lies in the south of the middle Yangtze River valley,
its name meaning "south of the lake" because
most of it is located south of Dongting Lake. It has an
area of 210,000 square kilometers and a population of
52.81 million, of which 4.99 million are in the cities
and 47.82 million in the rural areas.
Changsha -- 'Long Sand Isle'
Hengyang -- Gateway to Hunan
Shaoshan -- Mao Zedong's Birthplace
Yueyang -- Lakeside City
mountains in the east, south and west, the land generally
slopes from the south towards the north in the shape of
a horsehoof-like basin. Topographically, it may be divided
into five parts. 1) The Dongting Lake Plain in the northeast,
contiguous to the Jianghan Plain of Hubei and with numerous
rivers and lakes, is known as a "land of fish and
rice". 2) The Central Hunan Hilly and Basin Area
has wide areas of low hills and mounds and basins and
valleys, Hengyang is the largest of the basins. The scenic
Hengshan Mountain, whose main peak is 1,290 meters above
sea level, is one of China's five sacred mountains. 3)
The Nanling Mountain Area, rising mostly more than 1,000
meters on the southern border, is the watershed of the
Yangtze and Zhujiang river systems and the climatic divide
between central and southern China. 4) The Eastern Hunan
Mountain Area is the watershed of the Xiangjiang and Ganjiang
basins. 5) The Western Hunan Mountain Area, mostly exceeding
1,000 meters in elevation, comprises mainly the Wuling
and Xuefeng mountains: Extending for more than 300 kilometers,
the Xuefeng range is the natural and economic divide between
the western and eastern parts of the province.
are more than 4,700 waterways in Hunan, the largest being
the Xiangjiang, Zishui, Yuanjiang and Lishui rivers, all
of which flow into Dongting Lake, forming an integrated
water system. Dongting, the second largest freshwater
lake in China, takes the floodwaters of the Yangtze River
in addition to the waters of the four large rivers, and
flows into the Yangtze River at Chenglingji.
in the sub-tropics has a warm climate, with cold, short
winters and hot, long summers. It has four clearly contrasted
seasons, abundant rainfall, a frost-free period of 260-300
days, and a mean annual precipitation of 1,300-1,700 mm.
concentrated mainly in April, May and June. Its mean annual
temperature is 16ºC-18ºC, and the absolute maximum
temperature in Changsha and Hengyang exceeds 40?, ranking
both among the hottest places in China.
Hunan has convenient land and water communications. It
is served by the Beijing-Guangzhou, Zhejiang-Jiangxi,
Hunan-Guizhou, Hunan-Guangxi, Zhicheng-Liuzhou and other
railways totaling 2,519 kilometers, and by a highway network
54,678 kilometers in length. It has an inland shipping
length of 100,000 kilometers including more than 240 navigable
waterways of the Xiangjiang, Zishui, Yuanjiang and Lishui
and their tributaries. In addition, it has the convenience
of the Yangtze River shipping route through Dongting Lake's
link with that river.