The city of Nanyang may not be the most industrialized or even at par with Beijing when it comes to vibrancy, it still holds its own unique charm. It entices the visitors with its long-standing history, rich production of jade, distinctive cuisine, local art performances, and attractions that make you appreciate the people’s culture.
Nanyang is a prefecture that is part of the Henan Province. It is also the biggest in terms of administrative area, covering more than 26,000 square kilometers. Its urban center is around 1,887 square kilometers. Nanyang is within a basin with an elevation of around 430 feet from sea level. As of 2010, the total population of the area was over 10 million with an average density of 390 per square kilometer.
There are many ways to interpret the meaning of “Nanyang.” For others, it is a direct translation of Southern Ocean while some call it “south part of the mountains.” Indeed, the prefecture is surrounded by a couple of mountains such as Dushan, which is found on the north. Also dubbed as the Lonely Hill, it plays a huge part in the economy, tourism, and history of Nanyang as it is one of the richest resources of jades. In fact, the Nanyang jades are some of the most sought after in the market because of their rarity. Most of the people earn through farming.
The history of Nanyang is very long. In some of the excavation trips here, scientists were able to find fossilized eggs of dinosaurs. Even before the beginning of the Warring States Periods, there was already a community in Nanyang. It flourished around Western Han Dynasty, and various businesses were put up.
Nanyang goes through four seasons, which are heavily influenced by monsoons. Thus, during summers, the weather can be extremely hot with very little humidity. Most of the locals and tourists are encouraged to wear light clothing and to rehydrate often. During winters, the air can be very dry although the coldness can be felt. One of the most ideal times to drop by Nanyang is either during autumn or spring when the temperatures are more stable and are milder. Strong rainfall normally happens between June and August.
Some of the most popular dishes in Nanyang are dumplings and baozi served with noodles that are commonly rice vermicelli. This type of noodles is also well-known around Southeast Asia. The food is cheap, but diners are provided with considerable amount of servings. It is common to eat the dishes with rice, though rice is often cooked along with animal fat as oil. As for their soups, they are vegetables with some meat such as lamb or mutton. Chicken and pork are not often used in soups. It is customary among locals to cook food using ingredients that are in season.
Mount Du, also known as Dushan Hills and is translated as Lonely Hill, is a significant land form of Nanyang. It is well-known for its production of very unique types of jades, with colors that go beyond the traditional green. You can find purple, red, and blue jades in the mountains. Because they are extremely rare, they are highly valued in the market.
Ancient Government Office of Nanyang
Found in Wancheng District, in Minzhu Street, the ancient government office is a beautifully preserved administration building. The layout, which resembles a town hall, offers the visitors a glimpse of how the prefecture was run in the ancient times, especially in its early years.
Wolong Gang is another popular historical site in Nanyang. It is currently preserved in honor of Zhuge Liang, a chancellor of the Three Kingdoms and who lived in Wolong Gang for about 10 years. It is a complex composed of several buildings, most of which were built around the Ming, Qing, and Yuan dynasties.
There are collections that date back to the Han Dynasty. These include certain stone inscriptions, one of which was of Yue Fei, a military general who served during the Southern Song Dynasty.
This is actually a town that belongs to Xichuan County, which is also part of Nanyang City. It is visited for its old and unique architecture that blossomed during the Qing Dynasty. Before the visitors can enter the town, they are greeted by the massive stone arc. The streets are often narrow, so the best way to explore the area is through walking. The houses follow a square layout and are made of stone. Intricate works of art can be found on the walls or on the roofs.
• Most of the people in Nanyang do not speak in English, and they have their own distinctive dialect, which is spoken by more than 10 million of them. Nevertheless, traveling here is a great opportunity to learn a new language and share yours with them. Many can also easily understand and speak Putonghua.
• They have their own local Chinese opera known as Wan.
• One of the most popular festivals in Nanyang is the Jade Carving Festival. It is seen as a way of promoting, standardizing, and preserving jade, which is a significant gemstone in China and is found in the prefecture.
• Nanyang is just beginning to open itself up to the rest of the world through the arrival of businesses and introduction of shopping centers. Thus, you can still feel its very relaxed atmosphere, which is a stark contrast to that of Beijing.