Shenyang

by - 13:01

Shenyang City 沈阳市

Shenyang is the largest city in northeast China and is also the provincial capital of Liaoning province. The city is an industrial stronghold which includes many of the nation's key industrial giants such as Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC)沈飞集团, Brilliance China Automotive 华晨中国汽车 and Neusoft Corporation 东软集团. These were bolstered by the city's excellent air and land transport network.

It gained in stature when the first leader of the Manchu Qing dynasty, Nurhaci 努尔哈赤 established his imperial capital here in 1625. The name of the city was changed from its original name of Shenyang (which means north of the Shen River 沈河 that flows to the south of the city), to Shengjing 盛京. In addition, its other name Mukden was derived from the city's Manchu name of Mukdembi ("to rise"), and was also used interchangeably as well.

Following the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644, the Qing dynasty consolidated its power in Beijing and the city was renamed as Fengtian Perfecture 奉天府. It finally reverted to its original name of Shenyang after the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1914.

The original inner city was only confined to a small square section of the current urban sprawl in the Shenhe district 沈河区. It is bounded by the Shuncheng roads 顺成路 as well as city gates at each of the four compass directions (courtesy of Google Maps).
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The main artery through the old city is known as Shenyang Road 沈阳路, and is also commonly referred to as Manzhou Street 满洲一条街 due to the distinct Manchu influence on the buildings that are preserved along this road.
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A Yutong CNG citybus was photographed working on service 215 along Shenyang Rd against a backdrop of classical Chinese shophouses. The bus was so new that it was pressed into service without a proper registration plate!
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Higer citybus belonging to Fengtian Bus working on service 296.
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Shenyang Rd is home to an eclectic mix of shops, tourist agencies as well as restaurants. We had lunch at one of the famed roast duck restaurants located along this street. The Yuanweizhai restaurant 原味斋吊炉烤鸭店 was formerly the Shenyang branch of the Jinyunlou 晋云楼 Peking duck restautrant in Beijing. It was renamed in 1953, and the shop's signature roast duck is prepared and eaten in a similar manner as the Peking duck.
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Manchurian cuisine has a heavy focus on dumplings, which are ideal in the harsh and long Siberian winters where it is easy to prepare, store and consume. Shenyang Bianjiachuanren Dumpling restaurant 沈阳边家传人饺子城 has been in existance for over 170 years.
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One of the 2 remaining stone city gates, the Hujinmen 抚近门, stands guard at the eastern end of Shenyang Road.
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Shenyang Imperial Palace 沈阳故宫

The palace was the official residence for the first 2 emperors of the Qing dynasty - Nurhaci 努尔哈赤 and Huang Taizhong 皇太宗. It was later used as a regional palace by later emperors and was further expanded to its current size by Emperor Qianlong 乾隆in 1780.
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Main courtyard of the imperial palace. The emperor would receive and confer with his court officials here every morning.
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The main hall in the palace, Chongzheng Hall 崇正殿. The Manchu script appears to the left of the chinese script instead of the right at the Imperial Palace in Beijing.
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The obligatory photo of the ornate 'dragon seat 龙椅' in Chongzheng Hall which is exclusively used by the emperor.
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The Fenghuang Tower 凤凰楼 behind Chongzheng Hall serves as the gateway to the private abodes of the emperor, empress and his many concubines.
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One of the 6 residences occupied by the emperor's concubines. Guanju Palace 关雎宫 was formerly used by Emperor Huang Taiji's concubine Hailanzhu 海兰珠 who was from the Ke'erqin 可尔沁 tribe in Mongolia.
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The spartan interior of the main sitting room in the palace hardly resembles the opulent furnishings which are often featured in period Chinese dramas!
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The stoves in the palace serves to heat up the water required for bathing and water contained in the large tubs also help to humidify the dry air which is prevalent in this region.
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Typical palace bedroom.
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The concubines' bedroom often has a baby rocker suspended from the ceiling for the newborn royal offspring.
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Back gardens of the palace grounds. The Shenyang Imperial Palace is approximately 1/12th the size of the Forbidden Palace in Beijing.
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The Dazheng Hall 大政殿 is an open courtyard where major celebrations are often held in the palace. The design of this octogonal shaped hall is partly influenced by the Mongolians, whom the ruling Manchurians have excellent relationships with.
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A close-up view of a dragon carving on the exterior of Dazheng Hall.
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Pavillions line both sides of the courtyard and are used by the commanders of the 8 different military divisions.
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A display of a typical armour worn by a foot soldier in the army and the ceremonial flags of the 8 divisions 正黄旗,镶黄旗,正红旗,镶红旗,正白旗,镶白旗,正蓝旗,镶蓝旗.
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Marshal Zhang's Residence 张氏帅府 / 大帅府

Zhang Zuolin 张作霖 was the warlord of Manchuria after the fall of the Qing dynasty in the early 20th century, having consolidated his power around his personal army that had seized control of Shenyang. He was eventually killed in 1928 when the Japanese sabotaged the train he was returning back to Shenyang on in the wake of his failed conquest of Beijing. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Zhang Xueliang 张学良.

Statue of Zhang Xueliang 张学良(少帅). He was instrumental in forcing the Nationalists to work together with the Communists against the invading Japanese forces during World War II. As a result, he was placed under house arrest by Chiang Kai Shek in Taiwan and later emigrated to Honolulu, Hawaii where he passed away at the ripe old age of 100.
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Children's rollerblading class in progress outside the gates of the mansion.
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Vegetable & fruits stall on wheels. It is a wonder how these sellers manage to peddle their wares with ease along busy streets and sidewalks without spilling or damaging any of their wares!
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The front courtyard of the residence features traditional Chinese architecture.
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Living room used by Zhang Zuolin for receiving guests.
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Stately European chateau style mansion served as the main residence for the illustrious warlord.
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Sitting room in the main mansion
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Dining area
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In addition to the main mansion, Zhang Zuolin built several smaller mansions for each of his 5 concubines.
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The well kept oriental garden featured marble carvings and traditional chinese pavillions.
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Shenyang Financial Museum 沈阳金融博物馆

The Shenyang financial museum is the only of its kind in the country and showcases the evolvement of the Chinese Renminbi over the years to its current recogniseable form today.

Banking hall in the early 20th century. Zhang Zuolin was credited into transforming the otherwise barren frontier provinces into one of the most properous regions in the country. After inheriting a financially weak provincial government in 1917, Zhang Zuolin appointed Wang Yongjiang to oversee the financial reforms, and a new currency known as the Fengtian dollar was introduced as a result.

The Manchurian economy eventually collapsed in 1928 due to severe devaluation of the currency as excessive paper notes were printed to sustain Zhang Zuolin's personal army without being backed by sufficient silver reserves.
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Realistic wax figurines in period costumes helped to recreate the bustling banking scene which was present at the height of the Manchurian economy in the early 1920s.
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Old credit notes and banking documents were also displayed in the hall.
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Bank tellers hard at work at the counters. Banking was a tedious and labourious process before the introduction of computerised banking systems.
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A gold plated God of Fortune 财神爷 in the museum. Judging from the huge amounts of pledges in the donation box, it seemed that the God of Fortune must be smiling on the museum operator instead of the devotees!
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Zhong Jie Shopping Street 中街购物街

Zhong Jie (or Middle Street) is one of the major shopping districts in Shenyang, and mainly features branded western apparel stores and restaurants such as Louis Vuitton and Pizza Hut.
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Taiyuan Jie Shopping Street 太原街购物街 (Heping district 和平区)

Taiyuan St is located besides Traders Hotel near the Shenyang Railway Station and features a huge underground shopping mall. It is also surrounded by a wide range of departmental stores such as Parksons.
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A nicely lit building along Zhongshan Rd 中山路 with a neon China Unicom advertisement.
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A slice of Singapore in a foreign land. Kangfu Degao Bus Company 康富得高巴士(Comfort Delgro Bus in Chinese) is owned by Singapore based ComfortDelgro Group which is also the parent company of SBS Transit. One of the company's many Yaxing citybuses was photographed picking up passengers in front of Parksons Departmental Store towards Dongta Airport during the morning peak hour on service 225.
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In addition, the company also operates a number of tri-axle Huanghai DD6141S04 buses which are deployed on service 207 during peak hours. These 14m long buses (which are 2m longer than the standard 12m length) feature a third exit after the rear axles to speed up the alighting of passengers.
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Bus stop pole listing the services which call at the Taiyuan St bus stop along Zhonghua Rd. The design of the bus stop plate bears a marked resemblance to those of New World First Bus in Hong Kong.
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This double deck bus manufactured by Yaxing is definitely one of the better looking Chinese double decks with smooth body curves and extensive window glazing. AC5710 was spotted working service 206 which links Shenyang Railway Station with the Shenyang Chemistry Institute.
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In response to increased awareness on environmental pollution in China, many Chinese bus manufacturers had rolled out a series of environmentally friendly citybuses. This BJ6112C8MT8 citybus produced by Beijing based Foton Group complies with the stringent Euro V emission regulations. Service 221 provides an essential link between the main railway station and the northern railway station in the city.
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