Shenyang ([ʂə̀n.jǎŋ]; Chinese: 沈阳), formerly known by its Manchu name Mukden or Fengtian (Chinese: 奉天; pinyin: Fèngtiān), is the provincial capital and the largest city of Liaoning Province, People's Republic of China, as well as the largest city in Northeast China by urban population. According to the 2010 census, the city's urban area has 6.3 million inhabitants, while the total population of the Shenyang municipality, which holds the administrative status of a sub-provincial city, is up to 8.1 million. Shenyang's city region includes the ten metropolitan districts of Shenyang proper, the county-level city of Xinmin, and two counties of Kangping and Faku.
Along with its nearby cities, Shenyang is an important industrial center in China, and serves as the transportation and commercial hub of China's northeast — particularly with Japan, Russia and Korea. A center of heavy industry in China since the 1930s, and the spearhead of the Chinese central government's Northeast Area Revitalization Plan, the city has been diversifying its industry.
The city's name, Shenyang, literally means "the Yang side of the Shen River", referring to the fact that the Hun River, formerly called the Shen River (瀋水; Shěn Shuǐ), is at the south side of the city. According to Chinese tradition, a river's north bank and a mountain's south slope are considered to be the "sunny" – or "Yang" – side.
Archaeological findings show that humans resided in present-day Shenyang as early as 8,000 years ago. The remains of the Xinle culture, a late neolithic period society over 6,800–7,200 years old, are located in a museum in the north part of Huanggu District. It is complemented by a recreated village on site. A wood-sculptured bird unearthed there is the earliest cultural relic in Shenyang, as well as one of oldest wood sculptures found anywhere in the world.
The city now known as Shenyang was first established in about 300 BCE during the Warring States period by Yan general Qin Kai, who conquered the Liaodong region, and was then named Hou City (侯城; Hóu Chéng). However, around 350 years later during the reign of Emperor Guangwu of Han, the city was sacked and burnt by the Donghu nomads and subsequently abandoned. It came back to prominence during early Liao dynasty and was known as the Shen Prefecture (瀋州; Shěn Zhōu) through to the end of Jin dynasty, and became the Shenyang Circuit (瀋陽路; Shěnyáng Lù) during the Yuan dynasty. During the Ming dynasty, it was designated as a "guard town" (militarized settlements, such as walled/heavily garrisoned cities or towns) named Shenyang Central Guard (瀋陽中衛; Shěnyáng Zhōngwèi) and gradually became one of the most important strongholds beyond the Shanhai Pass.
In 1625, the Manchu leader Nurhaci captured Shenyang and decided to relocate his entire administrative infrastructures to the city, or Simiyan hoton (Manchu: ᠰᡳᠮᡳᠶᠠᠨ
ᡥᠣᡨᠣᠨ) as it is called in Manchu language. The official name was changed to Shengjing (盛京; Shèng Jīng; "rising capital"), or Mukden (Manchu: ᠮᡠᡴ᠋ᡩᡝᠨ), in 1634. The new name derives from the Manchu word, mukdembi (Manchu: ᠮᡠᡴ᠋ᡩᡝᠮᠪᡳ), meaning "to rise" as reflected also by its Han Chinese name. Under Nurhaci's orders, the Imperial Palace was constructed in 1626, symbolizing the city's emerging status as the Jurchen political center. The palace featured more than 300 ostentatiously decorated rooms and 20 gardens as a symbol of power and grandeur.
After the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644 and the routing of the Shun army in the Battle of Shanhai Pass merely a day later, the Manchus successfully entered the Shanhai Pass to establish the Qing dynasty in China proper, with the capital relocated to Beijing. However, Shenyang retained considerable importance as the secondary capital and the spiritual home of the Qing dynasty through the centuries. Treasures of the royal house were kept at its palaces, and the tombs of the early Qing rulers were once among the most famous monuments in China. In 1657, Fengtian Prefecture (奉天府; Fèngtiān Fŭ; Manchu: ᠠᠪᡴᠠᡳ
ᡶᡠ; Möllendorff: abkai imiyangga fu; Abkai: abkai imiyangga fu or Manchu: ᡶᡠᠩ ᡨᡳᠶᠠᠨ; Möllendorff: fung tiyian; Abkai: fung tiyian) was established in the Shenyang area, and Fengtian (literally: "mandated by Heaven") was sometimes used synonymously with Shenyang/Mukden.
After the First Sino-Japanese War, Japan coerced the annexation of the Liaodong Peninsula with the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, though was forced to give it up due to diplomatic pressure from the Triple Intervention. In the aftermath of the Japanese threat, Qing viceroy Li Hongzhang visited Moscow in 1896 and signed a secret treaty with Russian foreign minister Aleksey Lobanov-Rostovsky, allowing Imperial Russia to build a Russian gauge railway in Manchuria, which opened the door towards further Russian expansionism in the form of another lease convention in 1898, effectively allowing Russia to annex Northeast China in all but name. However, after the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, Russian forces used the anti-foreigner insurgency as a pretext to formally invade and occupied most of Manchuria, and Mukden became a Russian stronghold in the Far East with the building of the South Manchurian Railway.
During the Russo-Japanese War (1904—1905), Mukden was the site of the Battle of Mukden from February 19 to March 10, 1905. Involving more than 600,000 combat participants, it was the largest battle since the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, and also the largest modern-era battle ever fought in Asia before World War II. Following the Japanese victory, Mukden became one of the chief bases of Japanese presence and economic expansion into southern Manchuria. It also became the government seat of Fengtian province in 1910.
In 1914, the city changed back to its old name Shenyang, but continued to be known as Mukden (sometimes spelled Moukden) in some English sources and in Japan through much of the first half of 20th century. The postmark of the Chinese postal administration kept the spelling "MOUKDEN/奉天" for usage on international mails until the late 1920s. After that, a Chinese–Manchurian bilingual type "SHENYANG (MUKDEN)/瀋陽 (奉天)" datestamp was used until 1933.
In the early 20th century, Shenyang began expanding out of its old city walls. The Shenyang Railway Station on the South Manchurian Railway and the Shenyang North Railway Station on the Jingfeng Railway, both west of the old city, became the new commercial centers of Shenyang. In the 1920s, Mukden was the capital of the warlord Zhang Zuolin, who was later assassinated when his train was blown up on June 4, 1928 at a Japanese-guarded railway bridge. At the time, several factories were built by Zhang to manufacture ammunition in the northern and eastern suburbs. These factories laid the foundation for Shenyang's industrial development.
At around 10:20 pm on September 18, 1931, a small quantity of dynamite was detonated close to a railway line near Mukden owned by the Japanese South Manchuria Railway Company by Kwantung Army Lt. Kawamoto Suemori. The Imperial Japanese Army, accusing Chinese dissidents of the act, then use the false flag explosion as pretext to launch a full attack on Mukden, and captured the city the following morning (September 19). After the Mukden Incident, the Japanese further invaded and occupied the rest of Northeast China, and created the puppet state of Manchukuo with the deposed emperor Aisin Gioro Puyi as the figurehead. During the Manchukuo era (1932–1945), the city was again called Fengtian (and Mukden in English), and was developed by the Japanese into a center of heavy industry. Japan was able to exploit resources in Manchuria using the extensive network of railroads. For example, vast expanses of Manchurian forest were chopped down. The development of Shenyang was also unbalanced in this period; municipal facilities were mostly located in Japanese residential areas, while Chinese residential areas had poor living conditions.
Under Marshal of the Soviet Union Aleksandr Vasilevsky, the Far East Command of Soviet forces entered Manchuria in early August 1945 following the surrender of Japan. On 16 August 1945, Manchurian Emperor Puyi was captured in Shenyang Airport by the Soviet Red Army while he was in an airplane fleeing to Japan. On 20 August, Soviet troops captured Shenyang. British and US reports indicate that the Soviet troops that occupied Northeast China and Eastern Inner Mongolia region looted and terrorized the people of Shenyang, and were not discouraged by Soviet authorities from "three days of rape and pillage". The Soviets were replaced by the Nationalist Chinese, who were flown in on U.S. transport planes. During the Chinese Civil War, Shenyang remained a Kuomintang stronghold from 1946 to 1948, although the Chinese communists controlled the surrounding countryside. It was captured by the communists on October 30, 1948, following a series of offensives known as the Liaoshen Campaign.
Over the past 200 years or so, Shenyang has somehow managed to grow and increase its industrial might, despite consecutive wars with Russia and Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Second World War, and China's Civil War (Shenyang became the main battleground between the Communists and Nationalists). The city never came to an economic halt until the 1990s, when its massive factories went bankrupt and left millions jobless, which was well documented in the film Tie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks.
Situated roughly within the area bounded by the four "Shuncheng" (顺城; "along the city walls") roads/streets in Shenhe District, the (now-demolished) square-shaped inner city wall marked the bounds of ancient Shenyang. The earliest wall was built in 926 during early Liao dynasty to settle Northern Song civilians the Khitans abducted from raids to use as slave labourers, and was then made of rammed earth because the city was merely a small settlement at the time (historically the administrative center of the Liaodong region was at Liaoyang). However, in 1368, Hongwu Emperor of the newly founded Ming dynasty ordered a new regional military command — the Liaodong Regional Military Commission (遼東都指揮使司) — to be established, and Shenyang was made a prominent regional "guard town" (衛所). In 1388, Min Zhong (閔忠), the newly appointed city commissioner of the Shenyang Central Guard, wrote to Hongwu Emperor immediately upon his tenure requesting permission to upgrade the city wall, and the old wall was made taller and thoroughly reinforced with overlaid bricks. According to History of Ming, the reconstructed Ming-era wall was 2.5 zhàngs (8 metres or 26 feet) tall, more than 1 zhàng (3.2 metres or 10.5 feet) wide at the top, and 9 lis and 30 bus (about 5.2 kilometres or 3.2 miles) long. It has two layers of moats dug outside, each being 3 zhàngs (9.6 metres or 31.5 feet) wide and 8 chis (2.56 metres or 8 feet 4.8 inches) deep, fed with water from Shen River. There were four city gates, each at the center of one side, connected by two main roads that intersected at Central Temple of the city's center in a "+" fashion.
This Ming wall was heavily damaged in 1625 after the Manchu laid siege and captured the city, with only the north wall and gate (which had undergone reinforcing reconstructions in 1545 under the orders of Jiajing Emperor) remained intact. The Manchu leader Nurhachi however saw the strategic value of the city, and decided to formally relocate his Later Jin capital from Liaoyang to Shenyang, and ordered the city wall to be rebuilt. According to Annals of Mukden (盛京通志), the new city wall was a standard black brick wall standing at a height of 3.5 zhàngs (about 12.5 metres or 41.0 feet), a width of 1.8 zhàngs (about 6.4 metres or 21.0 feet) and a total length of 9 lis and 332 bus (about 6.4 kilometres or 4.0 miles) long, complete with 12 towers (8 gate and 4 corner) and a 14.5 zhàngs (about 52-metre or 171-foot) wide moat. The city gates were increased from four to eight, though the old Ming-era north gate and tower was preserved but sealed shut, later known as the "Ninth Gate" (九門).
The outer city wall, called the "peripheral wall" (邊牆; Biān Qiáng) or "pass wall" (關牆; Guān Qiáng), was actually a rammed earth rampart built in 1680 to expand the urban area outside the inner city. It was almost round in shape, standing at a height of 7.5 chis (around 2.7 metres or 8 feet 10.3 inches) and an overall length of 32 lis and 24 bus (about 20.7 kilometres or 12.9 miles), and also had eight gates known as the "peripheral gates" (邊門; Biān Mén). The corresponding inner and outer gates were linked by roads that intersected within the inner city in a "#" pattern around the Mukden Palace.
Nearly all of these city walls and gates were demolished after 1949. Two gates and one corner tower of the inner wall were rebuilt during the 1990s. There had, however, been proposals to rebuild the other gates and towers in preparation to the 12th National Games in 2013.
Around 2.5 km (1.6 mi) outside Shenyang's former outer wall, there were four pagodas each located within an associated Tibetan buddhist temple, namely the East Pagoda in Yongguang Temple (永光寺), the South Pagoda in Guangci Temple (廣慈寺), the West Pagoda in Yanshou Temple (延壽寺) and the North Pagoda in Falun Temple (法輪寺). They were built in 1643 and completed in 1645. The four pagodas are identical white Buddha-stupas as tall as 26 m (85 ft). Nowadays only the temple for the North Pagoda is well preserved, the East and South has only the pagodas left, and the temple for the West Pagoda was rebuilt in 1998.
Shenyang ranges in latitude from 41° 11' to 43° 02' N and in longitude from 122° 25' to 123° 48' E, and is located in the central part of Liaoning Province. The western parts of the city's administrative area are located on the alluvial plain of the Liao River system, while the eastern part consists of the hinterlands of the Changbai Mountains, and is covered with forests. The highest point in Shenyang is 414 m (1,358 ft) above sea level and the lowest point only 7 m (23 ft). The average elevation of the urban area is 45 m (148 ft).
The city's main urban area is located to the north of Hun River, formerly the largest tributary of the Liao River proper and often locally referred as the city's "mother river". The central urban area is surrounded by three artificial rivers — respectively the South Canal (南運河) from the south and southeast, the Xinkai River (新開河, formerly the North Canal) from the north and northeast, and the Weigong River (衛工河, formerly the Weigong Nullah) from the west, all interconnected by channels as a continuous waterway. The South Canal in particular, famous for the series of linear parks and gardens along it, was constructed upon the old course of the Wanquan River (萬泉河; "ten thousand springs river"), historically also called the Little Shen River (小瀋水) or Wuli River (五里河; "five-li river"), which was a principal water source for the old city. These are reinforced on the peripheries by smaller rivers such as Xi River (細河), Puhe River (蒲河) and Mantang River (满堂河), and drains into the Hun River at three different locations on the southeast, due south and southwest side of the city. There was also previously another canal on the east side called Huishan Nullah (輝山明渠) that drains into Xinkai River's lower section, but is now no longer existent due to land reclamation from urban constructions.
Shenyang has many parks, among the most famous are the 14.5 km (9.0 mi) South Canal Linear Parks (南運河帶狀公園) situated along the homonymous river traversing the southern parts of Dadong, Shenhe and Heping District, covering an area of approximately 1,400,000 m2 (350 acres). It comprises 6 large parks and 18 riverside gardens, with exotic variety of vegetations such as rose, apricot, bladder cherry, honeylocust, natal lily, scarlet sage, morning glory and black-eyed-Susan, and extensive greenspaces of peach, pear, crabapples, gingkos, weeping willows, pines and black locusts. It is the largest stretch of vegetated urban open space in Shenyang, contributing significantly to the city's current 40% "greening ratio", and was instrumental in the city being awarded the "national forest city" title in 2005.
According to the Shenyang Environmental Protection Bureau, winter usage of coal by boiler stations for hydronic district heating is the source of 30% of the air pollution in Shenyang. Half of the 16 million metric tons of coal consumed by the city during the winter of 2013~2014 were used for heating. Other major factors include dust from construction sites (20%), vehicle exhaust (20%), industrial emissions (10%) and extraterritorial dust (20%, mostly yellow dust from Gobi Desert). However, air quality was described by the Bureau as "slowly improving".
Shenyang has a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa) characterised by hot, humid summers due to the monsoon, and dry, cold winters due to the Siberian anticyclone. The four seasons here are distinctive. Nearly half of the annual rainfall occurs in July and August. Monthly mean temperatures range from −11.0 °C (12.2 °F) in January to 24.7 °C (76.5 °F) in July, for an annual average of 8.39 °C (47.1 °F). The frost-free period is 183 days, which is long considering the severity of the winters. The city receives 2,468 hours of bright sunshine annually; monthly percent of possible ranges from 45 percent in July to 62 percent in October. Extreme temperatures range from −33.1 °C (−28 °F) to 39.3 °C (103 °F).
|Climate data for Shenyang (normals 1971–2000, extremes 1961–2000)|
|Record high °C (°F)||4.8
|Average high °C (°F)||−4.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−11.0
|Average low °C (°F)||−16.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−33.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||6.0
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||3.5||4.0||5.1||7.7||9.2||11.9||13.5||10.9||7.6||6.7||5.4||3.8||89.3|
|Average relative humidity (%)||60||55||53||52||55||67||78||78||71||65||63||61||63.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||162.5||179.3||221.8||236.3||256.0||238.6||206.8||218.8||228.4||212.3||161.0||146.2||2,468|
|Percent possible sunshine||56||60||60||60||57||53||45||51||61||62||54||52||55.9|
|Source: China Meteorological Administration, all-time extreme temperature|
Shenyang's metropolitan area traditionally consisted of the 5 small inner urban districts, surrounded by 4 larger outer suburban districts, and accompanied by 4 rural counties on the north and west sides. In general, agriculture, animal husbandry and agricultural product processing dominate northeastern Shenyang; eastern Shenyang is an automotive parts hub; southern Shenyang is a high-tech industrial base; and western Shenyang is home to heavy machinery manufacturing. The city center specialises in retail and financial services.
Out of the rural counties, the Xinmin County was upgraded to a county-level city in 1993, and the Liaozhong County was incorporated into a new suburban district in 2016 as part of the provincial/national development plan.
|Name||Simplified Chinese||Hanyu Pinyin||Population
|Area (km2)||Density (/km2)|
|Shenhe District||沈河区||Shěnhé Qū||716,417||60||12,037|
|Heping District||和平区||Hépíng Qū||645,399||59||10,849|
|Dadong District||大东区||Dàdōng Qū||689,576||100||6,887|
|Huanggu District||皇姑区||Huánggū Qū||817,288||66||12,349|
|Tiexi District||铁西区||Tiěxī Qū||907,091||286||3,171|
|Hunnan District||浑南区||Húnnán Qū||324,074||734||442|
|Sujiatun District||苏家屯区||Sūjiātún Qū||428,859||782||548|
|Shenbei New Area||沈北新区||Shěnběi Xīnqū||320,370||884||362|
|Yuhong District||于洪区||Yúhóng Qū||435,333||499||872|
|Liaozhong District||辽中区||Liáozhōng Qū||532,900||1,645||324|
|Xinmin City||新民市||Xīnmín Shì||690,703||3,297||210|
|Kangping County||康平县||Kāngpíng Xiàn||352,434||2,167||163|
|Faku County||法库县||Fǎkù Xiàn||447,952||2,281||196|
The Shenhe District (沈河区; "Shen River district") is the central area of Shenyang, and currently hosts the seat of the City Government. The old city wall is entirely located in Shenhe District. It has an area of 60 km2 (23 sq mi) and a registered population of 716,417 (as per 2014). There is the Central Temple (中心庙; Zhōngxīn Mìao), built during the Ming dynasty, showing the center of ancient Shenyang. This temple is located just south of the Middle Street (中街; Zhōng Jiē), one of the most famous shopping streets and the first commercial pedestrian zone in China. Shenhe District is also home to the famous Wu'ai Market (五爱市场; Wŭài Shìchǎng), the largest light industry wholesale trading center in the entire Bohai Economic Rim.
Shenhe District is the site of the Mukden Palace, just south of the Central Temple. It is also the site of Zhang Zuolin's former home and headquarters, Shengjing Ancient Cultural Street. In the western Shenhe District there is a Muslim town, and the South Pagoda (南塔; Nán tǎ) is located in southern Shenhe District. There are a lot of high-end hotels located in Shenhe District, such as Sheraton, Kempinski, Lexington, Marriott (which is the first Marriott Hotel directly named "Marriott" in mainland China, but due to finance conflicts is not administrated by Marriott International). The major thoroughfare of Youths Avenue (青年大街; Qīngnián Dà Jiē), the city's primary north-south arterial road that traverses past the City Government Square (市府广场; Shìfǔ Guǎngchǎng) at the modern center of the city linking Beiling Park to the Taoxian Airport, separates the southern portion of Shenhe District from the neighbouring southern Heping District. The iconic 305.5 m (1,002 ft) Liaoning Broadcast and TV Tower is situated alongside this avenue.
Shenhe District is also home to Northeast China's main railway hub, the Shenyang North Railway Station (locally known as the "North Station"). The railways leading to the station forms the border between Shenhe District and the neighbouring eastern portion of Huanggu District. The station building has recently undergone a major overhaul and extension.
The Heping District (和平区; "peace district") is located slightly west of the center of Shenyang. It has an area of 59 km2 (23 sq mi) and a population of 645,399 (2014). Heping District has all manner of commercial businesses that are brightly neon-lit at night, centered around Taiyuan Street (太原街; Taìyuán Jīe), one of the most famous shopping district in the Northeast.
The district, better known as the downtown, sprung up around Shenyang Railway Station (known locally as the "South Station" in contrast to the "North Station" in Shenhe District), the former hub of the South Manchurian Railway. At the center of the district is Zhongshan Square (中山广场; Zhōngshān Guǎngchǎng), which features one of China's largest statues of Chairman Mao—a record of the era of the Cultural Revolution. Northwest of Zhongshan Square lies the West Pagoda Korean Neighborhood or Koreatown. Many of the boulevards in this area are lined of very large ginkgo trees, which become golden in color and produce their distinctive fruits in autumn.
Heping District is also the core area for many political institutions in the Northeast, including CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee, headquarters of the Northern Theater Command (previously the Shenyang Military Region), General Logistics Department and the consulates-general of the United States, Japan, South Korea, North Korea and other countries. Northeast Electricity, China Post, railways, other such industrial hubs and many media outlets such as Liaoning Radio and Television, Shenyang Radio and Television and Shenyang Daily newspaper are also located in this district.
The Dadong District (大东区; "great east district") is an industrial zone and used to be the largest of the inner city districts. Its name derives from the fact that the district started off as the residential area immediately outside the old inner city wall's Fujin Gate (撫近門), which is also called Great East Gate (大東門). It has an area of 100 km2 (39 sq mi) and a population of 689,576 (2014).
The district contains popular tourist landmarks such as the 9.18 Historical Museum, the North and East Pagodas, Bawang Temple and the Wanquan Park. The oldest airfield in Shenyang, the now-defunct East Pagoda Airport, is also located in Dadong District.
The Huanggu District (皇姑区; "royal aunt district") is named after Huanggutun ("tun" means village), where the Huanggutun Incident took place. The name is actually a mis-tranliteration of the pronunciation for Fiyanggū (Manchu: ᡶᡳᠶᠠᠩᡤᡡ, Chinese: 費揚武, 1605–1643), the Manchu Prince Jian of the First Rank whose tomb was in the area. It has an area of 66 km2 (25 sq mi) and a population of 817,288 (2014).
The district is the site of Beiling park, the large historical mausoleum of Qing dynasty emperor Huang Taiji, as well as the Liaoning Mansion Hotel. It also hosts the seat of the Provincial Government of Liaoning.
The Tiexi District (铁西区; "railway's west district") is the most populous district and makes up the western part of the inner city, west of the South Manchurian Railway (hence the district's name) and south of the Jingshen Railway, and is famous for its heavy industry. This mixed-use district also contains large blocks of residential complexes, so as well as strips of small to medium-sized shopping districts. It previously had only an area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi) and a population of 764,419. In May 2002, the Shenyang city government annexed a large area of suburban land from the neighbouring Yuhong District to establish a new state-level development zone — the Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Zone (沈阳经济技术开发区), and transferred its administration to Tiexi District to form the Tiexi New District (铁西新区), thus giving Tiexi District the current "necked" shape on the map. The new Tiexi District now has a population of 907,091 (2014), a total area of 286 km2 (110 sq mi), and enjoys the same administrative rank as a municipality (Administrative Committee of Shenyang).
The district is featured in a 9-hour epic documentary film West of the Tracks by a young filmmaker Wang Bing. It shows the transition in this rust belt district—a palimpsest of not only Chinese but also world history. The first factories of this place were built in 1934 by the Japanese to produce war goods for the Imperial Army and nationalized after World War II. As late as the early 1980s, the factories here employed about one million workers, but all of them went jobless in the 1990s.
The Hunnan District (浑南区; "Hun River's south district"), was formerly called the Dongling District (东陵区; "East Mausoleum district") before June 17, 2014, referring to the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed tombs dedicated to Nurhachi, the founder of Later Jin, and his empress Monggo-Jerjer. The large suburban district is located on the east and southeast side of urban Shenyang, with most of its territory south of the Hun River, hence its current name. It has an area of 734 km2 (283 sq mi) and a population of 324,074 (2014). The Shenyang Botanical Garden and the Shenyang International Expo Garden (which hosted the 2006 International Horticultural Exposition) are also located in this district.
Hunnan District hosts the city's only operational commercial airport, the Taoxian International Airport, and is rapidly becoming high-end residential areas with luxury apartments, fine neighbourhoods and commercial developments, as suburbs of Shenyang are growing steadily. The district is traversed by two corridors along two major highways, one leading to the Eastern Mausoleum and the neighbouring city of Fushun, and the other leading to the airport.
Launched in 1988 as the Shenyang National New and High-Tech Industrial Development Zone and elevated to a national-level zone in 1991, the Hunnan New Area (浑南新区) focuses on electronic and information technology products such as software, computers, network systems, communication equipment and audio/visual equipment; advanced manufacturing technologies, especially for automobiles, medical equipment; advanced materials and biological and pharmaceutical products. The zone has hosted more than 5,700 enterprises, including 700 foreign-invested enterprises. Foreign companies such as the General Electric Co., Tyco International, and Mitsubishi Group operate in the zone. Currently, the Shenyang City Government is working on expanding the city and plans to relocate its seat to the Hunnan New Area from the current site in Shenhe District.
The Sujiatun District (苏家屯区; "Su family village district") forms the southernmost part of the suburbs, located 15 km (9 mi) away from central Shenyang. The 2014 registered population of Sujiatun is 428,859. and it has an area of 782 km2 (302 sq mi). Sujiatun is known mostly for its agricultural and industrial activity. It borders the districts of Yuhong and Heping to the north, Dongling to the northeast, Tiexi to the northwest; it also borders the prefecture-level cities of Fushun to the east, Benxi to the southeast, and Liaoyang to the southwest.
The Shenbei New District (沈北新区; "Shenyang's north new district"), formerly Xinchengzi District (新城子区; "new town district"), is a new development zone and forms the majority of the northern suburbs. It has an area of 884 km2 (341 sq mi) and a population of 320,370 (2014). It borders Hunnan District to the southeast, Dadong and Huanggu Districts to the south, Yuhong District to the southwest, Xinmin City and Faku County to the northwest; it also borders the prefecture-level cities of Tieling to the northeast and Fushun to the southeast.
The Yuhong District (于洪区; "Yu and Hong district") forms part of the northwestern and western suburbs. It has an area of 499 km2 (193 sq mi) and a population of 435,333 (2014). It borders Shenbei New District to the northeast, Huanggu District to the east, Tiexi District to the south, and Xinmin City to the west. China Resources Beverage, the distributor of C'estbon Water, has its Northeast regional office in the district.
The large southwestern part of the neighbouring Tiexi District also used to belong to Yuhong District, but in May 2002, the southwestern part of Yuhong District was ceded on order of the city government to establish the Shenyang Economic and Technological Development Zone, and the administration of the region was later transferred to Tiexi District instead. This annexation of land left an exclave territory lying between Tiexi District, Heping District and Sujiatun District, separated from the main body of Yuhong District, hence making the Tiexi District flanked at the "neck" by the two parts of Yuhong.
The Liaozhong District (辽中区; "Liaoning's center district", referring to its central location within the province) is the newest and largest suburban district. Formerly the Liaozhong County (辽中县), its rural county status was made defunct in January 2016, and formally instated as a suburban city district on April 11, 2016. It lies 67 km (42 mi) southwest of downtown Shenyang, near the intersection of G1 Beijing–Harbin Expressway and G91 Liaozhong Ring Expressway. As of 2014[update], it had a population of 532,900 residing in an area of 1,645 km2 (635 sq mi). It is the most southwestern part of Shenyang City, bordering Xinmin City to the north, and Tiexi District to the northeast, as well as the prefecture-level cities of Liaoyang to the southeast, Anshan to the south and southwest, and Jinzhou to the west.
The Xinmin City (新民市; "new residents city"), formerly Xinmin County (新民县) before 1993, is a county-level city and contains the westernmost part of the Greater Shenyang area, and by far the most spacious of any county-level divisions of Shenyang with an area of 3,297 km2 (1,273 sq mi), with a registered population of 690,703 (2014). It borders Faku County to the northeast, Shenbei and Yuhong Districts to the east, Tiexi District to the southeast, Liaozhong District to the south, the prefecture-level cities of Jinzhou to the west and Fuxin to the northwest.
Xinmin has one of the leading horticulture industries in China, especially in apples, watermelon and white cabbages, as well as animal husbandry such as chicken and pigs. Light manufacturing is also an important part of Xinmin's economy, with 57% of its GDP derived from food processing, pharmaceuticals and packaging products in 2012. The city also has access to the Liaohe oil field. There are also proposals to relocated the defunct East Pagoda Airport to Xinmin for reopening.
The Faku County (法库县) lies 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of urban Shenyang, and has an area of 2,281 square kilometres (881 square miles) with a population of 447,952 (2014). The county's name is reportedly a phonetic transliteration of the Manchu word for fishing weir, due to the county's fishing resources from its extensive network of rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The county borders the Kangping County to the north, Shenbei New District to the southeast, Xinmin City to the southwest, and the prefecture-level cities of Tieling to the east, and Fuxin to the west. Other than agriculture, Faku County has the richest source of minerals in the Shenyang area, including the largest reserve of kaolinite and wollastonite in China. As a result, in recent years the county has attracted a lot of foreign investment from the ceramic industry.
The Kangping County (康平县; "prosperous and peaceful county") is the northernmost and most remote part of the Greater Shenyang area, and has an area of 2,167 km2 (837 sq mi) with a population of 352,434 (2014). It was historically first established in 1880 under the blessing of the Guangxu Emperor, hence the name. The county borders the Faku County to the south, the prefecture-level cities of Tieling to the east, Fuxin to the southwest and Inner Mongolia's Tongliao to the north. The county is mostly agricultural, with majority of its GDP coming from crop and fruit planting. However, in recent years the synthetic fabric, carbon fiber and alternative energy industries begin to take hold in Kangping. The county currently has the third largest wind farm in the whole province.
Ethnically and culturally diverse, Shenyang has 38 of China's 56 recognized ethnic groups, including the Han Chinese majority that make up 91.26 percent of Shenyang's population. The 37 minority groups are Manchu, Korean, Hui, Xibo, Mongolian, Zhuang, Miao, Tujia, Dong, Daur, Bai, Uyghur, Tibetan, Yi, Taiwanese Aboriginal People, She, Bouyei, Yao, Akha, Kazakh, Dai, Li, Shui, Nakhi, Jingpo, Kyrgyz, Tu, Mulao, Qiang, Maonan, Gelao, Russian, Evenks, Tatars, Oroqen, Nanai and Lhoba. Most of these groups are not native to the Shenyang area; a few, such as the Manchus and the Xibe, are.
Shenyang is an important industrial center in China and is the core city of Shenyang Economic Zone, a New Special Reform Zone. It has been focused on heavy industry, particularly aerospace, machine tools, heavy equipment and defence, and recently on software, automotive and electronics. The heavy industry started in the 1920s and was well developed before the second world war. During the first five-year plan (1951–1956) many factories were built in Tiexi district. At its peak in the 1970s, Shenyang was one of the top three industrial centers in China alongside Shanghai and Tianjin, and was at one time being considered for upgrading to a direct-controlled municipality. However, as the planned economy fell out of favor after the 1980s, the heavy industry had declined gradually and the city became a rust belt city, with hundreds of thousands of people laid off from bankrupted state-owned factories. However, the economy of the city has revived significantly in recent years, thanks to the central government's "Revitalize Northeast China" campaign and the rapid development of software and auto manufacture industries. Investment subsidies are granted to multinational corporations (MNCs) that set up offices or headquarters in Shenyang.
The services sector — especially banking — has been developing in Shenyang. Shenyang has several foreign banks, such as South Korea's Hana Bank, Japan's Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia, Singapore's United Overseas Bank and the Britain-based HSBC. In 2006, the city hosted a total of 1,063 banks and bank branches and 144 insurance-related companies. By 2010, it aims to attract 30 foreign banks and 60 non-bank financial institutions.
The city has been identified by the Economist Intelligence Unit in the November 2010 Access China White Paper as a member of the CHAMPS (Chongqing, Hefei, Anshan, Maanshan, Pingdingshan and Shenyang), an economic profile of the top 20 emerging cities in China.
Shenyang has three development zones:
Numerous major industrial companies have their headquarters in Shenyang. Brilliance Auto is a major Chinese automobile manufacturer, and most of its production plants are also located in Shenyang. Shenyang Aircraft Corporation produces airplanes for civilian use as well as for the PLAAF. Neusoft Group is the biggest software company in China. Shenyang Machine Tool Group is the largest machine tool manufacturer in China. Tyco International, General Motors and Michelin Shenyang Tyre Corporation are expanding their operations in Shenyang.
The total GDP of the city of Shenyang is 383.66 billion yuan in year 2009 (ranked 1st out of the 58 cities and counties in Liaoning province). The GDP per capita of the city of Shenyang is 78490 yuan in 2009 (ranked 3rd out of all 58 cities and counties in Liaoning province).
As the transport hub of Northeast China, Shenyang is served by air, rail, a currently two-line subway system and an extensive network of streets and expressways, with bus service throughout the city. Terminal 3 at Shenyang Taoxian International Airport is the largest terminal in the northeast China. A new tram network system was built in the city's south in 2013.
Shenyang is the railway hub of Northeast China. Eight railways connect Shenyang with Beijing, Dalian, Changchun, Harbin and Fushun. The city is also served by the Qinhuangdao–Shenyang High-Speed Railway, the main passenger transport corridor in and out across the Shanhai Pass, and the first passenger-specific railway line in China. In early 2007, a 200 km/h (120 mph) high-speed train decreased travel time between Beijing and Shenyang by almost three-fold to around 4 hours. The Harbin–Dalian High-Speed Railway opened in late 2012 and connects Shenyang with other major cities in Northeast China such as Harbin, Changchun and Dalian at speeds of up to 300 km/h (190 mph).
The Shenyang North Railway Station (Chinese: 沈阳北站; pinyin: Shěnyáng Bĕi Zhàn) was formerly the Liaoning General Station (遼寧總站; Liáoníng Zǒngzhàn) before 1946, and colloquially known as the "Old North Station". The original station building (now a MHCSPNL-listed heritage building), initially named the Fengtian City Station (奉天城站; Fèngtīan Chéng Zhàn) at the time of completion, was built in 1927 at the terminal point of Jingfeng Railway, about 1 km (0.62 mi) southwest of the current station site, on the orders of warlord Zhang Zuolin to compete with the then Japanese-administered Shenyang Railway Station. The Main Station Building (主站房) of the current "New North Station" began construction in 1986 and was commissioned for operation in December 1990, and became one of the five most important railway hubs in China, earning itself the nickname "Northeast's No. 1 Station" (东北第一站). In 2011, a huge expansion project known as the "North Station Transport Hub Reconstruction Project" (北站交通枢纽改造工程) was initiated in response to the growing demand of floor area posed by the increasing passenger traffic after introduction of the high-speed rail service. The station now has an additional 3-storey "Sub-Station Building" (子站房) and a "North Square" (北广场) on the northern (Huanggu District) side of the railways, while the old waiting lounge in the original 16-storey Main Station Building is now relocated to a large elevated concourse that bridges over the rail tracks, with a pillar-less roof (the largest in mainland China) doming the platforms. The original South Square (南广场) outside the Main Station Building was rebuilt into a multi-levelled complex, with two above ground forming an elevated airport-style drop-off zone and a large ground-level area for bus stops, as well as a three-level underground city providing shopping malls, parking lots, taxi pick-up and interchange with Subway Line 2, while also capable of rapid conversion into an air raid shelter if needed.
The Shenyang Railway Station (Chinese: 沈阳站; pinyin: Shěnyáng Zhàn) has a history of more than 100 years. It was built by the Russians in 1899 on the eastern side of the South Manchurian Railway and was named the Fengtian Station (Chinese: 奉天站; pinyin: Fèngtiān Zhàn) at the time. It was later expanded by the Japanese after the Russo-Japanese War and renamed to Fengtian Yam (Chinese: 奉天驛; pinyin: Fèngtiān Yì) until the end of the World War II. Before adopting its current name, the station was known as the Shenyang South Railway Station (Chinese: 瀋陽南站; pinyin: Shĕnyáng Nán Zhàn) or simply the "South Station" (in contrast to the forementioned "North Station") between 1945 and 1950, a name the locals still use colloquially to present days (though the current Shenyang South Railway Station is actually at the suburban junction between Hunnan and Sujiatun). Today, the station focuses on regular-speed passenger service and is being refurbished with a large archway and new terminal, reducing access to the boarding platforms by rerouting customers under and over ground while construction is completed. The station was expanded in 2010 with the addition of a new West Station Building (西站房) and a West Square (西广场) on the western side of the railways. The old East Station Building (东站房) is currently on the provincial protected heritage list.
In the Manchukuo era, the initial road transportation network was laid out, as is now in the central districts of Shenyang. The city follows a largely grid-style urban layout, with the roads follow a slightly northwest-to-southeast orientation due to the South Manchurian Railway, which runs perpendicular to that direction. The streets in Shenyang are almost always named according to a routine convention — one that runs more in the north-south direction is called a "street" (街; Jīe) or "avenue" (大街; Dà Jīe; "big street"), and one that runs more east-west are call a "road" (路; Lù) or "boulevard" (大道; Dà Dào; "big path"). The only exceptions to this rule are the east-west Middle Street in Shenhe District, which takes its historical name from ancient times (though its modern official name is actually the "Middle Street Road"); and the north-south Minzhu Road (民主路) in Heping District that traverses diagonally across the superblock between the Shenyang Railway Station and the Zhongshan Park, but as one of the only three diagonal streets in the entire city it is accommodated as a "road" instead of "street" in keeping with the other two diagonal counterparts that runs east-west.
In addition to the grid streets, Shenyang also was developing several ring road systems, going back as early as the "Fengtian City Plan" (奉天都邑計劃) proposed by the Japanese-controlled puppet Manchukuo government in 1932. Outside of the (now demolished) city walls, the city initially planned three beltways, namely the "inner ring", "middle ring" and "outer ring" roads. Gradually with urban development, the inner ring idea faded away into the inner city grids, but the middle ring concept was retained and later transformed into the nowadays 1st Ring Road (一环路, officially called the "Middle Ring Road" until 1995), and the outer ring morphed roughly into parts of the present day 2nd Ring Road (二环路). The 3rd Ring Road (三环路) was completed in 1995, and in 2013 was upgraded into an 8-lane, 82 km (51 mi) freeway — the G1501 Shenyang Round City Expressway (沈阳绕城高速公路). The 10-lane, 132 km (82 mi) 4th Ring Road (四环路) is a limited-access highway about 8 km (5.0 mi) out from the 3rd Ring, completed in 2013. The planned 6-lane, 198 km (123 mi) 5th Ring Road (五环路) and the proposed 399 km (248 mi) 6th Ring Road (六环路), also known as the G91 Liaozhong Ring Expressway (辽中环线高速公路), are both currently under construction.
Shenyang is connected to the other regions by several major expressways in radial pattern. The G15 Shenda Expressway (沈大高速公路) to the southwest is the first expressway built in China and is an 8-lane, 348.5 km (216.5 mi) controlled-access highway with a maximum speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph), connecting Shenyang to Dalian, one of the largest port city in China. The 222 km (138 mi) Shendan Expressway (沈丹高速公路) to the southeast, part of the G1113 Dandong–Fuxin Expressway that traverses Shenyang from the northwest, is a 4-lane expressway leading to Benxi and Dandong, and also serves Shenyang Taoxian International Airport. The 4-lane G1212 Shenji Expressway (沈吉高速公路) to the east was completed in 2011, linking Shenyang to Jilin via Fushun. The 8-lane Jingshen Expressway (京沈高速公路) to the west is an integral part of the extended G1 Jingha Expressway (京哈高速公路) beyond the northeast, and is a major interprovincial "trunk road" across the Shanhai Pass linking to the national capital Beijing some 658 km (409 mi) away. There are other smaller provincial-level expressways ("S routes") to other cities like Fushun, Liaoyang and Panjin, as well as many long-distance and express bus routes to Beijing and other large Northeastern regional centers via major national roads such as the China National Highways 101, 102, 203 and 304.
There are three other airports in Shenyang, none of them open to public. The East Pagoda Airport (东塔机场) in Dadong District is the oldest airport in Shenyang, opened in 1920s and retired in the 1980s, though there has been proposals in 2013 to relocate and reopen it in Xinmin. The Beiling Airport (北陵机场) in Huanggu District is used by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation for test flights. The Yuhong Airport (于洪机场) in Yuhong District is commissioned for military use only by the local Northern Theater Command garrisons.
In Shenyang, there are more than 160 bus routes. Shenyang used to have about 20 trolley bus routes, one of the biggest trolley bus networks in China. The entire network was demolished in 1999 after a serious electrocution accident that killed 5 passengers in August 12, 1998, and was replaced by diesel-powered buses.
Trams in Shenyang was introduced in Shenyang from 1924, and had 6 lines in operation up until 1945. It suffered major disruptions during the Chinese Civil War from power outage and Kuomintang bombings, but quickly resumed operation after the conclusion of the Liaoshen Campaign. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, the tram network was gradually replaced by the buses and trolley buses, and eventually closed in 1974. In December 2011, the Shenyang city government announced plan to rebuild light rail transit network in 2012, comprising 4 lines with 60 km (37 mi) distance in the Hunnan New District. The Shenyang Modern Tram network started operation in August 15, 2013.
Shenyang has been planning an underground rapid transit system since 1940, but was unable to materialize the idea due to the city's geology and engineering limitations. On November 18, 2005, the construction of the first Shenyang Metro line finally started and the construction of the second line started on November 18, 2006. The first (east-west) line was opened September 27, 2010 and the second (north–south) was opened on January 9, 2012. Construction is difficult due to the granite-rich bedrock on which the city is built.
Shenyang has 731 medical and healthcare centers, 63,000 healthcare staff and 3.02 healthcare worker per 1,000 people. There are 34,033 hospital beds and 45,680 various kinds of medical and technical personnel, among whom there are 17,346 licensed doctors, 1,909 assistant licensed doctors, and 16887 certified nurses. The average expected life-span of the people in Shenyang is 73.8 years.
Shenyang is home to China Medical University Hospital, China Medical University 1st, 2nd (renamed Shengjing Hospital in 2003) and 4th Affiliated Hospital, 202 Hospital, Liaoning Tumor Hospital, Shenyang No.7 People's Hospital, Shenyang Orthopaedics Hospital, Shenyang Army General Hospital, North Hospital, and various other hospitals and clinics.
Shenyang is also famous for its defense industries, with the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC), nicknamed "the cradle of Chinese jetfighters" (中国歼击机摇篮)", being the People's Republic's oldest and largest aircraft manufacturer, responsible for the design and manufacturing of the currently operational J-8, J-11, J-15, J-16 fighter aircraft and the in-development J-31 stealth aircraft. The Shenyang Aeroengine Research Institute, a subdivision of SAC, is also responsible for designing the indigenous WS-10, WS-15 and WS-20 turbofan engines.
In 2014, South Korea and China agreed to repatriate the remains of 400 People's Volunteer Army soldiers killed during the Korean War, which had been buried in Paju, and scheduled to be reburied in a state military cemetery in Shenyang.
People native to Shenyang speak the Shenyang dialect, a variant of Northeastern Mandarin. Shenyang Dialect was formed in early period of Qing Dynasty. Shenyang dialect is similar to the other Northeastern dialects and also to the national standard of Mandarin, Putonghua, but is known as a form of Dongbeihua and has a wide range of vocabulary that is not part of the country's official language. As Shenyang dialect is mutually intelligible with most forms of Mandarin, some people prefer to characterize it as an "accent" rather than a different "dialect."
Two northeast folk dances, Er Ren Zhuan and Yang Ge, are very popular in Shenyang. The Big Stage Theatre (大舞台剧场) near Middle Street is famous for its Er Ren Zhuan and Chinese comedy skit performances by Zhao Benshan and his disciples. Due to the popularity enjoyed by many Shenyang-based comedians, the city is nationally recognized as a stronghold of Chinese comedy.
Shenyang is home of many performance art organizations, such as Shenyang Acrobatic Troupe of China, Liaoning Song and Dance Ensemble, and Liaoning Ballet. Many artists are from Shenyang, such as Zimei, Na Ying and the pianist Lang Lang.
Shenyang is famous for its football tradition. The local football club is the Liaoning F.C., in the Chinese Super League. Liaoning F.C. was once the consecutive national champion for 10 years from 1984 to 1993, and the first Chinese team to win the AFC Champions League in 1990. Another Chinese Super League team, Shenyang Jinde moved to Changsha in 2007. Shenyang Olympic Sports Center Stadium, a 60,000-seated soccer stadium, was a venue for the football preliminary of 2008 Summer Olympics.
Shenyang also has one of the five full-length (400 m) speed skating rink in China, the Bayi Speed Skating Arena (八一速滑馆).
Shenyang Sport University  is a famous professional sports university in China. The university is the training base for winter sports in China and has many Olympic champions.
The Shenyang city government legally recognizes five religious beliefs — Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism. During the period between 1949 and 1976, religious practices were significantly repressed, but have recovered since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As of 2012[update], Shenyang has seven city-level religious organizations, with 289 legally registered places of worship, 483 clerics and about 400,000 followers.
Famous religious sites include:
Shenyang has classic northeastern Chinese cuisine. Traditional meals in the region are suan cai (also called Chinese sauerkraut), stewed chicken and mushroom, and meat pie. Korean food, such as rice cake (Hangul: 떡; RR: tteok) and cold noodle (Hangul: 냉면; Hanja: 冷麵; RR: naengmyeon; Chinese: 冷面; pinyin: Lěng Miàn), is a part of Shenyangers' diet as there is a sizeable ethnic Korean population in the city. Also, as the area was traditionally occupied by Manchus, the cuisine in Shenyang was fundamentally influenced by Manchu food, as well as the famous Manchu Han Imperial Feast.
Shenyang has many shopping areas that provide necessities, luxuries and entertainments. One of the shopping districts is Middle Street (中街). Middle Street has a history of more than 100 years. In 2005, Middle Street gained the title of China top 10 famous commercial shopping streets and in 2008; it won the International Golden Street title. Middle Street is also the first commercial pedestrian street in China. Middle Street features many western-style stores and restaurants, including Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, Louis Vuitton flagship store, Häagen-Dazs retail store, etc. The largest shopping mall in Shenyang is also located on Middle Street, selling products from all around the world.
Taiyuan Street (太原街) is another shopping area which is similar to Middle Street. Taiyuan Street also features many restaurants and theaters for people to enjoy. Many spend their holidays shopping on these two streets. There is also a very large underground shopping center, offering lots of items, especially fashion jewelries, accessories and clothing.
Another area, Wu'ai Market (五爱市场), features a large multi-story shopping center with a size comparable to that of many city blocks. It is famous for wholesaling cheap clothes and household items.
The information technology center is in Sanhao street (三好街) in the southern part of the city. There are large superstores located throughout the city that sell everything from meat and dairy to clothes and electronics.
Shenyang has one of the highest concentrations of educational institutes in China. Roughly 30 colleges and universities and numerous research and training institutions are located in Shenyang, including core institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.