The school was destroyed during the Chinese Civil War but has since been restored. The Former Office of the Hunan Communist Party Central Committee where Mao Zedong once lived is now a museum that includes Mao's living quarters, photographs and other historical items from the 1920s.

Until May 1927, communist support remained strong in Changsha before the massacre carried out by the right-wing faction of the KMT troops owing allegiance to Chiang Kai-shek in its offensive against the left-wing faction of Wang Jingwei then allied closely with the communists. The purge of communists and suspected communists was part of Chiang's plans to consolidate his hold over the KMT weakening Wang's control, and thereby over entire China eventually. In a period of twenty days, Chiang's forces killed more than ten thousand people in Changsha and its outskirts.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), the strategic location of Changsha made it the focus of four campaigns by the Japanese to capture it from the hands of the Chinese Nationalists which resulted in the battles of 1st Changsha,[7] 2nd Changsha, 3rd Changsha, and 4th Changsha. The city was able to repulse the first three attacks thanks to Xue Yue's leadership, but ultimately fell for a short time into Japanese hands in 1944 for another year until they were defeated in a counterattack and forced to surrender.[8][9] The city itself was virtually destroyed in the 1938 Changsha Fire, ordered by Kuomintang commanders who mistakenly feared the city was about to fall to the Japanese. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, suggested that the city should be burned, so that Japanese force would gain nothing after entering it.[10]

The city later became the territory of the People's Republic of China when it was formed in 1949 after the Kuomintang were driven to Taiwan.


Xiang River and Changsha's riverbank at night (2005)
Baisha Well park
Climate chart ()
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: CMA

Changsha is located between 111° 53'–114° 05' E longitude and 27° 51'–28° 40' N latitude, situated in east central Hunan. Its terrain is high in the west and low in the east. There are many mountainous areas in the west and in the north. The Xiang River flows south to northwest; the 296-metre (971 ft) high Mount Yuelu is in the west; and Liuyang River and Laodao River east.

Changsha neighboring areas include: Jiangxi province, cities and counties of Hunan, such as Tonggu County, Wanzai County, Yichun City, Pingxiang City of Jiangxi province. Pingjiang County, Miluo City, Xiangyin County of Yueyang; Heshan District, Taojiang County, Anhua County of Yiyang; Lianyuan City of Loudi; Zhuzhou County, Liling City of Zhuzhou; Xiangtan County, Xiangxiang City of Xiangtan.


Changsha experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with annual average temperature being 17.03 °C (62.7 °F), with a mean of 4.6 °C (40.3 °F) in January and 29.0 °C (84.2 °F) in July. Average annual precipitation is 1,331 millimetres (52.4 in), and the frost-free period lasts 275 days. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 19% in March to 57% in August, the city receives 1,545 hours of bright sunshine annually. The four seasons are distinct. The summers are long and very hot, with heavy rainfall, and autumn is comfortable and is the driest season. Winter is chilly and overcast with lighter rainfall more likely than downpours; cold snaps occur with temperatures occasionally dropping below freezing. Spring is especially rainy and humid with the sun shining less than 30% of the time.The minimum temperature ever recorded since 1970 at current Wangchengpo Weather Observing Station was −12.0 °C (10.4 °F), on 9 February 1972. The maximum was 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) on 2 August 2003. A highest record of 43 °C (109 °F) was registered in another station in 1934.


City Administration

The city of Changsha has direct jurisdiction over 6 districts, 1 county-level cities, and 2 counties:

Subdivision Simplified Chinese Pinyin Pop.
(2010 Census)
Area (km²) Dens. (/km²)
City Proper
Furong District 芙蓉区 Fúróng Qū 523,730 42 12,470
Tianxin District 天心区 Tiānxīn Qū 475,663 74 6,428
Yuelu District 岳麓区 Yuèlù Qū 801,861 552 1,453
Kaifu District 开福区 Kāifú Qū 567,373 187 3,034
Yuhua District 雨花区 Yǔhuā Qū 725,353 114 6,363
Suburban and rural
Wangcheng District 望城区 Wàngchéng Qū 523,489 970 540
Liuyang City 浏阳市 Liúyáng Shì 1,278,928 4,999 256
Changsha County 长沙县 Chángshā Xiàn 979,665 1,997 491
Ningxiang County 宁乡县 Níngxiāng Xiàn 1,168,056 2,906 402


Changsha is well connected by roads, river, rail, and air transportation modes, and is a regional hub for industrial, tourist, and service sectors.

Public transport

The city's public transportation system consists of an extensive bus network with over a hundred lines as well as taxis.

Metro Rail

Changsha Metro is planning a 6 line network.[11] Line 2 opened on 29 April 2014.[12] Line 1 with 20 stations[11] is planned to follow in 2015.[13]

A further four lines are planned for construction before 2025.[12] Line 3 will run southwest–northeast and will be 33.4 kilometres (20.8 mi) long. Line 4 will run northwest-southeast and will be 29.1 kilometres (18.1 mi) long.[14] A maglev link running 16.5 kilometres (10.3 mi) between Changsha South station and Changsha airport is planned to be built in 2016, with a construction cost of €400m.[12][15]


National Highways 107 and 319, as well as Changsha–ZhuzhouXiangtan Express Way connect the Changsha metro area nationally. There are three main bus terminals in Changsha: South Station, East Station and West Station, dispatching long- and short-haul trips to cities within and outside Hunan Province.


Changsha is surrounded by major rivers, including the Xiangjiang, the Liuyanghe, and the Laodaohe. Ships transport mainly goods from Xianing port located in North Changsha domestically and internationally.


Changsha Railway Station is located in the city center and provides express and regular services to most cities in China via the Beijing–Guangzhou and Shimen–Changsha Railways.

The Changsha South Railway Station is the new high speed railway station, located in Yuhua district on the Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway (part of the planned Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong High-Speed Railway). The station with 8 platforms[16] was finally opened on 26 December 2009.[17] Since then the passenger volume has increased greatly.[18] The Shanghai-Changsha-Kunming high-speed railway is currently under construction.


Changsha Huanghua International Airport is a regional hub for China Southern Airlines, which serves major cities in China, including Hong Kong. Other major airlines also provide daily service between Changsha and other domestic and international destinations.The airport provides direct flights to 45 major cities such as HongKong, Bangkok, Seoul, Pusan, and Osaka. In 2011 the airport handled 13,810,000 people.


The Huángxīng Lù Pedestrian Street in Changsha (2006)
Changsha Business Quarter
Sky City skyscraper project, planned to be the tallest building in the world

Changsha's population nearly tripled between the start of its rebuilding in 1949 and the early 1980s. The city is now a major port, handling rice, cotton, timber, and livestock, and is also a collection and distribution point on the railway from Hankou to Guangzhou. It is a centre of rice milling and also has oil-extraction, tea and tobacco production, and meat-processing plants. Its textile industry produces cotton yarn and fabrics and engages in dyeing and printing. Agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, farm implements, and pumping machinery are also produced.

Changsha has a large thermal generating station linked by a power grid with the nearby industrial centres of Zhuzhou and Xiangtan; the three cities were designated in the 1970s as the nucleus of a major industrial complex. In the 1960s there was some development of heavy industry. The manufacture of machinery, especially machine tools and precision tools, became important, and Changsha became a center of China's aluminum industry. The city also has cement, rubber, ceramic, and papermaking plants and is a centre for many types of traditional handicrafts, producing Xiang embroidery, leather goods, umbrellas, and buttons. Coal is mined in the vicinity.

Changsha is one of China's 20 most "economically advanced" cities. In 2008, Changsha's nominal GDP was ¥300.1 billion (US$43 billion), a year-on-year growth of 15.1% from the previous year. Its per capita GDP was ¥45,765 (US$6,589).[19] Its GDP grew at an average of 14% per year from 2001 to 2005, compared to the national average of 9% in the period. As of 2005, the service sector generated roughly around 49% Changsha's GDP, up 112% from 2001 figures, and it is expected to continue driving the city's economic growth. Leading to a disposable income for urban residents of 12,343 RMB annually.[20] The manufacturing and construction sectors have grown relatively steadily, growing 116% during 2001-2005. The primary sector, including agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishery, has grown slightly over this same period. In addition, the consumer market has grown dramatically with income levels. With a minimum salary level of 600 RMB per month in comparison to Beijing 640 RMB or Shanghai at 750 RMB per month.[21] Urban residents in 2005 had average income of about USD 1,500, 15% higher than national average, and up 10% from 2001 figures.[22]

Changsha has attracted a substantial level of foreign investment. In 2005, for example, nearly USD 1 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) poured into the city, mainly in hi-tech, manufacturing, food production, and services. This figure is up 40% from 2001. 59% of the total FDI has come from Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan; 28% has come from the Americas and 9% from Europe.[23] By the end of 2008 more than 500 foreign companies had made over USD 10 million worth of investments in Changsha.[24] Changsha had total retail sales of 74 RMB billion in 2006.[25]

Rapid economic growth has made environmental pollution a serious problem in Changsha, caused by rapidly increasing numbers of private cars, widespread construction sites, and numerous industrial facilities on the outskirts of the city.

On 20 July 2013, the Sky City skyscraper broke ground.[26] A groundbreaking ceremony of the building was held.[27] At completion it will be the new world's tallest skyscraper. The planned final height is 838 meters and with 220 floors.[26] The Broad Sustainable Building company, which specializes in the rapid construction of large buildings, is the planning to finish construction in early 2014.[26][28][29] However, the project was halted by the authorities on 24 July, due to operation starting without law permission.[30][31] Some experts are questioning the safety of the 838-meter skyscraper to be built in only 7 months.[32] On 4 September 2013, reported that the project had begun environmental assessment in obtaining official planning approval for the project.[33] By 30 October, the building was in the final approval phases, according to Broad Group.[34]

Lugu Hi-tech industry Development Zone

Changsha National Economic and Technical Development Zone

The Changsha National Economic and Technology Development Zone was founded in 1992. It is located east of Changsha. The total planned area is 38.6 km2 (14.9 sq mi) and the current area is 38.6 km2 (14.9 sq mi). Near the zone is National Highways 319 and 107 as well as G4 Beijing–Hong Kong–Macau Expressway. Besides that, it is very close to the downtown and the railway station. The distance between the zone and the airport is 8 km (5.0 mi). The major industries in the zone include high-tech industry, biology project technology and new material industry.[35]

Culture and sports

Taogong temple
Lushan temple

In recent years, Changsha has become an important creative center for TV and entertainment arts, with its many TV stations producing some of the most popular programs in China, including Super Girl. These programs have also brought a new entertainment industry, including singing bars, dance clubs, theater shows, as well as related businesses like hair salons, fashion stores, and hot spicy snacks at night(esp. in the summer time). While Changsha has developed into an entertainment hub the city has also become increasingly westernized and attracted a growing number of foreigners.

Changsha is home to the Lei Feng Memorial (simplified Chinese: 雷锋纪念馆; traditional Chinese: 雷鋒紀念館; pinyin: Léi Fēng Jìniànguǎn) and statue.

In May 2008, the BBC broadcast, as part of its Storyville documentary series, the four-part The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World, explores the inner workings of the 5000-seat capacity West Lake Restaurant (Xihu Lou Jiujia) located in Changsha.

Changsha has one of China's largest multi-purpose sports stadiums—Helong Stadium with 55,000 seats. The stadium was named after the Communist military leader He Long. Helong Stadium is the home ground of local football team Hunan Billows F.C. in China League One while the more modest 6,000 seat Hunan Provincial People's Stadium which is also located in Changsha was used for their smaller games.[36]


Colleges and universities

Changsha was the seat of many ancient schools and academies.[37] It is the site of Hunan Medical University (1914) and has several colleges and institutes of higher learning.



Note: Institutions without full-time bachelor programs are not listed.

International schools

Notable high schools

Notable Primary Schools

Notable people

Changsha and its surrounding areas is the birthplace of:

Associated people


Changsha was represented by the star Zeta Corvi in a Chinese constellation.[38]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ (Chinese) Compilation by LianXin website. Data from the Sixth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China
  4. ^ Zhongguo gujin diming dacidian 中国古今地名大词典 [Dictionary of Chinese Place-names Ancient and Modern] (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 2005), 505.
  5. ^ William T. Rowe. China's Last Empire: The Great Qing. (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, History of Imperial China, 2009; ISBN 9780674036123), p. 162-163
  6. ^ Daniel McMahon, "The Yuelu Academy and Hunan's Nineteenth-Century Turn toward Statecraft," Late Imperial China 26.1 (2005): 72-109 Project MUSE.
  7. ^ Van De Ven, Hans J., War and Nationalism in China, 1925–1945, pg. 237.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ a b c
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Changsha to Construct Maglev Train, 2014-01-09
  16. ^
  17. ^ 抢占先机 武广高速铁路通车长沙商圈又添新丁(Chinese)
  18. ^
  19. ^ Changsha Statistical Yearbook 2007
  20. ^ China Briefing. China Briefing. Retrieved on 2011-08-28.
  21. ^ China Briefing Changsha Report. Retrieved on 2011-08-28.
  22. ^ Changsha Statistical Yearbook 2005
  23. ^
  24. ^ Changsha Economic Data and News. The China Perspective. Retrieved on 2011-08-28.
  25. ^ China Business News. China-Briefing. Retrieved on 2011-08-28.
  26. ^ a b c Could world's tallest building bring China to its knees? -
  27. ^ CHANGSHA | Sky City | 838m | 2749ft | 202 fl | Prep - Page 82 - SkyscraperCity
  28. ^ Global Wellbeing: Huilongzhou Village is witnessing a paradigm shift
  29. ^ 六大释疑详解长沙"世界最高楼" 能保9级地震不倒 - 头条新闻 - 湖南在线 - 华声在线
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Changsha National Economic and Technology Development Zone. Retrieved on 2011-08-28.
  36. ^
  37. ^ Yeulu Academy, Changsha. Retrieved on 2011-08-28.
  38. ^ Star Name - R.H. Allen p.182. Retrieved on 2011-08-28.

External links

  • Changsha Interactive Map, Information on Locations
  • Changsha Government website
  • Changsha National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone