One of China's oldest cities, Changsha has been an important trading centre for 2,000 years. Located in south central area of the country, the city, with a population of 4.4 million, is the capital of Hunan province.
It is perhaps best known as the place where the founder of the People's Republic, Chairman Mao Zedong, began his political career. Noteworthy tourist areas include, Hunan Provincial Museum, best known for its collection of relics from First Century B.C. and the Han tombs, which contain a perfectly preserved woman's body.
Yuelushan Park features the Ming Dynasty Yunlu Palace, the 1,700 year-old Lushan Temple and Aiwan Ting Pavilion where Chairman Mao's calligraphy is on display. Changsha's other famous sights include Yuelu Academy, Orange Island, Kaifu Temple and Tianxin Ge.
Based on hearty farm cooking, Hunanese cuisine is very spicy and hot pepper is a popular ingredient. Pottery, ceramics and embroidery are Hunanese's distinctive regional handicrafts. Changsha's economy relies mainly on agriculture and transport and its port is the busiest on the Xiangjiang River.