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Top left: Pavilion of Wuling Emperor in Congtai Park, Top right: Nüwa Palace, Middle left: Statue of Hufu, Upper middle: Handan Grand Theater, Lower middle: Longhu Park, Middle right: Ye city ruins, Bottom: South ring road interchange in Nanhebian
Top left: Pavilion of Wuling Emperor in Congtai Park, Top right: Nüwa Palace, Middle left: Statue of Hufu, Upper middle: Handan Grand Theater, Lower middle: Longhu Park, Middle right: Ye city ruins, Bottom: South ring road interchange in Nanhebian
Dream City ()
Location of Handan City jurisdiction in Hebei
Location of Handan City jurisdiction in Hebei
Handan is located in Hebei
Location of the city centre in Hebei
Handan is located in North China Plain
Handan (North China Plain)
Handan is located in China
Handan (China)
Coordinates (Shanxi–Hebei–ShandongHenan Revolution Memorial Park / (): 36°36?04?N 114°29?13?E / 36.601°N 114.487°E / 36.601; 114.487Coordinates: 36°36?04?N 114°29?13?E / 36.601°N 114.487°E / 36.601; 114.487
CountryPeople's Republic of China
Settled6500 BC
EstablishedNovember 15, 1983
 o Prefecture-level city12,068 km2 (4,659 sq mi)
 o Urban556.00 km2 (214.67 sq mi)
 o Districts[1]2,649.1 km2 (1,022.8 sq mi)
 o Prefecture-level city9,433,000
 o Density780/km2 (2,000/sq mi)
 o Urban2,004,700
 o Districts[1]
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
ISO 3166 codeCN-HE-04
Licence plate prefixes?D
Handan (Chinese characters).svg
"Handan" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Literal meaning"the city at the terminus of Mount Han"

Handan is a prefecture-level city located in the southwest of Hebei province, China. The southernmost prefecture-level city of the province, it borders Xingtai on the north, and the provinces of Shanxi on the west, Henan on the south and Shandong on the east. At the 2010 census, its population was 9,174,683 inhabitants whom 2,845,790 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made of 5 urban districts. Yongnian District in Handan and Shahe City in Xingtai have largely formed into a single conurbation.

Handan is one of the oldest cities in China, first settled in 6500 BC by the Cishan culture. Throughout the city's long history, it contributed significantly to Chinese culture, serving as the capital of State of Zhao, was northern China's political, economic and cultural center, and home to Tai chi and the first compass, made from stones collected in the nearby Mount Ci (magnet mountain). Handan is designated as one of China's National Famous Historical and Cultural Cities.[3][4][5][6]


The city's name, Handan (Chinese: ??), has remained unchanged for over 2,000 years. The name first appeared during the reign of King Zhou of Shang, in the chronicle Bamboo Annals.[7]

A dictionary from the Tang dynasty explained that "Han" (Chinese: ?) is the name of a nearby mountain (Hanshan), and "Dan" (Chinese: ?) meant "the terminus of a mountain" with an added radical (Chinese: ?) denoting a city. Together, "Handan" means "the city at the terminus of Mount Han". This explanation has been wildly accepted until the discoveries of jade writings in Houma, Shanxi in 1965, where the "Dan" in Handan was spelt "?", meaning red. This then lead to another explanation that Handan was named so because Mount Han appeared reddish-purple in color.[7]

The different spellings of the city's name consolidated into the modern spelling in Qin dynasty.[7]


Map of the archaeological site of Warring States Era Handan

Handan, once well-defended from southern attack by a bend in the Zhang River, was a city of the state of Zhao during the Warring States Period (5th-3rd centuries BCE) of Chinese history. It was their second capital, after Zhongmu. King Wuling of Zhao turned Zhao into one of the Qin state's most stalwart foes, pioneering the use of walls to secure new frontiers (which would inspire the eventual construction of the Great Wall of China). The city was conquered by the State of Qin after the virtual annexation of Zhao by Qin except for the Dai Commandery. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang was born in Handan, the child of a statesman from the state of Qin and after successfully conquering Zhao he ordered all enemies of his mother to be buried alive. The conquest of Zhao, particularly the Qin siege of Handan, is featured extensively in Chen Kaige's classic film, The Emperor and the Assassin.

At the beginning of the Han dynasty, Handan was Liu Bang's base for suppressing Chen Xi's rebellion in 197 and 196 BCE. The town was still regarded as a cultural and commercial centre at the end of the dynasty in the early 3rd century CE. It slowly declined, perhaps because of the numerous battles that ravaged northern China following the Han Dynasty, but maintained a reputation for its fine Cizhou ware well into the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). It was also the birthplace in the 19th century of Yang-style tai chi, one of its five major schools.

Though much of Handan's ancient history is no longer visible, it still has some attractions, deriving from the many Chinese idioms that the city inspired,[8] such as the road into which Lin Xiangru, courier of the precious Heshibi, backed in order to let his nemesis Lian Po pass first, as well as the location in which Lian Po begged for Lin Xiangru's forgiveness. Modern-day Congtai Park is located on the site of the historical Zhao court. Next to Congtai Park is the legendary "Xuebu Qiao" (), or "Learning to Walk Bridge". Legend has it that a noble from the state of Yan heard of a particularly elegant manner of walking unique to Handan. Arriving in Handan, he spent weeks trying to master the Handan style of walking on a bridge, only to fail. In the process, however, he had forgotten how to walk normally and had to crawl back to Yan. This story inspired the Chinese expression, "to learn the walk of Handan" (?, Hánd?n xué bù), which means learning something difficult too intensely, thereby forgetting the basics in the process.[9]

The nearby Xiangtangshan Caves contain massive Buddha statues carved into the mountainside, some dating to the 6th century. Many of these statues were severely vandalised by occupying Japanese forces during World War II. Handan was prized by the Japanese invaders for its coal reserves.

In 2007, Handan was the location of China's largest-ever bank robbery.


The population at the 2010 census was 941,427 for the 3 urban districts, 2,845,790 for the built up area and 9,174,683 for the entire Prefecture-level city area of 12,068 km2 (4,659 sq mi).

The municipal executive, legislative and judiciary are situated in Congtai District (, Cóngtái Q?), as well as the CPC and Public Security bureaux.

Name Chinese Pinyin Population (2004 est.) Area (km2) Density (/km2)
Congtai District Cóngtái Q? 330,000 28[] 11,786
Hanshan District Hánsh?n Q? 310,000 32[] 9,688
Fuxing District Fùx?ng Q? 250,000 37[] 6,757
Fengfeng Mining District ? F?ngf?ng Kuàngq? 500,000 353 1,416
Feixiang District Féixi?ng Q? 310,000 496 625
Yongnian District Y?ngnián Q? 860,000 898 958
Wu'an City W?'?n Shì 720,000 1,806 399
Handan County (Defunct since 2016) Hánd?n Xiàn 400,000 522 766
Linzhang County Línzh?ng Xiàn 590,000 744 793
Cheng'an County Chéng'?n Xiàn 370,000 485 763
Daming County Dàmíng Xiàn 750,000 1,052 713
She County Shè Xiàn 390,000 1,509 258
Ci County Cí Xiàn 640,000 1,035 618
Qiu County Qi? Xiàn 200,000 448 446
Jize County J?zé Xiàn 250,000 337 742
Guangping County Gu?ngpíng Xiàn 250,000 320 781
Guantao County Gu?ntáo Xiàn 290,000 456 636
Wei County Wèi Xiàn 810,000 862 940
Quzhou County Q?zh?u Xiàn 410,000 667 615


Handan has a cold, continental semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), with strong monsoonal influence, typical of the North China Plain. The normal monthly daily mean temperature ranges from -0.9 °C (30.4 °F) in January to 27.3 °C (81.1 °F) in July, while the annual mean temperature is 14.3 °C (57.7 °F). A majority of the normal annual precipitation of 502 mm (19.8 in) occurs in July and August.

Climate data for Handan (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.7
Average high °C (°F) 4.1
Daily mean °C (°F) -0.9
Average low °C (°F) -4.8
Record low °C (°F) -15.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 3.1
Average relative humidity (%) 57 54 53 54 59 58 74 76 71 65 64 61 62
Source: China Meteorological Administration[10]


Map including Handan (labeled as HAN-TAN ) (AMS, 1953)

Handan has witnessed rapid growth over the past 20 years. Industrial growth in the city has focused on communication and transport activities. Handan is a major producer of coal and steel, with Coal mines at Fengfeng providing power for Handan's iron, steel and textile mills. Chemical and cement plants along with other industries also benefit. Local agriculture produces maize, pomegranates and eggs.[11] Handan also has a growing services sector, with retail, banking and trading making up 40% of the economy.[12] The GDP per capita in Renminbi was estimated at ¥13,449 in 2005. In 2015, the figure was ?33,554.87.

Air pollution

According to a survey by "Global voices China" in February 2013, Handan was one of China's most polluted cities due to heavy industrial outputs.[13]

However the government has made a significant effort to make the city cleanerwhich involved closing down many polluting power plants. It is no longer the most polluted city, and according to a 2016 government survey, the number of good air quality days is 189 days, an increase of 135 days compared with 2013.[14]


Handan Prefecture is home to the AAAAA tourist attractions Guangfu Ancient City and the Nüwa Imperial Palace.



Ethnic minorities

According to Handan government in 2007, 40 ethnic groups were present in Handan. Ethnic minorities represent 50,000 people, among which 48,000 Hui. There are 22 Hui schools and 5 Hui junior high schools in Handan.[15]


The most widespread religion in Handan is Chinese folk religion, including Taoism and Buddhism.

In 2013, there were more than 150,000 Catholics in Handan according to the Catholic Church, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yongnian.[16]Mother of Grace Cathedral in Daming County was built in 1918. The most recent church was built in 2007.[17]

There are also 300,000 Protestants. The largest Protestant church is on Qianjin Avenue () and was built in 1997.[18] The oldest church was on Congtai Street and was built in 1920. The church was destroyed 2009 by the local government.[19] A new church was built in 2011.[20]

According to the local government 30,000 Hui Muslims live in the prefecture of Handan.[21]



Handan is hailed as the capital of Chinese idioms.[22] As a prosperous city and cultural center during the Warring States period, Handan attracted many scholars. Over 1,500 idioms and proverbs are attributed to the city.[8] The following are some of the most well known idioms.

  • ? (literally: "to study the walking method of Handan"), meaning to badly imitate others, and lose one's individuality in the process.
  • ? (literally: "millet dream"), meaning a pipe dream.
  • ? (literally: "stand upright on one's two legs between heaven and earth"), meaning to be fiercely independent.
  • ? (literally: "to besiege the State of Wei to rescue the State of Zhao"), meaning to relieve a besieged ally by attacking the besiegers.
  • (literally: "musn't speak of two things on the same day"), meaning incomparable.
  • ? (literally: "a bird frightened by the mere sound of shooting arrows"), a panic-stricken person.
  • ?,? (literally: "when the snipe and the oyster fight, it is the fisherman that wins"), when two parties fight, it is always the third one who wins. King of Yan sent a representative to King Hui of Zhao to relay this message in order for him to rethink his plans of war.
  • ? (literally: "drawn out and protracted"), meaning to be protracted.
  • ? (literally: "returning the Jade to Zhao"), meaning to return something to its owner in good condition.
  • ? (literally: "to be worth numerous contiguous cities"), meaning priceless.
  • ? (literally: "one's hair raised to the hat in anger"), meaning to be furious.
  • ? (literally: "carrying thorned grass and pleading guilt"), meaning to offer someone a humble apology.
  • ? (literally: "to discuss military tactics on paper"), meaning to be an armchair strategist.
  • ?,? (literally: "green is born of blue, but beats blue"), meaning to outmaster the teacher.

Notable people

Sister cities


  1. ^ a b c d Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, ed. (2019). China Urban Construction Statistical Yearbook 2017. Beijing: China Statistics Press. p. 46. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ 11 - -. ts.leju.com. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Handan, China". City of Dubuque. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "----". Handan Cultural Net. Retrieved .
  5. ^ ":""". Wenming.cn. Retrieved .
  6. ^ ", , 2016?GDP". . Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b c ":?". ?. Retrieved .
  8. ^ a b "City of the idiom". 2011-10-14.
  9. ^ "Chinese Word". Purple Culture. Retrieved .
  10. ^ ? - WeatherBk Data (in Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Patton, Dominique. "China's chickens need to lay a billion eggs a day. Here's how..." U.K. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "Handan (Hebei) City Information | HKTDC". china-trade-research.hktdc.com. Retrieved .
  13. ^ Bildner, Eli (February 27, 2013). "Interactive Maps of China's Most-and Least-Polluted Places". Global Voices China. http://newsmotion.org. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Xu, Hui (). ·. CCTV-NEWS (in Chinese).
  15. ^ ? (in Chinese). Handan People's Government.
  16. ^ Fides, Agenzia. / - ?() - Agenzia Fides. www.fides.org (in Chinese). Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-26. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ (in Chinese). Ethnic Affairs Commission of Hebei Province. Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ ?"?" (in Chinese). Handan People's Government. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ _--?- -? (in Chinese). Christian Church of Handan. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ Chinanews.com Hebei (in Chinese). 2011-11-29.
  22. ^ ? ""? (in Chinese). 2019-12-27.
  23. ^ -. . ? ? .
  24. ^ ? ? . Kryvyi Rih City. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.

External links

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