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Top: Xuande Palace at Millennium City Park, Bottom upper left: Gate Tower and Kaifeng Government Hall, Bottom lower left: Iron Pagoda and Tieta Lake, Bottom right: Statue of Zhang Zeduan in Millennium City Park
Top: Xuande Palace at Millennium City Park,
Bottom upper left: Gate Tower and Kaifeng Government Hall,
Bottom lower left: Iron Pagoda and Tieta Lake,
Bottom right: Statue of Zhang Zeduan in Millennium City Park
Flag of Kaifeng
Location of Kaifeng City jurisdiction in Henan
Location of Kaifeng City jurisdiction in Henan
Kaifeng is located in China
Location in China
Coordinates (Kaifeng government): 34°47?53?N 114°18?29?E / 34.798°N 114.308°E / 34.798; 114.308Coordinates: 34°47?53?N 114°18?29?E / 34.798°N 114.308°E / 34.798; 114.308
CountryPeople's Republic of China
 o Prefecture-level city6,247 km2 (2,412 sq mi)
 o Urban
546.4 km2 (211.0 sq mi)
 o Metro
546.4 km2 (211.0 sq mi)
75 m (245 ft)
(2010 census)
 o Prefecture-level city4,676,159
 o Density750/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
 o Urban
 o Urban density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
 o Metro
 o Metro density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
Area code(s)371
ISO 3166 codeCN-HA-02
GDP¥7,250 per capita (2004)
Major NationalitiesHan, Hui
County-level divisions5
License plate prefixes?B
Kaifeng (Chinese characters).svg
"Kaifeng" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Literal meaning"Opening the Border"

Kaifeng (Chinese: ) is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, China. It is one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of China, having been the capital seven times in history, and is best known for being the Chinese capital in the Northern Song dynasty.

Around 5 million people currently live in Kaifeng's metropolitan area. Located along the Yellow River's southern bank, it borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the west, Xinxiang to the northwest, Shangqiu to the east, Zhoukou to the southeast, Xuchang to the southwest, and Heze of Shandong to the northeast.


The postal romanization for the city is "Kaifeng". Its official one-character abbreviation in Chinese is ? (Biàn). Historically it has also been known as

  • Dàliáng (Chinese: )
  • Biànliáng ()
  • Biànzh?u ()
  • Nánj?ng ()
  • D?ngj?ng ()
  • Biànj?ng ()

The area was named "Kaifeng" after the Qin's conquest of China in the second century BC. The name literally means "opening the border" and figuratively "hidden" and "vengeance".[1] Its name was originally Qifeng (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ), but the syllable qi (Baxter-Sagart: /*kij?/) was changed to the essentially synonymous kai (/*N?-[k]j/, /*[k]j/) to avoid the naming taboo of Liu Qi (Emperor Jing of Han).


The prefecture-level city of Kaifeng administers five districts and four counties:


The famous painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival is believed by some to portray life in Kaifeng on Qingming Festival. Several versions exist - the above is an 18th-century recreation - of an original attributed to the 12th-century artist Zhang Zeduan.
The city of Kaifeng (Dongjing, Bianliang) in Northern Song Dynasty

Kaifeng is one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of China. As with Beijing, there have been many reconstructions during its history.

In 364 BC during the Warring States period, the State of Wei founded a city called Daliang () as its capital in this area. During this period, the first of many canals in the area was constructed linking a local river to the Yellow River. When the State of Qin conquered the State of Wei, Kaifeng was destroyed and abandoned except for a mid-sized market town, which remained in place.

Early in the 7th century, Kaifeng was transformed into a major commercial hub when it was connected to the Grand Canal as well as through the construction of a canal running to western Shandong.

In 781 during the Tang dynasty, a new city was reconstructed and named Bian (?). Bian was the capital of the Later Jin (936-946), Later Han (947-950), and Later Zhou (951-960) of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The Song dynasty made Bian its capital when it overthrew the Later Zhou in 960. Shortly afterwards, the city underwent further expansion.

During the Song, when it was known as Dongjing or Bianjing, Kaifeng was the capital, with a population of over 400,000 living both inside and outside the city wall. Typhus was an acute problem in the city. The historian Jacques Gernet provides a lively picture of life in this period in his Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276, which often draws on Dongjing Meng Hua Lu, a nostalgic memoir of the city of Kaifeng.[2]

In 1049, the Youguosi Pagoda (?) - or Iron Pagoda as it is called today - was constructed measuring 54.7 metres (179 ft) in height. It has survived the vicissitudes of war and floods to become the oldest landmark in this ancient city. Another Song-dynasty pagoda, Po Tower [zh], dating from 974, has been partially destroyed.

Games in the Jinming Pool, an early 12th-century painting depicting Kaifeng, by Zhang Zeduan.

Another well-known sight was the astronomical clock tower of the engineer, scientist, and statesman Su Song (1020-1101 AD). It was crowned with a rotating armillary sphere that was hydraulically-powered (i.e. by water wheel and a water clock), yet it incorporated an escapement mechanism two hundred years before they were found in the clockworks of Europe and featured the first known endless power-transmitting chain drive.

Kaifeng reached its peak importance in the 11th century as a commercial and industrial center at the intersection of four major canals. During this time, the city was surrounded by three rings of city walls and probably had a population of between 600,000 and 700,000. It is believed that Kaifeng was the largest city in the world from 1013 to 1127.[3]

This period ended in 1127 when the city fell to Jurchen invaders during the Jingkang Incident. It subsequently came under the rule of the Jurchen Jin dynasty, which had conquered most of North China during the Jin-Song Wars.[4] While it remained an important administrative center, only the area inside the inner city wall of the early Song remained settled and the two outer rings were abandoned.

As the imperial capital of the Song, Kaifeng was conveniently situated along the Grand Canal for logistics supply but militarily vulnerable due to its position on the floodplains of the Yellow River.

Kaifeng served as the Jurchen "southern capital" from 1157 (other sources say 1161) and was reconstructed during this time.[5] The Jurchen kept their main capital further north until 1214 when they were forced to move the imperial court southwards to Kaifeng in order to flee from the onslaught of the Mongols. In 1232 they succumbed to the combined Mongol and Song forces in the Mongol siege of Kaifeng. The Mongols captured the city and in 1279 conquered all of China.

East Market Street, Kaifeng, 1910. The synagogue of the Kaifeng Jews lay beyond the row of stores on the right

At the beginning of the Ming dynasty in 1368, Kaifeng was made the capital of Henan province.

In 1642, Kaifeng was flooded by the Ming army with water from the Yellow River to prevent the peasant rebel Li Zicheng from taking over. After this disaster, the city was abandoned again.

In 1662, during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor in the Qing dynasty, Kaifeng was rebuilt. Another reconstruction in 1843 followed flooding in 1841, shaping Kaifeng as it stands today.

On 6 June 1938, the city was occupied by the invading Japanese Imperial Army.

Kaifeng is also known for having the oldest extant Jewish community in China, the Kaifeng Jews.

Kaifeng remained the capital of Henan province until 1954, when it was moved to Zhengzhou.

In 1969, the former President of the People's Republic of China, Liu Shaoqi, died from medical neglect while under house arrest in Kaifeng.


Kaifeng has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa) that borders on a humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons. Winters are cool and mostly dry while summers are hot and humid; spring is warm and sees some, but not much rainfall, while autumn weather is crisp and drier. Precipitation mainly occurs from June to September.

Climate data for Kaifeng (1971-2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.2
Average high °C (°F) 5.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.0
Average low °C (°F) -4.1
Record low °C (°F) -15
Average precipitation mm (inches) 8.1
Average precipitation days 2.9 3.9 5.9 6.2 6.8 7.8 11.3 9.0 7.6 6.6 4.5 3.0 75.5
Source: Weather China



Downtown Kaifeng is about 55 km (34 mi) away from Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (IATA: CGO, ICAO: ZHCC), which is the busiest airport in central China in terms of both passenger and cargo traffic (2017 statistics).[6]

With the completion of Zhengzhou-Kaifeng intercity railway and Zhengzhou-Xinzheng Airport intercity railway, fast train connections to Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport from Kaifeng became available. As of August 2018, there are 12 pairs of intercity trains running between Xinzheng Airport and Songchenglu every day, with a travel time of 53 min.


Kaifeng railway station is on the East-West Longhai Railway mainline and provides convenient access to many cities around China, including Beijing West, Shanghai, Shanghai Hongqiao, Tianjin, Xi'an, Jinan, Hangzhou. Services to Zhengzhou, Luoyang and Qingdao are also frequent and convenient. Direct long distance services to Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing North, Harbin, Ürümqi, Fuzhou, Dalian and Wuhan are also available.

The Zhengzhou-Kaifeng intercity railway () started operation on 28 December 2014,[7] connecting the provincial capital Zhengzhou and Kaifeng. The railway currently terminates at Songchenglu, and is planned to be extended to Kaifeng railway station. The designed top speed is 200 km/h (120 mph).

Kaifeng North railway station of the Xuzhou-Lanzhou high-speed railway is the main high-speed railway station of the city. It started operation on 10 September 2016.[8]


There are 4 main coach stations in Kaifeng:

  • Kaifeng West Coach Station ()
  • Kaifeng Long-Distance Coach Station (?)
  • Kaifeng Jinming Coach Station (?)
  • Kaifeng Xiangguosi Coach Station ()

There are frequent services to many neighbouring counties, other provincial cities and longer-distance services to other provinces.

Road transport



One of Kaifeng's many women's mosques
The Sacred Heart Cathedral of Kaifeng

Kaifeng is known for having the oldest extant Jewish community in China, the Kaifeng Jews.

It also has a significant Muslim enclave and is notable for its many women's mosques (n?sì), including the oldest n?sì in China: Wangjia Hutong Women's Mosque, which dates to 1820.[9][9]

There are also some active Christian churches, like Sacred-Heart of Kaifang cathedral (?).


Kaifeng-style Xiaolongbao

Kaifeng cuisine plays a dominant part in forming Henan cuisine.[10]

Kaifeng offers a wide range of food specialities such as steaming pie and dumplings. Particularly famous is Kaifeng's five-spice bread (w?xi?ng sh?ob?ng), which, like pita, can be opened and filled. In the evening, Kaifeng's streets turn into restaurants while hundreds open their stands and begin selling their food in the famous night market. People from nearby Zhengzhou often come to Kaifeng to visit family members and to enjoy the atmosphere.

The Ma Yu Ching's Bucket Chicken House (;; M? Yùx?ng T?ngzi J?), located in Kaifeng, is by some accounts the world's oldest restaurant.


The chrysanthemum is the city flower of Kaifeng. The tradition of cultivating varieties of chrysanthemums extends back 1600 years, and the scale of cultivation reached its height during the Song dynasty until its loss to the Jürchens in 1126.

The city has held the Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival since 1983 (renamed China Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival in 1994). The festival has since taken place between 18 October and 18 November of every year.

The festival reached another milestone in 2012, when it celebrated its 30th birthday.[11] The opening ceremony was broadcast live on Henan Satellite TV Channel (HNTV) at the evening prime slot on 18 October 2012, which has a coverage of all Chinese cities of or above the prefecture-level classification in the Chinese administrative division.

During the festival, hundreds of chrysanthemums breeds are on show at festival venues, and the flower becomes a common features around the city. Kaifeng has been dubbed the "city of chrysanthemums".

Sporting events

Zheng-Kai International Marathon

The China Zheng-Kai International Marathon (?, Zheng-Kai stands for "Zhengzhou-Kaifeng", also abbreviated "ZK") is a sporting event hosted jointly by the Chinese Athletic Association, the general sport administration of Henan province, Zhengzhou municipal government, and the Kaifeng municipal government. It is the premier international sports competition in Henan province and one of the biggest sports competitions in the Central-West of China. ZK International Marathon is held at the end of March or beginning of April each year. The main part of the event occurs along the famous Zhengkai Express Way (?). At its launch in 2007, 5600 athletes competed. By 2012, almost 25000 athletes from 28 countries and regions have participated in the ZK International Marathon.


Kaifeng is the headquarter of the 20th Group Army of the People's Liberation Army, one of three group armies that comprise the Jinan Military Region responsible for defence of the Yellow River Plain.

Kaifeng Air Base is a military airfield in the southern suburb of Kaifeng City. It does not provide civilian aviation service.


International relations

Twin towns--Sister cities

Kaifeng is twinned with:

City Region Country
Wichita  Kansas  United States
Kiryat Motzkin Haifa  Israel
Toda  Saitama  Japan
Omsk  Omsk Oblast  Russia

Colleges and universities


See also


  1. ^ (in Chinese). Shanghai: Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House. 2005. p. 348.
  2. ^ Jacques Gernet. Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962). Translated by H. M. Wright. ISBN 0804707200.
  3. ^ "Largest Cities Through History". Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ Lorge, Peter (2005). War, Politics and Society in Early Modern China, 900-1795. Routledge. pp. 52-54. ISBN 978-0-203-96929-8.
  5. ^ "The Eastern Manchurian Woodsmen Replacing the Western Manchurian Nomads" (PDF). Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ 2017 (in Chinese). Civil Aviation Administration of China. 2018-03-07. Retrieved .
  7. ^ :? "". new.qq.com (in Chinese). Retrieved .
  8. ^ (). henan.people.com.cn (in Chinese). 2016-09-07. Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b NPR
  10. ^ . Retrieved 2012.
  11. ^ "China Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival". Retrieved 2012.

Further reading

  • Cotterell, Arthur. (2007). The Imperial Capitals of China: An Inside View of the Celestial Empire. London: Pimlico. pp. 304 pages. ISBN 978-1-84595-009-5.
  • The Origin of the Kaifeng Jews, in S. Shaked, ed., Irano-Judaica, Jerusalem, 1982, pp. 101-11

External links

Preceded by
Capital of China (as Kaifeng)
Succeeded by

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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