Zhangjiakou: Passionate for the Winter Olympics

Zhangjiakou —co-host of  2022 Winter Olympics— is now attracting worldwide attention. Apart from winter skiing, the city also has many scenic spots that are worth visiting, and more and more tourists from home and abroad have been attracted here by its reputation.


Contributing Reporter Wang Xueting 
“Two athletes are clad in red sportswear on a ground of white snow, one sitting on a sleigh with hands holding onto it, the other, leaning forward, standing on a pair of skis. This isn’t a scene of a competition or somewhere on a ski slope, but one of a dozen of dough figurines with the theme of High Flying Winter Olympics. The two dough figurines, although only palm sized, are clearly athletic in build and possess a purposeful gaze, as if eagerly anticipating the coming of the Winter Olympics. This also reflects the feeling of their designer, Li Ning, who set about designing dough figurines around the theme of the Winter Olympics at the beginning of 2015 and was one of the many Zhangjiakou residents who became excited on learning that China had been awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The 2022 Winter Olympics will be co-hosted by Beijing and Zhangjiakou. Beijing, as the capital of China, is already well-known all over the world, while Zhangjiakou, an obscure city even in China, is now attracting more curiosity and worldwide attention than Beijing.

Actually, Zhangjiakou has always been a city blessed with a sporty atmosphere. Every morning, you will see grandpas dressed in white practicing Tai Chi in the squares, while not far away groups of women and grannies will dance along with music to keep fit, and children will play around the sports facilities. In the evenings, young people returning home after work will usually jog around the squares and playgrounds in comfortable sportswear while listening to music through their earphones. Zhangjiakou is also home to several famous athletes, such as the popular women soccer players Zhang Ouying, Zhang Na, Wang Kun and Liu Yali. Hou Yuzhuo, the silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympic Games in the women’s 57kg category taekwondo competition, is also from Zhangjiakou. These athletes are all role models encouraging the people of Zhangjiakou to participate in sports more actively.

Zhangjiakou has made active preparations in support of the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. There will be five venues in the Zhangjiakou competition area: Guyangshu Ski Jump Area, Hualin East Ski Area, Yunding Ski Area, Taiwu Ski Area and Wanlong Ski Area. I

Crowds of people running happily on vast grasslands, flying colourful kites in the blue sky-that was a scene from August 2014 when the Second International Grassland Kites Festival was held in Zhangjiakou. The once quiet grasslands came alive with people admiring each other’s kites and chatting about the kite festival. The theme of the friendly match at the Grassland Kites Festival was “Facilitating the 2022 Winter Olympics bid with soaring dreams”, and a year later in 2015, the dream of holding the Winter Olympics came true.

The people in Zhangjiakou love sports and welcome people from across the world to the city for sports competitions. They devote themselves to all sorts of competition preparations so as to create the most comfortable surroundings for the competitors and spectators. Apart from the Kites Festival, Zhangjiakou has held many other sports events, such as the Second Zhangjiakou International Marathon held in the Kangbao grassland and the Fourth Tour of Beijing Professional Road Cycling Race.

Zhangjiakou has made active preparations in support of the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. There will be five venues in the Zhangjiakou competition area: Guyangshu Ski Jump Area, Hualin East Ski Area, Yunding Ski Area, Taiwu Ski Area and Wanlong Ski Area. In as early as 1996, these places had been developed as popular winter ski resorts. Starting from this year, Zhangjiakou will invest even more on the infrastructure development at the resorts, so that by 2022 Zhangjiakou’s Chongli County will have more comprehensive tourist facilities. Not only will it be able to host ski races but it will also be suitable for general skiing, withstar-rated hotels and speciality foods helping to attract even more tourists.

The award of the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing and Zhangjiakou has made Zhangjiakou the focus of world’s attention. Apart from winter skiing, the city also has many scenic spots that are worth visiting, and more and more tourists from home and abroad have been attracted here by its reputation.


The old town of Nuanquan

Situated in Yu County, Zhangjiakou, the old town of Nuanquan, which means ‘warm spring’, is famous for its hot spring water throughout the year. A small town with a long history dating from the Yuan Dynasty, it still has many ancient buildings, including the Nuanquan Academy, the Three Forts (Xigu Fort, Beiguan Fort, Zhongxiao Fort) and Huayan Temple, etc., all reflecting the northern architectural styles of ancient China. The spring water, town fairs, ancient buildings and folk culture are characteristic of the town. If you happen to visit it during the LanternFestival, you will have the chance to appreciate the traditional performance of da shuhua (‘striking up a tree of flowers’), in which performers throw molten iron at a temperature of over 1,000onto the cold bricks of the town gate, which creates sparks that resemble thousands of fiery flowers bursting into the sky.


Jiming Mountain

Jiming Mountain is 50 km away from Zhangjiakou. As the highest isolated peak beyond the Great Wall, it was formed after agreat earthquake abillion years ago. Styled ‘Sky-propping Pillar’, Jiming Mountain was also called Feilai Peak ‘Peak that Flew from Afar’ by ancient people. Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian buildings co-exist harmoniously on the mountain, which has become another feature of the Mountain. Within Yongning Temple, a giant roostershaped rock standing on a precipice has come to symbolise Jiming Mountain, as ji ming literally means ‘rooster crowing’.


The Walled Town of Huangdi, Zhuolu County

Situated in Fanshan Township in Zhuolu County, the Walled Town of Huangdi is the site where the Chinese civilisation took shape and the famous historic Battle of Zhuolu was fought. In ancient times, the Yandi tribe joined forces with the Huangdi tribe and defeated the Chiyou tribe in present day Zhuolu. Later, Huangdi and Yandi clashed and fought with each other in Banquan (around present day Huailai County in Zhangjiakou). Eventually, Huangdi won and led the people of the Yan and Huang tribes to settle in the Yellow River Valley in north China which is known as the Central Plains Region. Since the Spring and Autumn period, people in the central plains have called themselves the “descendants of Yan and Huang”.

In Zhuolu County today, overseas Chinese investors have built the Memorial Hall for the Three Chinese Ancestors in which giant statues of Huangdi, Yandi and Chiyou are on display. In addition, items of antiquities such as stone axes and spinning wheels unearthed in Zhuolu are also on display, and there is a huge fresco detailing historical events like the Battle of Zhuolu and the Battle of Banquan on the wall of the building. All of this is attracting more and more descendants of Yan and Huang to come and visit, to find their ancestral roots. Zhuolu has become the place to visit to learn about the Chinese civilization.


Zhangbei Grassland

Situated to the northwest of Zhangjiakou, Zhangbei Grassland features the scenery typical of Bashang Grassland. It consists of the Zhongdu Grassland and Anguli Grassland scenic regions with an average elevation of 1,400 meters above sea level. From June to September each year, many tourists from all over China come here to escape the summer heat, and they can often be seen dressed in Mongolian style ethic costumes and riding horses on the grasslands. After supper, all visitors would sing and dance with local people around a bonfire, where the hospitality of the grassland people makes every visitor feel right at home. At night, visitors would sleep in Mongolian yurts like the local nomads, with the stars tudded sky over head, a beautiful sight that is hard to experience in cities with tall buildings.

It is worth noting that from late July to early August, the annual Grassland Music Festival is held here by Music Space-China’s most professional music magazine. The most influential pop, rock, and ballad singers and performers and independent music producers from China and overseas will come and perform at the festival, and young people from all over the country who love music and modern culture will gather here, which makes the festival quite exciting. If you want to experience the atmosphere of an open-air music festival, Zhangbei Grassland is definitely the best destination.

Confucius Institute 40

pdfPublished in Confucius Institute Magazine
Magazine 40. Volume 5. September 2015.
View/Download the print issue in PDF


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