(usually spelled Chiu Chow
in the US and Hong Kong), also widely known by its Postal map spelling Teochew
, is a prefecture-level city
in eastern Guangdong province
, People's Republic of China
. It borders Shantou
to the south, Jieyang
to the southwest, Meizhou
to the northwest, the province of Fujian
to the east, and the South China Sea
to the southeast. It has an area of 3614 square kilometer and a population of 2,500,000.
The prefecture-level city
of Chaozhou administers 4 county-level divisions
, including 2 districts
and 2 counties
Geography and climate
Chaozhou is located in the easternmost part of Guangdong Province, north of the coastal Shantou City. It is located in the north of the delta of the Han River (韩江), which flows through the city.
In 214 BC
, Chaozhou was an undeveloped and named part of Nanhai Commandery
(南海郡) of the Qin Dynasty
. In 331
during the Eastern Han Dynasty
(海陽縣) was established as a part of Dongguan Commandery
Dongguan Commandery was renamed to Yi'an Commandery (義安郡) in 413. The commandery became a prefecture in 590 in the early Sui Dynasty; first as Xun Prefecture (循州, Xunzhou), then as Chao Prefecture (潮州, Chaozhou) in the following year. In 1914, the Republic of China government combined Chao and Xun prefectures into Chaoxun Prefecture or Chaoxun Circuit (潮循道).
For a short while in the Sui and early Tang Dynasties, Haiyang District was called Yi'an District (義安縣). The name remained Haiyang until 1914, when it was renamed to Chao'an County (潮安縣) to avoid ambiguity with the Haiyang County of Shandong Province.
The seat of the 1951 Guangdong People's Government was at Chao'an County, a part of it was created as Chao'an City in 1953 and later that year renamed to Chaozhou City (county-level). In 1955, the provincial seat moved to Shantou. Chaozhou City was abolished five years later, and reestablished again in 1979. In 1983, the situation was reversed, with Chao'an abolished and made a part of Chaozhou City. Chaozhou was made a provincially-administered city in January 1989, and a vice-prefecture-level city in January 1990.
Together, Chaozhou and the nearby cities of Shantou and Jieyang are called Chaoshan. The name was used for the joint political-administrative area which encompassed the three cities from 1958 until 1983. For the next five years, Shantou City was a higher-level city containing Chaozhou and Jieyang within it. Currently, Chaozhou, Shantou and Jieyang are equal in status.
Chaozhou is famously known as one of the great cultural centers of the Lingnan
region of China. The Chaozhou culture is known worldwide as a unique part of world heritage. Down through history the Chaozhou region was able to flourish and thrive as a prosperous cultural center enabling the nourishing of a unique and distinctive character epitomized in the Chaozhou Dialect
, Chaozhou opera, Chaozhou cuisine
, Chaozhou Ganghu tea, Chaozhou music, and Chaozhou embroidery.
Chaozhou Dialect (潮州話), by which the Chaozhou culture conveys, is considered as one of the oldest Chinese dialects for it preserves many elegant and refined features from ancient Chinese that have been lost in some of the other modern dialects of Chinese. It is spoken by about 10 million people in local Chaozhou and approximately 2-5 million overseas.
Chaozhou opera (潮劇) is a traditional art form which has a history of more than 500 years and is now loved by 20 million Chaozhou natives in over 20 countries and regions. Based on the local folk dances and ballads, Chaozhou opera has formed its own style under the influence of Nanxi Opera. Nanxi is one of the oldest Chinese operas that originated in the Song Dynasty. Its tunes are graceful and pleasant, full of local color. The old form of choral accompaniment still remains its special features. Clowns and females are the most distinctive characters in a Chaozhou opera, and fan-playing and acrobatic skills are more prominent than in other types of performances.
Gongfu tea (工夫茶), the 'espresso' of Chinese teas with a formidable kick, which was first sipped back in the Song Dynasty, is still flourishing and remains an important part of social etiquette in Chaozhou. If you visit a family, you can be sure of at least one round of Ganghu tea. Though it tastes bitter when it first reaches your mouth, it is the lingering aftertaste that makes Ganghu tea probably the most charming tea culture in China. Drinking Ganghu tea is in fact a process of aesthetics rather than a solution to thirst.
At the local teahouse, tea service is often accompanied with Chaozhou music (潮州音樂). String music, the gong and drum music, the ancient music of set flutes are the traditional play forms of Chaozhou music. Chaozhou string music is made up of mostly plucked and bowed string instruments, and on some occasions, wind instruments are used. The most characteristic instruments are the Rihin (二弦), Tihu (提胡) and Yahu (椰胡) (all two-stringed bowed lutes), the pipa, the four-stringed plucked instrument as well as other plucked lutes; the zheng and the hammered dulcimer. The number of instruments and performers in the ensemble is flexible and depends on the availability of instruments and musicians to play them - but to have an even and balanced texture only one of each instrument is preferred. Chaozhou drum music includes the big drum and gong, the small drum and gong, the dizi set drum and dong and su drum and gong ensembles. The current Chaozhou drum music is said to be similar to the form of the Drum and Wind Music of the Han and Tang Dynasties. Chaozhou Guzheng (潮州古筝) is also regarded a major genre of Southern style of Chinese Guzheng
In 2006, GDP
of the whole city totaled 33.0 billion yuan, up by 13% over the previous year. Agricultural output value reached 5.732 billion yuan, dropped by 3.1%. Industrial output value amounted to 64.9 billion yuan, representing an increase of 16.4%. Seven pillar industries of ceramics, garment, food, plastics, electronics, stainless steel products and printing achieved above-scale industrial output value of 22.92 billion yuan, up by 30.3%, accounting for 62.7% of the total above-scale industrial output value. The proportion of the three industries to the aggregate of GDP
was 9.5:56.2:34.3 in 2006. Local financial revenue in the general budget increased to 1065 million yuan, up 23.2%. The gross value of import and export added to US$2.3 billion, representing an increase of 21.3%. Overall consumer product retail sales came to 11.814 billion yuan, representing an increase of 14.7%. Consumption on transport and telecommunication, garment, health care and housing showed massive growth. Expenditure reached 3.56 billion yuan for urban resident and 8.25 billion yuan for rural resident, showing rises of 11.1% and 16.4% respectively. Throughout the year, Chaozhou received visitors of 1,899,000 person/time, up by 15.6%, yielding a revenue of 2.748 billion yuan in tourism, up by 15.4%. Investment in fixed assets came to 10.974 billion yuan, up by 12.4%.
Chaozhou is a famous historical and cultural city in the country. The city's feature is known as "Classic Tourist City" which receives numerous tourists both from abroad and home. There are many valuable historic relics in Chaozhou city, totally about 600 units and among them 42 are classified as the state, provincial and city's key preservation units of cultural relics. The Chaozhou Dialect
, Chaozhou opera
, Chaozhou Ganghu tea
, etc. have unique features of Chaozhou culture, attracting numerous tourists from home and abroad, and are the richly endowed tourist resources.
- Beige Fodeng - The Lighthouse of Buddha (北閣佛燈). The lighthouse was used for boats in the Hanjiang river as this part of the river was dangerous. The lighthouse could remind people that they were in Chaozhou area and ought to be careful. It is said a former emperor once passed in his "dragon boat" while he was sleeping and was woken by the light from this Lighthouse. He thought it must have been a bodhisattva sending him the light and therefore named it the "lighthouse of Buddha".
- Guangzi Bridge (廣濟橋), built in the Southern Song Dynasty (1170 A.D.)
- Huang Jilue Temple (己略黃公祠), displaying the wood carving art of Chaozhou in the Qing Dynasty.
- The old site of Song Kiln, that shows the scale of production and the exquisite craftsmanship of ceramic in ancient Chaozhou.
- Jiadixiang (甲第巷), the ancient family houses.
- Kaiyuan Temple (開元寺) is a Buddhist center embodied with the quintessence of the architectural art of various dynasties such as the Tang, the Song, the Yuan and the Qing. This temple is over 200 years old. The temple is also home to the most influential Buddhism Study Institute in Southeast China. Inside, handsome calligraphy and inscribed steles remind visitors that this temple once functioned as the record keeper of the city.
- Night scene of the People's Square.
- The Ming city wall (明城墻), 2.6 kilometers long.
- Xu, Imperial Son-in-law, Mansion (許駙馬府), which retains the basic pattern of the architecture of the Song Dynasty.
- Xi Hu Yuan, a museum in the main city park, has a unique collection unique of stones with natural geological markings representing (or resembling) Chinese characters.
- The township of Chaojhou in western Pingtung County, Taiwan is named after Chaozhou.
- There is a large population of Chaozhou people in Hong Kong. When mainland China opened its gate in the 1950s, there was an exodus of refugees into Hong Kong to flee the communist rule. Refugees from Chaozhou banded together in very tight communities. They were known to be very generous of helping refugees from their own regions. They spoke their own dialect amongst themselves, hence they stood out among the locals when almost everybody else spoke Cantonese in Hong Kong. The locals called them by the name "Chiu Chow Loun", where Chiu Chow is the Cantonese pronunciation of their origin, Chaozhou and Loun is the Teochew pronunciation of the word "people". They were known to be a very hardworking people and they were good at running small businesses. Back in the 1960s, almost every "rice store" (grocery stores for dried food and uncooked rice) in Hong Kong were owned by "Chiu Chow Loun". Decades and generations later, the offspring of these immigrants blended into the rest of the communities. Large corporation run supermarkets drove many "rice stores" out of business. "Chiu Chow Loun" are no longer as stood out as special communities in Hong Kong. Though they are still very active in organizing charity activities especially around the "ghost festival" in the 7th month of the Chinese calendar. See Teochew people for more details.
- There is a large population of Chaozhou people in Pontianak and Ketapang, Indonesia. Teochew is the main lingua franca used among the Chinese, and Teochew are the dominant ethnic Chinese group in Pontianak and Ketapang.