Rough Guide to Yiwu Travel

Rough Guide to Yiwu Travel

Yiwu sits almost entirely surrounded by mountains, and it is maybe because of this that it is often overlooked by visitors to China. It is true that this medium-sized city doesn't have the night-life or culture enjoyed in Beijing or Shanghai, but it has its own charms and sights that should provide the casual visitor with more than a few days distraction. It's often said that shopping is nothing less than a sport in Yiwu. If this is true, then the gigantic Yiwu International Trade City is Wembley Stadium and Madison Square Garden combined. Over 15000 stalls and a raft of shops are nestled in this purpose built, multi-story market where shoppers can buy just about anything. Of course the city also has traditional markets and shops including a bustling night market, which opens nightly on Santing Lu.

The city has had a reputation as a trade centre for centuries; currently it is home to the Yiwu International Commodities Fair every October, which opens to traders swapping general merchandise on a massive scale. In 2004, it was ranked 15th of the 100 most powerful cities in China regularly winning awards for commerce such as its ranking as a National Culture Advanced City, Provincial Civilized City and Provincial Power City of Education.

The history of Yiwu is littered with the names of famous Chinese writers, military leaders, journalists and politicians. The Tang Dynasty poet Luo Binwang lived and wrote works including his "Ode to a Goose" here, which is taught to every Chinese schoolchild to this day. He is honored in the city with a park and several statues. Probably the most famous modern inhabitant of Yiwu was Chen Wangdao who was the first person to translate the Communist Manifesto into Chinese which he did during the early days of the China's communist era.

The mountains around the city are worth visiting. Nestled in the forests are deep valleys, and places like the Double Dragons Resort, where cave networks and waterfalls vie for attention among hidden temples and ancient pagodas. The Hengdian Film Studio is series of working sets on a grand scale hidden in the mountains outside of Yiwu, where visitors can stroll down ancient riverside villages and enjoy a recreation of the delicate landscape depicted in the classic Chinese painting, "Going Upriver During Spring Festival" by Zhang Zeduan.

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