For more than one thousand years, the people of Heze have continuously maintained and refined the cultivation of the peony flower. Heze, now colored with fields upon fields of the local flower, is known as “the land of peonies”. Recognized for their natural beauty and wide array of colors, the peony is seen as a symbol of peace and wealth. And while these flowers have earned the honor of becoming China’s national flower, in no place but Heze will you find 1,116 breeds of peonies this plentiful and well groomed. In fact, don’t be deterred by the fact that peonies only bloom from April to May. Heze has perfected the ability to keep peonies in bloom year round.
Of course though the fields of flowers are a great treasure, Heze offers more than just the gardener’s perfect paradise. The people of Heze take great pride in history and their contributions to the world. As such, museums and parks have been erected to glorify and explain forgotten elements of days long ago. Come and enjoy a tour of the calligraphy museum, where great displays of China’s famed writing system can be seen in full detail. Indeed the theme of the city will show itself here as well, as you are bound to find many poems and pictures detailing the beauty of the peony. Additionally you can find great pieces of artwork made from paper, as locals attempt to replicate the peony’s beauty.
There is a balance to the peace in Heze; the city celebrates a long history of martial discipline. Sun Bin, a descendent of the famous Sun Tzu, lived in Heze. It was here that he wrote a book sharing the title of his ancestor’s world-renown book, The Art of War. Though the two books are not to be confused, they are both masterpieces detailing the decisive minds of the greatest military minds of their time. Though Sun Bin’s book was thought to be lost forever, discoveries in 1972 have brought his work to life again. In honor of Sun Bin, and China’s esteemed military prowess, many locals in Heze study the art of Wushu. Literally meaning “martial arts”, Wushu consists of a various fighting styles and a strict mentality; definitely not for the faint of heart! But when you’re in the area, try to pick up a lesson or two.
Heze offers a many delights. When you’re ready, we’ll be waiting with a fresh peony in hand.
Southwest Shandong is renowned for its delicious, and milky mutton soup. The people of Shanxian County can prepare several dozen kinds of soups by using different main materials and techniques.
Since the Qing Dynasty, Caoxian County has earned worldwide recognition for its delicious, soft, and aromatic beef. It is believed that a Hui people created this unique cooking method. Through constant advances over the years, Caoxian Beef became tribute to the imperial family.
This delicious local delicacy is made from the meat of young donkeys. Rinsed, deboned, and slow-cooked, this tender and savory meat goes well with many meals.
These dumplings, woven into the taste of Heze, make for a great appetizer or meal. They are filled with a combination of meat and vegetables, accompanied by the best of spices. Enjoy them either boiled or fried to a perfect golden color.
Annually, from mid-April to early-May, Heze welcomes a million visitors in China as well as overseas to Heze Peony International Festival. During the festival, thousands of peony producers from all over Heze will show case their skill in nurturing this flower. Coming to the festival, visitors can see and participate in many activities such as local operas, peony art exhibition, and painting and calligraphy exhibition.
After many changes, the garden was named “Caozhou Peony Garden” which is now the largest horticultural base of peony in China. Driving on the highway No. 220 of about 2 miles from downtown Heze, you might think that you just enter into a heaven of flowers with thousands of enchanting flowers in different colors such as red, yellow, light green, purple or even multi-color. Besides that, the garden is dotted with simple and elegant ancient styles buildings which embellish to its natural beauty.
Just like its name in Chinese, the lake look like a “flying dragon” with an endless flow of blue water and beautiful scenery. Different seasons will give the lake a different look and give tourists different feelings. You will adore the colorful blossoms and green willows in spring, love the blue water in the summer, enjoy a little sadness float into the lake in autumn and the extensive white landscape which covered by snow in the winter.
Famous for being home of painting and calligraphy, Caozhou Painting and Calligraphy Institute displays a numerous collections of this traditional custom.
Located in the hometown of peony and maintain a rich historical and cultural value. Especially, the hall is displaying many of the items of the Shandong-Henan Border Region Revolution.
Sun Bin, an alleged descendant of Sun Tzu, is a great military strategist and commander in the Qi Dynasty. He wrote “Art of War,” a military strategy book, by gathering experiences and methods of his time in the military, not to be mistaken with The Art of War of Sun Tzu. Many attractions such as God of the Door, Maze, Sun Bin’s Memorial Hall and Tomb in the tourism zone can draw a vivid picture of the excellent life and exceptional achievements of the legendary soldier—Sun Bin.
Traditional martial arts and the Water Margin folk customs show in an integrated landscape, with the charm of ancient buildings of the Ming and Qing dynasties. With the traditional architecture and sophisticated carvings, you might think that you just go back in time and enter into an ancient village.
Sheep fighting is a traditional activity in Heze which originally started in the Three Kindgom period. After hearing the whistle, two sheep will be released and fight against each other. Regardless of the number of rounds, they will fight until having the winner. The fighting game is held annually in Spring Festival which is a fascinating activity to local residents as well as visitors.
For thousands of years, figurine has been an interesting art to children as well as adults. Going to Muli village, you will see the craftsman use rice flour as raw material to make dough and create a life-like figure. They then dye it with different color to bring a soul into these works of art.
Not just being used for decoration, peony also has medicinal value. Special and precious perfume, which is abstracted from peonies, can be used to make a medicine called “Danpi,” which can reduce fever, and invigorate blood circulation.
Produced mainly in the villages of Zhaolou, Liji, Lugudui, and Guanhuayuan, Chinese flowering quinces grown in Heze are oval, golden-colored, and highly fragrant. Eating these flowering quinces can help improve the liver and the spleen, regulate the stomach, stimulate the circulation of the blood, and cause the muscles and joints to relax. This is a great gift to show your love to your family and friends.
With a good transportation system, it makes traveling easier for tourists to go to Heze.
The Beijing-Kowloon Railway and the Yanzhou-Xinxiang Railway meet at Heze, forming a railway hub. Tourists can go from Heze to Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Changchun, Qingdao, Hefei, Nanchang, and Shenzhen by train.
Additionally, the highways in the city radiate in all directions. If you like to use a car to travel, Heze has four national highways 105, 106, 220, ad 327 which makes your trip here more enjoyable. Also, Heze is at the juncture of the expressways in west Shandong, and the Beijing-Fuzhou and the Beijing-Shanghai expressways run through it.
Heze also has 18 public bus lines, which reach the railway station, hotels, tourist attractions, and shopping centers. Tourists need only give a hand signal for a passing bus to stop.
About 3.5 hours away from either Jinan or Zhengzhou Airport airport by car, Heze also hosts airline ticket offices, which sell tickets for all airline companies in China. You may order by phone, and plane tickets will be delivered to you