The name “Anhui” derives from the names of two cities: Anqing and Huizhou. The abbreviation for Anhui is “Chinese: 皖” after the historical State of Wan, Mount Wan, and the Wan river.
It is one of the country’s smallest provinces. The Yellow Mountains or Huangshan by the Yangzte River are beloved by poets and artists for their massive shapes and lush vegetation; the mountains have become one of the most popular tourist destinations in China.
There are many historic sites found in the province from the period of the Xia dynasty (2100 B.C.) to the Warring Kingdoms (475–221 B.C.).
Anhui is quite diverse topographically. The north of the province is part of the North China Plain while the north-central areas are part of the Huai River watershed. Both of these regions are very flat and densely populated.
The original vegetation was forest and woodland, but centuries of intensive settlement have deforested the terrain everywhere except in the western and southern uplands.
Anhui has been renowned for its tea since the 7th century, when teas were exported to the rest of China as well as abroad.
In addition to the beautiful mountain scenery, the well-preserved ancient villages in the southern part are derived from the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1911). The most impressive ones are in Xidi and Hongcun Ancient Villages in Yixian County near Mount Huangshan. It is really a sight worth seeing and a must for visitors who are keen to learn more about life during those years. Shexian County, reputed as Town of Arches, is also a must for each visitor who wants to experience fine examples of residential architecture from the Ming and Qing Dynasties and the unique Tangyue Memorial Archway.
The Anhui region was one of the earliest areas in the Yangtze basin to be settled by Sinitic peoples. Many of the current linguistic and cultural traits of the region were shaped during the Nan (Southern) Song period (1127–1279), particularly the characteristic conservatism of language and art forms.
Huangmei tone originated as a form of rural folksong and dance that has been in existence for the last 200 years and possibly longer. Huangmei opera is one of the most famous and mainstream opera in China (others are Beijing opera, Yue opera, Pin opera and Yu opera). The original Huangmei opera was sung by women when they were picking tea, and the opera was called the Picking Tea Song.
Throughout the centuries, waterways have been the main means of regional communication. Water-conservation schemes increased the navigability of rivers and canals, and traffic on them is heavy.
The capital Hefei stands at the centre of the province’s highway system, with main roads running to Nanjing, Bengbu, and Wuhan. Air travel is also focused on Hefei, and there are airports in several other cities, including Anqing and Huangshan.
Edited by staff