Located in scenic northwestern Jiangsu Province, Xuzhou (Xúzhōu, 徐州) is known for its historical military and geographical importance, and the abundance of Han Dynasty relics that have been found there.
Situated midway between Beijing and Shanghai, today Xuzhou is one of China's most important transportation hubs—its railway station is one of the largest in China and serves as a connecting point for the Jinghu, Longhai and Hasan railways that serve every corner of the country. The city itself is rather small and nondescript, but an afternoon of strolling the old downtown neighborhoods or by the river will take you deep into the heart of small town China with bustling wet markets, old men playing Chinese chess, butchers hacking up their wares on the streets or fotune-tellers ready to read your future—if you can understand the lingo, that is.
As part of effort to develop the local economy, the government has turned the city's glittering Yunlong Lake (Yúnlóng Hú, 云龙湖) into an attractive tourist destination à la Hangzhou's West Lake, complete with scenic walkways, willow-filled gardens, pretty pagodas and tea houses. And while Xuzhou may not have quite the literary canon of Hangzhou and Xi Hu, the city and surrounding area are certainly not short on history.
Formerly known as Pengcheng (Péngchéng, 彭城) during the Qin and Han dynasties, Xuzhou was the birthplace of Liu Bang—first emperor of the Han dynasty. Today the city’s museums are home to a staggering number of cultural artifacts from that period, including 200 (so far discovered) Han tombs, thousands of funerary objects and their very own set of beautifully preserved terracotta warriors. More Han cultural artifacts can be found at Guishan Han Tomb (Guī Shān Hàn Mù, 龟山汉墓), the Xuzhou Museum (Xúzhōu Bówùguǎn, 徐州博物馆) and the Xuzhou Folk-Custom Museum (Xúzhōu Mínsú Bówùguǎn, 徐州民俗博物馆).
If Chinese history is not your cup of tea, perhaps martial arts are, in which case, you'll be interested to know that the famous Wushu style is said to originate from the area.
Jiangsu guide | Xuzhou guide
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Jiangsu on the China Travel Blog