The city of Bozhou (Bózhõu in traditional pinyin) is located in the northwestern part of Anhui Province.
The prefecture-level city is bordered by Henan Province in the north, Huaibei in the northeast, Huainan in the south, Bengbu in the southeast, and Fuyang in the southwest. There are four county-level divisions in the city, namely Qiaocheng, Woyang, Lixin, and Mengcheng.
Bozhou has a long and distinct history, which makes it an important part of the country’s history. The city is a prefecture during the period of the Tang Dynasty, as well as the famed Qiao Commandry. The city is also the hometown of the notable historical figure Cao Cao, who was the last chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty—as well as one of the key figures of the epic drama Red Cliff. The brave Hua Mulan was also known to be a resident of this historic city.
At present, Bozhou is still one of the most important cities in the province of Anhui. It is the capital of traditional Chinese medicine in the country, and boasts of the biggest traditional medicine industry in China. Bozhou is one of the less westernized cities in the entire country, making it an ideal center for traditional medicine. Every year on September 9, traditional Chinese medicine experts convene in Buzhou for the International TCM Expo.
Bozhou is conveniently located along two major train routes in China—with the major cities of Beijing (south) and Shanghai (east) as the destinations—making the city very accessible to tourists and visitors.
The climate in Bozhou is usually mild, with four distinct seasons and a humid subtropical climate influenced by the monsoon. The average annual temperature in the city is at 14.66 degree Celsius, with the winters typically damp and summers humid. June to August is often rainy.
Aside from the famous traditional Chinese medicinal products, Bozhou also boasts of a wide variety of unique dishes and food items. Must-try Bozhou delicacies include tongguang sheet jelly, trot meat, deep-fried tasty buns, and the mouthwatering steamed beef bun. Herbs, walnuts, and pears—as well as delicacies made from these ingredients—are popular in the city.
Gujing liquor—a kind of traditional rice wine famous all over China—is another specialty in Bozhou. This fragrant liquor comes in different specifications, which you can easily find in the city.
Throughout history, Bozhou has been an important city not only in the Anhui Province, but also in the whole country. The main identity of the city, at present, is anchored in its major export—traditional Chinese medicine—but it also boasts of a wide variety of ancient sites, which are ideal destinations for those who want to know more about China.
Hua Xi Lou Ancient Theatre
This is one of the most important sites of Bozhou history. This theatre was built in the 1500’s by local medicine practitioners and merchants, and is considered as a national heritage site by the Chinese Bureau of Antiquities and History.
There are a good number of Mulan statues in the city—and for good reason. Hua Mulan, the Chinese heroine featured in a blockbuster Disney film, is just one of the famous residents of the city. The heroine is one of the most significant female figures in Chinese history, because of taking a stand against the pervasive patriarchal culture while saving the country from invaders.
The House of Hua Tou
Hua Tou remains to be one of the most important figures in Bozhou history, and his house—where he practiced surgical operations and discovered the benefits of anaesthesia in medical procedures. His house has been converted into a museum, where visitors can view his original medical instruments.
Cao Cao Park and Memorial
A key figure in the Three Dynasties period, Cao Cao has assigned Bozhou as his capital city. This significant decision has brought plenty of renown to the city of Bozhou—in fact, there was a point in Chinese history when the city was considered as a site of a unified China after long years of fighting and rebellion in the different kingdoms and factions in the country. Bozhou has a good number of parks and memorials dedicated to one of its most illustrious residents—and these sites are great for those interested in Chinese history or have seen the John Woo film Red Cliff (or have read the Chinese literary masterpiece Romance of the Three Kingdoms).
As mentioned earlier, one of the best-known residents of Bozhou is the chancellor Cao Cao, who built a network of underground tunnels all over the city. Known to locals as the underground version of the Great Wall, these underground tunnels were designed and built as a form of defense and offense during times of siege. Cao Cao’s armies were able to send their troops out behind the lines that were drawn by the enemy.
The network of underground tunnels is quite long, but not everything is preserved well or restored properly. However, tourists and visitors can always go down and feel like an ancient Chinese warrior in select parts of the tunnels.
Classes and Courses
There is much to learn in Bozhou. There are a good number of traditional Chinese medicine schools in the city, offering the expertise of their qualified doctors to students of all levels. Also, some of these traditional Chinese medicine schools offer Chinese language courses for their students—such as the Bozhou TCM School—for fees of around $1000 or more for an intensive summer course.