Kaifeng (simplified Chinese: 开封; traditional Chinese: 開封), known previously by several names, is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, China. It is one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of China, for being the capital seven times in history, and is most famous for being the capital of China in the Northern Song dynasty.
There are currently about 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 Heze of Shandong to the northeast.
Location of Kaifeng City jurisdiction in Henan
Location in China
|Coordinates (Kaifeng government): Coordinates:|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|• Prefecture-level city||6,247 km2 (2,412 sq mi)|
|• Urban||546.4 km2 (211.0 sq mi)|
|• Metro||546.4 km2 (211.0 sq mi)|
|Elevation||75 m (245 ft)|
|• Prefecture-level city||4,676,159|
|• Density||750/km2 (1,900/sq mi)|
|• Urban density||1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (China Standard)|
|ISO 3166 code||CN-HA-02|
|GDP||¥7,250 per capita (2004)|
|Major Nationalities||Han, Hui|
|License plate prefixes||豫B|
"Kaifeng" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
|Literal meaning||"Open Seal"|
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
The name "Kaifeng" first appeared as the area's name after the Qin's conquest of China in the second century BC and literally means "expand the borders" and figuratively "hidden" and "vengeance". Its name was originally Qifeng (simplified Chinese: 啓封; traditional Chinese: 啟封), but the syllable qi (Baxter-Sagart: /*kʰˤijʔ/) was changed to the essentially synonymous kai （/*Nə-[k]ʰˤəj/, /*[k]ʰˤəj/） to avoid the naming taboo of Liu Qi (Emperor Jing of Han).
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.
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, dating from 974, has been partially destroyed.
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 during the Jingkang Incident. It subsequently came under the rule of the Jurchen Jin dynasty, which had conquered most of North China during the 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 abandoned.
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.
At the beginning of the Ming dynasty in 1368, Kaifeng was made the capital of Henan province.
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 contemporary Kaifeng as it stands today.
On 6 June 1938, the city was occupied by the invading Japanese Imperial Army.
Kaifeng remained the capital of Henan province until 1954, when it was moved to Zhengzhou.
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.
Downtown Kaifeng is about 55 km (34 mi) away from Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (IATA: CGO, ICAO: ZHCC), which is the busiest airport in central China in terms of both passenger and cargo traffic (2017 statistics).
With the completion of Zhengzhou–Kaifeng intercity railway and Zhengzhou–Xinzheng Airport intercity railway, fast train connections to Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport from Kaifeng became available. As of August 2018, there are 12 pairs of intercity trains running between Xinzheng Airport and Songchenglu every day, with a travel time of 53 min.
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 Zhengzhou, Luoyang and 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.
The Zhengzhou–Kaifeng intercity railway (郑开城际铁路) started operation on 28 December 2014, connecting the provincial capital Zhengzhou and Kaifeng. The railway currently terminates at Songchenglu, and is planned to be extended to Kaifeng railway station. The designed top speed is 200 km/h (120 mph).
There are 4 main coach stations in Kaifeng:
There are frequent services to many neighbouring counties, other provincial cities and longer-distance services to other provinces.
Kaifeng is known for having the oldest extant Jewish community in China, the Kaifeng Jews.
There are also some active Christian churches, like Sacred-Heart of Kaifang cathedral (开封耶稣圣心主教座堂).
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 (马豫兴桶子鸡;; Mǎ Yùxīng Tǒngzi Jī), located in Kaifeng, 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 the Song dynasty until its loss to the Jürchens in 1126.
The city has held the Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival since 1983 (renamed China Kaifeng 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 of chrysanthemums".
The 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 by the Chinese Athletic Association, the general sport administration of Henan province, Zhengzhou municipal government, and the Kaifeng municipal government. It is the premier international sports competition in 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 Plain.
Kaifeng Air Base is a military airfield in the southern suburb of Kaifeng City. It does not provide civilian aviation service.
Kaifeng is twinned with:
| Capital of China (as Kaifeng)
Cai Yong (132–192), courtesy name Bojie, was an official and scholar of the Eastern Han dynasty. He was well-versed in calligraphy, music, mathematics and astronomy. One of his daughters, Cai Yan / Cai Wenji, was also a famous poet and musician.Daxiangguo Temple
Daxiangguo Temple (simplified Chinese: 大相国寺; traditional Chinese: 大相國寺） is a famous Chinese Buddhist Temple in Kaifeng in eastern Henan province, People's Republic of China.Gao Gan
Gao Gan (pronunciation ) (died 206), courtesy name Yuancai, was a minor warlord who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He was a maternal nephew and subordinate of the warlord Yuan Shao.Gao Qiu
Gao Qiu (died 1126) was a government official who lived during the Song dynasty of China and served in the court of Emperor Huizong. In the classical novel Water Margin, he is fictionalised as one of the primary antagonists and a nemesis of the protagonists, the 108 Stars of Destiny.Gao Rou
Gao Rou (174 – October or November 263), courtesy name Wenhui, was an official of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was a younger relative of Gao Gan. He previously served under the warlords Yuan Shao and Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty.Gulou District, Kaifeng
Gulou District (simplified Chinese: 鼓楼区; traditional Chinese: 鼓樓區; pinyin: Gǔlóu Qū; literally: 'drumtower district') is a district of the city of Kaifeng, Henan province, China.Henan University
Henan University (simplified Chinese: 河南大学; traditional Chinese: 河南大學; pinyin: Hénán Dàxué) is one of the oldest public and key universities in China. It was founded in 1912. In the beginning, its name was the Preparatory School for Further Study in Europe and America. In 1942, its name was changed to National Henan University. After the People's republic of China was founded, the name Henan University was restored in 1984.
Henan University is a comprehensive university with 12 branches of learning: agriculture, economics, education, engineering, history, law, liberal arts, management, medicine, philosophy and science. In 2016,the University was selected in the Plan 111, a key project initiated by the Chinese Ministry of Education. In 2017, The Chinese Ministry of Education has granted it Double First Class status in biology.
By the end of 2018, Henan University has 3 campuses. Two campuses(Minglun and JinMing campus) are located in Kaifeng, a famous historic city which was the capital of China during seven different dynasties. The other(Longzi Lake campus) is located in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province and one of the National Central Cities in China. All the campus covering a total area of 2,200,000 square meters with a room space of 1,470,000 square meters. More than 50,000 students receiving a full-time education here, including 10,000 postgraduates and nearly 500 overseas students. Henan University is one of the biggest public universities in the People's republic of China.History of the Jews in China
Jews and Judaism in China are predominantly composed of Sephardi Jews and their descendants. Other Jewish ethnic divisions are also represented, including Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews and a number of converts.
The Jewish Chinese community manifests a wide range of Jewish cultural traditions, and it also encompasses the full spectrum of Jewish religious observance. Though a small minority, Chinese Jews have had an open presence in the country since the arrival of the first Jewish immigrants during the 8th century CE. Relatively isolated communities of Jews developed through the Tang and Song Dynasties (7th to 13th centuries CE) all the way through the Qing Dynasty (19th century), most notably the Kaifeng Jews (the term "Chinese Jews" is often used in a restricted sense in order to refer to these communities).
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jewish merchants from around the world began to trade in Chinese ports, particularly in the commercial centres of Hong Kong, which was for a time a British colony; Shanghai (the International Settlement and French Concession); and Harbin (the Trans-Siberian Railway). In the first half of the 20th century, thousands of Jewish refugees escaping from the 1917 Russian Revolution arrived in China. By the time of the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, only a few Chinese Jews were known to have maintained the practice of their religion and culture though the Kaifeng synagogue survived for around seven centuries until 1860. China's Jewish communities have been ethnically diverse ranging from the Jews of Kaifeng and other places during the history of Imperial China, who, it is reported, came to be more or less totally assimilated into the majority Han Chinese populace due to widespread intermarriage. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, some international Jewish groups have helped Chinese Jews rediscover their Jewish heritage and reconnect with their Jewish roots.Kaifeng Air Base
Kaifeng Air Base is a People's Liberation Army Air Force Base, located about 1 mile southeast of Kaifeng (Henan Province) in the People’s Republic of China.Kaifeng Jews
The Kaifeng Jews are members of a small Jewish community in Kaifeng, in the Henan province of China, who have integrated into Chinese society, while preserving some Jewish traditions and customs. Their origin and time of arrival in Kaifeng are a matter of debate among experts.Kaifeng North railway station
The Kaifeng North railway station (Chinese: 开封北站) is a railway station of Xuzhou–Lanzhou high-speed railway in Kaifeng, Henan, China. The station started operation on 10 September 2016, together with the Zhengzhou-Xuzhou section of the railway.
The station building was designed to resemble the architecture style of the Northern Song Dynasty, during which Kaifeng was the capital of China.Kaifeng railway station
Kaifeng railway station (Chinese: 开封站) is a station on Longhai railway in Kaifeng, Henan.Kong Zhou
Kong Zhou (died c. 190), courtesy name Gongxu, was an official and minor warlord who lived during the Eastern Han dynasty of China.Lankao County
Lankao County (simplified Chinese: 兰考县; traditional Chinese: 蘭考縣; pinyin: Lánkǎo Xiàn) is a county of Kaifeng, Henan, China. It has an area of 1,116 km2 (431 sq mi) and a population of 760,000.It was the site of the Battle of Lanfeng during the Second Sino-Japanese War.Mongol siege of Kaifeng
In the Mongol siege of Kaifeng from 1232 to 1233, the Mongol Empire captured Kaifeng, the capital of the Jurchen Jin dynasty. The Mongols and Jurchens had been at war for nearly two decades, beginning in 1211 after the Jurchens refused the Mongol offer to submit as a vassal. Ögedei Khan sent two armies to besiege Kaifeng, one led by himself, and the other by his brother Tolui. Command of the forces, once they converged into a single army, was given to Subutai who led the siege. The Mongols arrived at the walls of Kaifeng on April 8, 1232.
The siege deprived the city of resources, and its residents were beset with famine and disease. Jurchen soldiers defended the city with fire lances and bombs of gunpowder, killing many Mongols and severely injuring others. The Jurchens tried to arrange a peace treaty, but the assassination of a Mongol diplomat foiled their efforts. Emperor Aizong, the Jurchen emperor, fled the city for the town of Caizhou. The city was placed under the command of General Cui Li, who executed the emperor's loyalists and promptly surrendered to the Mongols. The Mongols captured Kaifeng on February 26, 1233, and looted the city. The dynasty fell two years later after the suicide of Aizong and the capture of Caizhou in 1234.Qi County, Kaifeng
Qi County or Qixian (simplified Chinese: 杞县; traditional Chinese: 杞縣; pinyin: Qǐ Xiàn) is a county of Kaifeng, Henan, People's Republic of China, with an area of 1243 square km and a population of 1.05 million.Xiangfu District
Xiangfu District (Chinese: 祥符区; pinyin: Xiángfú Qū), formerly Kaifeng County, is a district of the city of Kaifeng, Henan, China.Youguo Temple
Youguo Temple (Chinese: 佑國寺) is a Buddhist monastery complex located northeast of Kaifeng, in Henan province, China. It was built during the Song dynasty (960–1279 CE). The design features the Iron Pagoda towering in the center of the complex, in a style that flourished in Chinese Buddhist temple architecture through the 11th century.Zhengzhou–Kaifeng intercity railway
Zhengzhou–Kaifeng intercity railway, abbreviated as the Zhengkai intercity railway, is a higher-speed intercity railway in Henan, China, connecting Zhengzhou and Kaifeng. It is part of the larger Central Plain Metropolitan Intercity Rail network. Construction commenced on December 29, 2009. With a designed top speed of 160 km/h, it is built as a double tracked electrified passenger dedicated line. Total length of this project is 50.33 kilometers, costing an estimated 5.5 billion yuan to construct.
The Zhengzhou East - Songchenglu section commenced operation on 28 December 2014. The phase II project (Songchenglu - Kaifeng section) is under construction.
|Climate data for Kaifeng (1971−2000)|
|Record high °C (°F)||19.2
|Average high °C (°F)||5.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.0
|Average low °C (°F)||−4.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−15
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||8.1
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||2.9||3.9||5.9||6.2||6.8||7.8||11.3||9.0||7.6||6.6||4.5||3.0||75.5|
|Source: Weather China|
Major cities along the Yellow River
Cities (from upper reaches to lower reaches)
Major cities along the Pearl River · Major cities along the Yangtze River