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With over 2,000 years of history, this capital city of Sichuan province is one of the most beautiful cities in China. The national government has even determined that Chengdu is the cleanest city in China. Chengdu is sometimes called the City of Brocade; the Jinjiang, which means brocade, is a river that flows through the city. The breeding of silkworms and the weaving of brocade were highly developed as early as the Han era (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). Chengdu is also known as the City of Hibiscus because of its several parks and the wonderful flowers which grow even in the downtown area. Reportedly, Meng Cheng, King of Shu and a fancier of hibiscus, had hibiscus planted along the walls and edges of the streets in the 10th century.
The city is located in southwest China, in the west Sichuan plain, at the confluence of the Nan and Fu rivers. An ancient walled city, it was the capital of the Shu kingdom (3rd century A.D.). It is an important regional center for metallurgy, chemicals, machinery, and electronics. It is also considered to be the cultural hub of southwest China; it is the site of Sichuan University and a center of Sichuan opera. The province itself abuts the eastern border of Tibet.
Because of its location in the midst of some of China's most fertile growing regions, Chengdu is also known as the Land of Abundance. Its markets are always filled with fresh vegetables and fruits. Whether due to government subsidies or cheap labor, most items are quite inexpensive, including fresh meat and milk.
The ancestors of the Shu people (in ancient times, Sichuan province was called Shu) lived in Chengdu more than 3,700 years ago. About 2,300 years ago, Kai Ming, the ninth king of the ancient Shu kingdom moved his capital to today's Chengdu. It was at that time that Chengdu got its present name. Because of its special economic strength and geographic location in southwest China, Chengdu has been an important political center through the centuries. At least seven local separatist governments organized in Chengdu. During these 2,300 years, Chengdu never changed its location despite many upheavals, and it has always been the capital of Sichuan province.
Climate in Chengdu is quite temperate. The weather is nice during the winter, with lows of about 40 degrees and highs around 55 degrees. It never snows. However, since Chengdu is very humid, it always feels a little colder. Also due to the humidity, Chengdu in summer is uncomfortable and muggy, especially when the temperature rises to 90 degrees. With the combination of humidity and surrounding mountains, Chengdu is almost always overcast. Although some critics blame pollution for the overcast skies, historical records prove otherwise.