The city has three sections—the old Chinese city, which is the administrative center; the new city, developed by the Japanese around the railroad; and a residential section beyond the railroad. The area doubled in population in the 1950s and 1960s, with a striking increase in both city and suburban population. Shenyang is the seat of Liaoning Univ., Northeastern China Technical Univ., a medical college, a conservatory of music, and numerous other specialized institutes.
During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), Shenyang was an important military objective; it fell to the Japanese on Mar. 10, 1905, after a 15-day battle. Following the establishment of the Chinese republic (1912), Shenyang was the headquarters of several warlords, notably Chang Tso-lin, who was assassinated outside the city in 1928. There, in Sept., 1931, occurred the Mukden or Manchurian Incident, when the Japanese army used an explosion on the railroad N of Shenyang as a pretext for occupying the city and beginning the occupation of all Manchuria. After 1931, the Japanese developed the city as an industrial center. Shenyang fell to the Communists on Nov. 1, 1948, after a 10-month siege, during which time thousands starved; the defending Nationalist force was annihilated during a breakout attempt.
Along with its nearby cities, Shenyang is an important industrial center in China, and the transportation and commercial centre of China's northeastern region.
The city was also known as Shengjing (盛京) or Fengtian (奉天).
In 1625, the Manchu leader Nurhaci moved his capital to Shenyang, or Simiyan hoton as it is called in Manchu. The official name was changed to Shengjing (盛京) in Chinese, or Mukden ; in Manchu 1634. The name derives from the Manchu word, mukdembi, meaning "to rise", and this is reflected by its Chinese name, which means "rising capital". Shenyang remained the capital of the Qing Dynasty until the relocation of the capital to Beijing in 1644 after the fall of Ming dynasty. However, it retained considerable prestige as the older capital, treasures of the royal house were kept at its palaces, and the tombs of the early Qing rulers were once among the most famous monuments in China. In 1657, Fengtian Prefecture (Chinese: 奉天府; Pinyin: Fèngtiān fǔ; Manchu: Abkai imiyangga fu or Fungtyian, "obeying heaven") was established in the Shenyang area, and Fengtian was sometimes used synonymously with Shenyang/Mukden. In 1914, the city changed back to its old name Shenyang. However, Shenyang continued to be known as Mukden in English sources (sometimes spelled Moukden) through much of the 20th century.
With the building of the South Manchurian Railway, Mukden became a Russian stronghold. During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), Mukden was the site of the Battle of Mukden from on 19 February - 10 March 1905. It was the largest battle in the world when it was fought by the Russians. Following the Japanese victory, the Japanese concession at Mukden was one of the chief bases for Japanese economic expansion into southern Manchuria. It was also the seat of the Chinese viceroy of the three Manchurian provinces. In the 1920s, Mukden was the capital of the warlord Chang Tso-lin, who was killed when his train was blown up near Mukden at a Japanese-guarded railway bridge.
In the early 1900s, Shenyang began expanding out of its old city walls. Shenyang Railway Station on the South Manchurian Railway and the Shenyang North Railway Station (today's old north station) on the Jingfeng railway became new commercial centers of Shenyang. Several factories was built by Chang Tso-lin to manufacture ammunition in northern and eastern suburb. These factories laid the foundation for Shenyang's industrial development.
The Mukden Incident (18 September 1931), which gave the Japanese the pretext to create the Manchukuo state, took place near Shenyang. During the Manchukuo era (1932-1945) the city was called Fengtian again. During the Japanese occupation, Shenyang was developed into a heavy industry center.
Soviet forces occupied Shenyang in early August 1945 on the surrender of Japan. The Soviets were replaced by the Nationalist Chinese, who were flown in on US transport planes. During the Chinese Civil War, Shenyang remained a Kuomintang stronghold from 1946–1948, although the Chinese communists controlled the surrounding countryside. It was captured by the communists on 30 October 1948 following a series of offensives known as the Liaoshen Campaign. Since 1949, Shenyang became one of the most important heavy industry centers of China.
The remains of the Xinle culture, a Neolithic period society over 7,200 years old, are located in a museum in the north part of Huanggu District. It is complemented by a recreated village on site. A wood-sculptured bird unearthed there is the earliest cultural relic in Shenyang, as well as one of oldest wood sculptures found anywhere in the world.
Around 2.5km outside Shenyang outer city wall, there were four pagodas and four temples, namely, the East Pagoda/Yongguang Temple, the South Pagoda/Guangci Temple, the West Pagoda/Yanshou Temple, and the North Pagoda/Falun Temple. They were built in 1643. The four pagodas are identical Buddha-stupa as high as 26m. Only the north pagoda and temple is well preserved. For the east and the south ones only the pagodas are left. The west pagoda was rebuit in 1998.
Many major industrial companies have their headquarters in Shenyang. Brilliance China Auto is a major Chinese automobile manufacturer, and most of its production plants are also located in Shenyang. Shenyang Aircraft Corporation produces airplanes for civilian use as well as for the PLAAF. Neusoft Group is the biggest software company in China. Shenyang Machine Tool Group is the largest machine tool manufacturer in China.
Shenyang has 38 of China's 56 recognised ethnic groups, including the Han Chinese majority that make up 91.26% of Shenyang's population. The 37 minority groups are Manchu (滿族), Korean (朝鮮族), Hui (回族), Xibe (錫伯族), Mongolian (蒙古族), Zhuang (壯族), Miao (苗族), Tujia (土家族), Dong (侗族), Daur (達斡爾族), Bai (白族), Uyghur (維吾爾族), Tibetan (藏族), Yi (彝族), Taiwanese Aboriginal People (高山族), She (畲族), Buyei (布依族), Yao (瑶族), Akha (哈尼族), Kazakh (哈薩克族), Dai (傣族), Li (黎族), Shui (水族), Nakhi (納西族), Jingpo (景頗族), Kyrgyz (柯爾克孜族), Tu (土族), Mulao (仫佬族), Qiang (羌族) Maonan (毛南族), Gelao (仡佬族), Russian (俄羅斯族), Evenks (鄂温克族), Tatars (塔塔爾族), Oroqen (鄂倫春族), Nanai (赫哲族), Lhoba (珞巴族). Most of these groups are not native to the Shenyang area, but some, like the Manchus and the Xibe, are.
Not only is Shenyang a multiple ethinic city, it is also a place where many foreigners, especially from Japan and Korea live. Shenyang has numerous temples, churches, mosques and other religious sites.
Western part of Shenyang locates on the alluvial plain of Liao River, while eastern Shenyang is part of Changbai Mountains, covered with forests. The highest point in Shenyang is 414m and lowest point is only 7m. The main urban area locates in the north of Hun River, a major tributary of the Liao River. The average elevation of urban area is 29m. Two canal, north canal and south canal flow in the north and south of the urban area respectively, which follows historic course of Hun River.
Shenyang's climate is a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dwa) characterized by hot, humid summers, due to the monsoon, and dry, cold winters, due to the Siberian anticyclone. The four seasons in Shenyang are distinctive. The annual average temperature is 8.3°C with the lowest at -28.5°C and highest at 36.1°C. The rainfall is concentrated in July and August. The annual precipitation is 705.5mm.
Inner City Districts
Outer Districts and Areas
Heping District is located in the center of Shenyang. It has an area of 21km² and a population of 0.64 million. The downtown Heping district has all manner of businesses that are brightly lit by neon at night.
At the center of the district, is the famous Zhongshan Square (Zhongshan Guangchang, 中山广场), featuring one of China's largest statues of Chairman Mao. To this day, flowers are still placed around a large statue of Chairman Mao during the holidays.
The district was built in the area in front of Shenyang Railway station, the hub of former South Manchurian Railway. The boulevards are lined of very large trees of Ginkgos, which become golden in color and produce fruits.
Koreatown is located in the northern Heping District, as well as the West Pagoda.
Huanggu district also hosts the Liaoning Mansion Hotel. It is also the place of the government of Liaoning provience
Huanggu's name comes from Huanggutun ("tun" means village), where the Huanggutun Incident took place.
It recently featured in a documentary called West of the Tracks (the literal meaning of Tiexi) by the young filmmaker Wang Bing showing the transition in this rust belt district.
Tiexi is also home to the Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Area, a state-level development zone. This new development area combined with Tiexi District has a population of 1 million people, a total area of 126 km², and enjoys the same administrative rank as municipality. (Administrative Committee of Shenyang)
Dongling means the eastern tomb, referring to Qing Tombs dedicated to the first emperor of Qing Dynasty Nurhachi and his empress (a UNESCO site).
The district is rapidly becoming high end residential areas, as suburbs of Shenyang are growing steadily. Two corridors along two major highways, one leading to the eastern tomb and Fushun, the other leading to the international airport, see luxury apartments, fine neighborhoods and sleek commercial development quickly coming into shape.
Shenyang is connected by several major expressways. The Jingshen 8 lane Expressway, to the city of Beijing, some 658 kilometers away. The Shen-Da Expressway connecting Shenyang and Dalian is the first expressway ever built in China. It is the fastest highway (8-lane) linking one of the largest port city to Shenyang. Shendan Expressway is a 4-lane expressway to Benxi and Dandong. It also serves Shenyang Taoxian International Airport. There are other express ways to Fushun, Changchun, and Xinmin. There are many long-distance and express bus routes to Beijing and other cities in the northeast.
The city is served by the Shenyang Taoxian International Airport (沈阳桃仙国际机场, airport code SHE). Direct flights from Shenyang go to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Cheongju of Korea, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Sydney, Los Angeles and other cities. There are three other airports in Shenyang, none of them open to public: Dongta airport is the oldest airport in Shenyang, openned in 1920s and retired in 1980s. Beiling airport is used by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation for test flights. Yuhong airport is for military use only.
In Shenyang, there are more than 160 bus routes. Shenyang used to have about 20 trolleybus routes, one of the biggest trolleybus networks in China. Unfortunately, the entire network was demolished in 1999 after a series of electrocution accidents.
Shenyang has been planning subway system since 1940. In November 18, 2005 the construction of the first Shenyang Metro subway line finally started. The first (east-west) line is expected to be finished by 2010. Construction is made hard by the rocky ground on which Shenyang is built. The second (north-south) line started in November 18, 2006.
Shenyang is home of many performance art organizations, such as Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe of China , Liao Ning Song and Dance Ensemble , and Liaoning Ballet Many artists are from Shenyang, such as Na Ying, or Lang Lang
Shenyang Sport University is a famous professional sports university in China. The university is the training base for winter sports in China and has many Olympic champions.
There are several shopping areas in Shenyang. One of the districts, Taiyuan Street, (Chinese: 太原街), features western-style shopping and dining, including a Wal-mart, a Pizza Hut, consumer electronics stores, and a number of large, multi-story department stores selling products from around the world. There is also a very large underground shopping complex offering lots of items, especially in fashion jewellery, accessories and cloths.
Another area, Wu'ai Market, (Traditional Chinese: 五愛市場, Simplified Chinese: 五爱市场), features a large multi-story shopping center with a size comparable to that of many city blocks. It contains hundreds, if not thousands, of mini or boutique stores that open very early in the morning and close in the early afternoon. It is famous for wholesaling cheap clothes and household stuff.
There are also a number of large superstores located throughout the city that sell everything from meat and dairy to clothes and electronics.