Many may think that Changzhou is just like any other city in Jiangsu province, China. But in reality, Changzhou is one of the best cities to live and work in, not just in Jiangsu, but also in the whole of China as well. Better still, it is a popular tourist destination in China, thanks to the many tourist attractions and fun things to do in Changzhou that attract people from around the world.
Changzhou (常州) was a part of the commandery (jun; a military district) of Kuaiji under the Qin (221–206 BCE) and Han(206 BCE–220 CE) dynasties and, after 129 CE, a part of Wu Commandery. It first became an independent administrative unit under the Xi (Western) Jin in 280–290 CE, when it became the seat of Biling Commandery, renamed Jinling Commandery in 304. It was given the name Chang prefecture (zhou) under the Sui dynasty (581–618) in 589.
After 609, with the completion of the southern section of the Grand Canal, it became a canal port and transshipment point for grain produced in the area. At the end of the Sui it was the centre of a rebel regime led by Li Zitong, suppressed in 621.
During the Five Dynasties (907–960) it formed part first of the Wu kingdom and then of the Nan (Southern) Tang, and it continued to prosper.
In Song (960–1279) and Yuan (1279–1368) times it was a rich and flourishing centre of commerce. After 1368 it was for a while renamed Changchun prefecture (fu), but it then became the superior prefecture of Changzhou, subordinated to the government of Nanjing.
In 1912 the prefecture was reduced to a county (xian) for some years and took the name Wujin, but it continued to be known colloquially as Changzhou. The city has thus retained the name for 14 centuries.
Changzhou’s traditional role has been that of a commercial centre, particularly a collecting centre for agricultural produce, which was shipped by canal to the north and, later, to Shanghai.
As Changzhou is noted for its combs, the city has reconstructed its Fine Comb Lane area with contemporary architecture. Changzhou combs can be purchased in most places in the city.
“The Ruins of Yancheng” (淹城遺址), comprise the remains of a walled city located in the Wujin district of Changzhou that was founded over 3000 years ago at the beginning of the Western Zhou dynasty. The earliest record of a settlement on the site of modern Changzhou is as a commandery founded in 221 bc at the beginning of the Qin Dynasty. During the interregnum between the Sui and Tang, the city of Piling (毗陵) was the capital of Shen Faxing’s short-lived Kingdom of Liang (ad 619 to 620). Changzhou got its present name meaning “ordinary prefecture” in 589. Following construction of the Grand Canal in 609, Changzhou became a canal port and transshipment point for locally-grown grain, and has maintained these roles ever since. The rural counties surrounding Changzhou are noted for the production of rice, fish, tea, silk, bamboo and fruit.
Top Things for Tourists to Do in Changzhou
With plenty of exciting things to see and do in Changzhou, then tourists visiting this city can look forward to having a memorable time here. From cultural attractions to historical sites that can never be found elsewhere in China, there are plenty of exciting things for tourists to see and do in Changzhou. Here are a couple of top things to do in Changzhou for tourists.
Tour the magnificent Tianning Temple – This Buddhist temple is one of its kind in the world, thanks to the fact that it has the world’s tallest wooden Pagoda which boasts 13 stories. This is a wonderful place to tour whilst spending your holiday in Changzhou or anywhere in Jiangsu province. Moreover, this temple epitomizes the ancient Tang Dynasty and thus has an impressive presence that is truly cherished by all visitors.
Visit the HingMei Park – this isn’t like any other park in Changzhou, thanks to the fact that it boasts several aspects that make it truly unique. First, it has a vast assortment of lakes more than any other lake in the world. Secondly, it has elegant pavilions and lush gardens that make it irresistible for visitors seeking for a solitary place to spend quality time either with themselves, or with their families. You can also visit this park and see live flamingos at the park’s flamingo, watch goldfish in transparent tubes and walk on the elevated walkway through the forest.
Relaxing at Dong Po Park – This stunningly beautiful park is named after the ancient Song Dynasty. It is a wonderful place to relax and unwind especially after those grueling week days. On one side of this wonderful park, there is a Grand Canal that is connected to smaller canals on the other side of the park, hence creating the impression of there being an island inside this park. More importantly, you can climb the arching bridge and get amazing views of boats running on the Grand Canal.
Explore the Town of Yancheng – For history lovers, this is ultimately a must-visit place in Changzhou. First, it is home to the remains of China’s old town, and it is perceived to be a mark of Chinese history that dates back three thousand years ago. A visit to this old town will treat you to the finest of Changzhou city, including three magnificent walls and the three moats preserved from the autumn and spring period.
Tour the China Dinosaur Park – if you love dinosaurs, or if you are interested in learning more about this huge, ancient creatures that reigned on the earth thousands of years ago, then this is ultimately a must-visit place upon coming to the city. The park features dinosaur fossils from all over the country. With a collection of over 5o dinosaur fossils, then it makes pretty of sense why the park is named dinosaur park.
Life in Changzhou for Expats
Changzhou has become one of the top 10 of China’s wealthiest cities, boasting prestigious universities, and planned industrial zones all of which makes it irresistible to foreign workers. Expats working and living in Changzhou can often share the same opportunties just like their counterparts who work and live in other bigger Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing.
Changzhou boasts an international look and a constant supply of global minds. Better still, the climate is comfortable and expats here have access to a wide array of international cuisines. But as wonderful as living and working in Changzhou can be for expats, living here can present a couple of challenges particularly due to the language barrier as well as the agony of living in a culture that is vastly different from what expats may be used to in their home country. Nevertheless, many foreigners can still live an enjoyable and rewarding life whilst working and living in Changzhou, provided you are adequately prepared for life in Changzhou.