Logically both the great cities of Beijing and Tianjin belong in Hebei Province as they are located within its natural border. Hebei stretches well beyond the Great Wall into the northern Mongolia plateau down to one of the Yellow River’s ancient channels to the sea in the South. It is from its position north of the Yellow River (Huang He) that it gets its name. It has been part of China from earliest times, at least as long ago as the Shang dynasty. Deprived of these major cities the province has one big attraction for tourists and that is the Great Wall. On the coast to the North the famous beach resort of Beidaihe attracts many Chinese and foreign tourists during July and August.
Popular Cities: Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Handan, Zhangjiakou, Chengde, Qinhuangdao, Baoding
Average temperature: -14ºC to -2ºC (6.8ºF to 28.4ºF) in January, 20ºC to 27ºC (68ºF and 80.6ºF) in July.
Places to visit
1. Chengde (see later section) north-east of Beijing boasts one of the Qing Imperial Summer Palaces located to give the Imperial court a break from the summer heat. Known as one of the four most famous Chinese gardens, the resort, along with its outlying temples, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The Qing dynasty tombs are located near here as well as the Puning
2. Qinhuangdao near the border with Liaoning has European influenced beach resorts including Beidaihe which is now frequented by the Chinese elite.
3. Nearby at Shanhaiguan there is an impressive fort where the Ming dynasty Great Wall dramatically reaches the sea. Inland, part of the Wall is submerged in the Panjiakou The Wall cuts across the northern half of the Province and is Hebei’s main tourist attraction.
4. Cangyan Mountain is situated 78 kilometers southwest of the city. With its pleasant weather and towering ancient trees, it is a popular mountain resort. Dating from the Sui Dynasty more than 1,400 years ago, Cangyan resort boasts magnificent pavilions and monasteries, as well as an architecturally ingenious palace constructed between two sheer rocks high above a gorge. Fortune Celebration Temple (Fuqingsi) in Cangyan contains a particularly fine statue of Princess Nan Yang, allegedly the eldest daughter of the Sui Dynasty Emperor Yang (A.D. 604-618) who became a nun here.
5. Longxingsi (Great Prosperity Monastery), situated in Zhengding County of Hebei Province, dated from A.D 586 in the sixth year of the rule of emperor Kai of the Sui Dynasty. It is three-storied main building, the Great Benevolence Pavilion (Dabeige) has five eaves and contains a twenty-two-meter-high bronze statue of a Goddess of Mercy with forty-two arms. A collection of historical monuments, tablets, statues, and other relics of the Shijiazhuang area can also be found here.
6. Zhaozhou Bridge was built on the Jiaohe River about 2.5 kilometers south of Zhaoxian The bridge was constructed in A.D. 605 – 616. Designed by a well-known Chinese mason, Li Chun, it is made of stone, 50.82 meters long and 10 meters wide, with an unusual arch that is 7.23 meters high with a span of 37.35 meters. The stone railing and columns on the bridge were carved with beautiful dragon and phoenix designs. One of the earliest Chinese arch bridges with a long open-spandrel arch in the middle and two smaller arches on each side.