KAIFENG (simplified Chinese : 开封; traditional Chinese : 開封),
known previously by several names, is a prefecture-level city in
China . It was once the capital of the Song
dynasty , and is one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of
There are currently nearly 5 million people living in its
metropolitan area. Located along the southern bank of the Yellow River
, it borders the provincial capital of
Zhengzhou to the west, Xinxiang
to the northwest,
Shangqiu to the east,
Zhoukou to the southeast,
Xuchang to the southwest, and
Shandong to the northeast.
* 1 Names
* 2 Administration
* 3 History
* 4 Climate
* 5 Transportation
* 5.1 Air
* 5.2 Rail
* 5.3 Coach
* 5.4 Light rail
* 5.5 Road transport
* 6 Culture
* 6.1 Religion
* 6.2 Cuisine
* 6.3 Chrysanthemums
* 7 Sporting events
* 7.1 Zheng-Kai International Marathon
* 8 Military
* 9 Gallery
* 10 International relations
* 10.1 Twin towns—Sister cities
* 11 Colleges and universities
* 11.1 Public
* 12 See also
* 13 References
* 14 Further reading
* 15 External links
The postal romanization for the city is "Kaifeng". Its official
one-character abbreviation in Chinese is 汴 (_Biàn_). Historically
it has also been known as
* _Dàliáng_ (Chinese : 大梁)
* _Biànliáng_ (Chinese : 汴梁)
* _Biànzhōu_ (Chinese : 汴州)
* _Nánjīng_ (Chinese : 南京)
* _Dōngjīng_ (Chinese : 東京)
* _Biànjīng_ (Chinese : 汴京)
The name "Kaifeng" first appeared as the area's name after the Qin 's
China in the second century BC and literally means "expand
the borders". Its name was originally Qifeng (啓封), but the
syllable _qi_ was changed to the essentially synonymous _kai_ to avoid
the naming taboo of Liu Qi (
Emperor Jing of Han ).
The prefecture-level city of
Kaifeng administers five districts and
four counties :
* Gulou District (鼓楼区)
Longting District (龙亭区)
Yuwangtai District (禹王台区)
Xiangfu District (祥符区)
Shunhe Hui District (顺河回族区)
Weishi County (尉氏县)
* Qi County (杞县)
Tongxu County (通许县)
Lankao County (兰考县)
LONGTING SHUNHE GULOU YUWANGTAI XIANGFU Qi
_ The famous painting Along the River During the Qingming
Festival _ is believed by some to portray life in
Kaifeng on Qingming
Festival . Several versions exist – the above is an 18th-century
recreation – of an original attributed to the 12th-century artist
Zhang Zeduan .
Kaifeng is one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of
China . As with
Beijing, there have been many reconstructions during its history.
In 364 BC during the
Warring States period , the State of Wei founded
a city called Daliang (大梁) as its capital in this area. During
this period, the first of many canals in the area was constructed
linking a local river to the
Yellow River . When the State of Wei was
conquered by the State of Qin ,
Kaifeng was destroyed and abandoned
except for a mid-sized market town, which remained in place.
Early in the 7th century,
Kaifeng was transformed into a major
commercial hub when it was connected to the Grand Canal as well as
through the construction of a canal running to western
In 781 during the
Tang dynasty , a new city was reconstructed and
named Bian (汴). Bian was the capital of the Later Jin (936–946),
Later Han (947–950), and
Later Zhou (951–960) of the Five
Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period . The
Song dynasty made Bian its
capital when it overthrew the
Later Zhou in 960. Shortly afterwards,
the city underwent further expansion.
During the Song, when it was known as Dongjing or Bianjing, Kaifeng
was the capital, with a population of over 400,000 living both inside
and outside the city wall.
Typhus was an acute problem in the city.
The historian Jacques Gernet provides a lively picture of life in this
period in his _Daily Life in
China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion,
1250-1276,_ which often draws on _
Dongjing Meng Hua Lu _, a nostalgic
memoir of the city of Kaifeng.
In 1049, the Youguosi Pagoda (佑國寺塔) – or
Iron Pagoda as it
is called today – was constructed measuring 54.7 metres (179 ft) in
height. It has survived the vicissitudes of war and floods to become
the oldest landmark in this ancient city. Another Song-dynasty pagoda,
Po Tower (zh), dating from 974, has been partially destroyed. _
Games in the Jinming Pool_, an early 12th-century painting depicting
Zhang Zeduan .
Another well-known sight was the astronomical clock tower of the
engineer, scientist, and statesman
Su Song (1020–1101 AD). It was
crowned with a rotating armillary sphere that was
hydraulically-powered (i.e. by water wheel and a water clock ), yet it
incorporated an escapement mechanism two hundred years before they
were found in the clockworks of
Europe and featured the first known
endless power-transmitting chain drive .
Kaifeng reached its peak importance in the 11th century when it was a
commercial and industrial center at the intersection of four major
canals. During this time, the city was surrounded by three rings of
city walls and probably had a population of between 600,000 and
700,000. It is believed that
Kaifeng was the largest city in the world
from 1013 to 1127.
This period ended in 1127 when the city fell to Jurchen invaders
Jingkang Incident . It subsequently came under the rule of
the Jurchen Jin dynasty , which had conquered most of North China
Jin–Song Wars . While it remained an important
administrative center, only the city area inside the inner city wall
of the early Song remained settled and the two outer rings were
One major problem associated with
Kaifeng as the imperial capital of
the Song was its location. While it was conveniently situated along
the Grand Canal for logistic supply,
Kaifeng was militarily vulnerable
due to its position on the floodplains of the
Yellow River .
Kaifeng served as the Jurchen "southern capital" from 1157 (other
sources say 1161) and was reconstructed during this time. The Jurchen
kept their main capital further north until 1214 when they were forced
to move the imperial court southwards to
Kaifeng in order to flee from
the onslaught of the
Mongols . In 1232 they succumbed to the combined
Mongol and Song forces in the
Mongol siege of Kaifeng . The Mongols
captured the city, and in 1279 they conquered all of
China . East
Market Street, Kaifeng, 1910. The synagogue of the
Kaifeng Jews lay
beyond the row of stores on the right
At the beginning of the
Ming dynasty in 1368,
Kaifeng was made the
Kaifeng was flooded by the Ming army with water from the
Yellow River to prevent the peasant rebel
Li Zicheng from taking over.
After this disaster, the city was abandoned again.
In 1662, during the reign of the
Kangxi Emperor in the
Qing dynasty ,
Kaifeng was rebuilt. However, further flooding occurred in 1841
followed by another reconstruction in 1843, which produced the
Kaifeng as it stands today.
Kaifeng is also known for having the oldest extant Jewish community
China , the
Kaifeng Jews .
In 1969, the former President of the People\'s Republic of
Liu Shaoqi , died from medical neglect while under house arrest in
Kaifeng has a monsoon -influenced humid subtropical climate (Köppen
_Cwa_) that borders on a humid continental climate, with four distinct
seasons. Winters are cool and mostly dry while summers are hot and
humid; spring is warm and sees some, but not much rainfall, while
autumn weather is crisp and drier.
Precipitation mainly occurs from
June to September.
CLIMATE DATA FOR KAIFENG (1971−2000)
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS (≥ 0.1 MM)
Source: Weather China
Kaifeng is about 55 km (34 mi) away from
International Airport – which has domestic connections to more than
China Eastern and
China Southern Airlines also provide some
international connections directly from Zhengzhou.
Kaifeng Railway Station is on the East-West
Longhai Railway mainline
and provides convenient access to many cities around China, including
Beijing West , Shanghai , Shanghai Hongqiao , Tianjin , Xi'an, Jinan,
Hangzhou . Services to
Qingdao are also
frequent and convenient. Direct long distance services to Shenzhen ,
Guangzhou , Chengdu , Chongqing North , Harbin , Ürümqi , Fuzhou ,
Dalian and Wuhan are also available.
Kaifeng North Railway Station of
Zhengzhou–Xuzhou High-Speed Railway started operation on 10
There are 4 main coach stations in Kaifeng:
Kaifeng West Coach Station (开封客运西站)
Kaifeng Long-Distance Coach Station (开封长途汽车站)
Kaifeng Jinming Coach Station (开封金明汽车站)
Kaifeng Xiangguosi Coach Station (开封相国寺汽车站)
There are frequent services to many neighbouring counties, other
provincial cities and longer-distance services to other provinces.
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The Zhengkai Intercity Railway (郑开城际铁路), also popularly
known as the
Kaifeng Light Rail (郑开轻轨) started
operating in 2014. The total length of the railway is 50.3 km (31.3
mi), connecting the provincial capital
Zhengzhou and Kaifeng, with a
projected future extension to a total of 57.4 km (35.7 mi). The
initial phase of the project has 5 stations in total constructed along
the track, of which 3 are within the city boundary of
Zhengzhou and 2
within the city boundary of Kaifeng. It is double tracked, with a
designed top speed capability of 200 km/h (120 mph). It is currently
scheduled to provide an initial service frequency of about 4tph with
projected increase according to actual demand. Total journey time is
not more than 30 minutes.
China National Highway 220
Kaifeng is known for having the oldest extant Jewish community in
Kaifeng Jews . One of Kaifeng's many women\'s mosques
It also has a significant
Muslim enclave and is notable for its many
women\'s mosques (_nǚsì_), including the oldest _nǚsì_ in China:
Wangjia Hutong Women's Mosque, which dates to 1820.
There are also some active christian churchs, like Sacred-Heart of
Kaifang cathedral (开封耶稣圣心主教座堂).
Kaifeng cuisine plays a dominant part in forming
Henan cuisine .
Kaifeng offers a wide range of food specialities such as steaming pie
and dumplings. In the evening, Kaifeng's streets turn into restaurants
while hundreds open their stands and begin selling their food in the
famous night market . Often people from the nearby
Zhengzhou come to
Kaifeng to spend an evening with their family, as the atmosphere is
very appealing. Particularly famous is Kaifeng's five-spice bread
(_wǔxiāng shāobǐng_), which, like pita , can be opened and filled.
The Ma Yu Ching\'s Bucket Chicken House (Chinese: 马豫兴桶子鸡;
pinyin: Mǎ Yùxīng Tǒngzi Jī), located in Kaifeng, China, is by
some accounts the world's oldest restaurant.
The chrysanthemum is the city flower of Kaifeng. The tradition of
cultivating different varieties of chrysanthemums stretches all the
way back 1600 years, and the scale reached a phenomenal level during
Song dynasty until its loss to the Jürchens in 1126.
The city has held the
Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival since
Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival in 1994).
The festival has been a yearly feature since, taking place between 18
October and 18 November every year.
The festival reached another milestone in 2012, when it celebrated
the 30th birthday. The opening ceremony was broadcast live on Henan
Satellite TV Channel (HNTV) at the evening prime slot on 18 October
2012, which has a coverage of all Chinese cities of or above the
prefecture-level classification in the Chinese administrative division
During the festival, chrysanthemums of hundred different types will
not only be on show in all festival venues, but they become common
features all around the city itself -
Kaifeng truly becomes the "city
ZHENG-KAI INTERNATIONAL MARATHON
China Zheng-Kai International Marathon
(中国郑开国际马拉松赛, _Zheng-Kai_ stands for "Zhengzhou
-Kaifeng", also abbreviated "ZK") is a sporting event hosted jointly
Chinese Athletic Association , the general sport administration
Zhengzhou municipal government, and the Kaifeng
municipal government. It is the premier international sports
Henan province and one of the biggest sports
competitions in the Central-West of China. ZK International Marathon
is held at the end of March or beginning of April each year. The main
part of the event occurs along the famous Zhengkai Express Way
(郑开大道). At its launch in 2007, 5600 athletes competed. By
2012, almost 25000 athletes from 28 countries and regions have
participated in the ZK International Marathon.
Kaifeng is headquarters of the 20th Group Army of the People\'s
Liberation Army , one of the three group armies that comprise the
Jinan Military Region responsible for defence of the Yellow River
Kaifeng Air Base is a military airfield in the southern suburb of
Kaifeng City. It does not provide civilian aviation service.
Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden
Entrance to the
Reconstructed city gate (inner) of Bianjing
Daxiangguo Temple's drum tower
Daliang City Gate
Imperial Street of the Song Dynasty
Imperial Street of the Song Dynasty
Imperial Street of the Song Dynasty
Main article: List of twin towns and sister cities in
TWIN TOWNS—SISTER CITIES
Kaifeng is twinned with:
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Henan University (河南大学) (founded 1912)
Kaifeng University (开封大学) (founded 1980)
Kaifeng Institute of Education (开封教育学院)
Yellow River Conservancy Technical Institute
(黄河水利职业技术学院) (founded 1929)
* Historical capitals of
Yellow River flood
* ^ _Zhongguo Gujin Diming Dacidian_ 中国古今地名大词典,
2005. (Shanghai: _Shanghai Cishu Chubanshe_), 348. (in Chinese)
* ^ Jacques Gernet. _Daily Life in
China on the Eve of the Mongol
Invasion, 1250-1276._ (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962).
Translated by H. M. Wright. ISBN 0804707200 .
* ^ "Largest Cities Through History". Retrieved November 6, 2010.
* ^ Lorge, Peter (2005). _War, Politics and Society in Early Modern
China, 900–1795_. Routledge. pp. 52–54. ISBN 978-0-203-96929-8 .
* ^ "The Eastern Manchurian Woodsmen Replacing the Western
Manchurian Nomads" (PDF). Retrieved November 6, 2010.
* ^ _A_ _B_ NPR
* ^ "豫菜成大器 任重而道远". Retrieved October 28, 2012.
* ^ "
Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival". Retrieved
October 28, 2012.
* Cotterell, Arthur. (2007). _The Imperial Capitals of China: An
Inside View of the Celestial Empire_. London: Pimlico. pp. 304 pages.
ISBN 978-1-84595-009-5 .
* _The Origin of the
Kaifeng Jews_, in S. Shaked, ed.,
_Irano-Judaica_, Jerusalem, 1982, pp. 101–11
Wikimedia Commons has media related to KAIFENG _.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for KAIFENG _.
* Government website of
Kaifeng (in Simplified Chinese)
Portal (in Simplified Chinese)
* Notes on the Jewish colony at
Kaifeng from the Papers of Charles
Chang\'an CAPITAL OF CHINA (AS KAIFENG)
960−1127 Succeeded by