Located in the southern region of Anhui Province, the prefecture-level city of Tongling (Tónglíng in traditional Pinyin) is one of the best destinations in the region. The mountain city has been famous since the time of the Han Dynasty, and has rich mineral and metal deposits that have made it a major industrial hubin the region.
Tongling is situated in the right bank of the Yangtze River’s lower parts, and is neighbors with Fanchang County, Nanling County, and Qinyang County, as well as a couple of Chizhou’s counties.
Tongling is one of the most popular destinations in Anhui Province, and its popularity among tourists dates back to over 1,500 years ago. The scenery of Tongling is beautiful to behold, with an assortment of green hills and plains facing the legendary Yangtze River. The northern terrain is covered with plains, while the south and southeast parts of the city feature low-lying mountains. The heart of Tongling city is primarily hilly.
Before the Chinese Empire were established, Tongling was ruled by several kingdoms, all in succession. The city is a strategic part of a kingdom’s territory, with its rich copper and tin resources making it important in the bronze industry. In fact, Tongling is considered to be one of the cornerstones of the bronze age culture in China and industry in the country.
Because of its rich natural resources, Tongling is known in China as a city with “eight blessings.” As mentioned earlier, copper is especially abundant in the city (its reserves cover more than 7 percent of the whole province), as welll as gold, silver, limestone, and pyrite. The weather is mild and pleasant for most of the year, with plenty of rain for the abundance of plant and tree species. Tongling also has a very interesting fauna, which includes the rare Yangtze alligator, the Chinese white dolphin, the Yangtze freshwater dolphin, and the finless porpoise.
Tongling is nestled between Jiujang, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Wuhan, and serves as the northern entry to some of the most famous tourist attractions in the Anhui Province—Jiuhua Mountain and Huangshan Mountain. Transport to and from Tongling is convenient and fast, as it is one of the main transportation hubs in Anhui.
Like most of its neighbors in Anhui province, Tongling has a subtropical climate, which can border on temperate and humid, and influenced by the monsoon. There are four distinct seasons, with the springs and summers comparatively wet, the autumns dry, and the winters dry. The average temperature in Tongling clocks in at around 16 degrees Celsius, with February being the coldest time of the year. The short autumn season is the perfect time to visit Tongling.
When in Tongling, make sure to try the local specialty, ginger in syrup. This is a unique take on the famous root crop and Asian spice, and quite refreshing whether you eat it on its own or with other dishes. The Yequeshe tea and the Shun’an crunchy candy are local specialties as well, and are great as presents for your family members and friends at home.
The agricultural regions of Tongling is a leading producer of rice, wheat, beans, garlic, and ginger, and the local dishes include these ingredients in generous portions. Freshwater fish is a also a staple in the tables of Tongling residents.
While Tongling is surrounded by the scenic mountain resorts of Juihua and Huangshan, the city has a number of unique destinations of its own.
Tongling Tianjing Lake Park
Located on the northern part of Changjiang Xi Lu, this scenic lake is naturally divided into three parts by earth mounds surrounding its waters. Tianjing Lake is also surrounded by seven hills, thus enhancing the misty beauty of the lake. Aside from its natural features, Lake Tianjing also features city-developed attractions and historical sites that will allow tourists experience Tongling at its best.
Tip: Entrance is free, and the park is open for the whole day.
River Dolphin Nature Reserve
As mentioned earlier, Tongling is blessed with unique flora and fauna. The city government recognizes this—Tongling is in fact one of the major players in the conservation efforts of preserving the baiji, or the Yangtze freshwater dolphin. The government has dedicated and established two semi-natural reserves in the city—in the oxbow lakes of Shishou and Tongling.
Aside from the dedicated areas for baiji conservation, the River Dolphin Nature Reserve is also home to aquariums and specimen halls, which are perfect for those who want to learn more about the unique species of China. Specimens of river dolphins are on display for students and visitors, as well as the Japanese brocade carp, the rare Yangtze alligators, giant salamanders, and Chinese sturgeon.
When in Tongling, make sure to experience dramatic and sweeping views of the city and its neighboring mountains at the Lousi Mountain. For those interested in the bronze culture of Tongling, the Jinniudong Historic Mine Site is an ideal destination.
Tip: Getting to Tongling is quite easy, and the main railway station is found in Yi’an Bei Lu, Shizishan District. The trains that pass through this station are bound for Shanghai, Nanjng, and Hangzhou. Nine expressways pass through the city, makingit easy for visitors to travel by car or by bus.
Classes and Courses
Learning Chinese in Tongling is made easier by higher educational institutions offering short-term courses for visitors and tourists. Inquire at Tongling University to see if they can offer credit for language classes you take in the city.