Kunming, the Spring and Flower City
The “SpringCity” is one of the most beautiful places in China, cradled in the foothills of the Himalayasand decorated with diverse flora and fauna, all wrapped up with a culturally rich history.
Kunming’s history goes back thousands of years. The city obtained fame during the Ming dynasty because of Kunming’s ready supply of metals, the main source for Ming coins. Also a large center of trade, the city nonetheless remained relatively isolated from the rest of China. In fact, it was considered a form of semi-banishment for imperial officials to be posted here. Upon the completion of the Indochina railroad in 1910, Kunming rapidly opened up and became more accessible to the rest of the world, but still remains a nice contrast to the bustling chaos of other Chinese cities. Kunming is also a major exporter of flowers-it’s impossible for their presence to go unnoticed because their scent wafts through the streets.
Nowadays Kunming is jumping-off point for tourists to the western regions of Yunnan and Tibet. 25of China’s 55 ethnic minoritieslive in Yunnan, making up 30% of the province’s population. With mountains to the north, east and west, and located on a mile high plateau, the city’s temperate climate year-round serves to make it a great place to visit.
Marco Polo may have been the first Westerner to be captivated by Yunnan’s awesome natural beauty, cultural diversity and food.
Wandering the city, one sees minority peoples in embroidered garb selling fruit and a huge variety of beautiful tropical flowers from baskets carried on bamboo poles slung across their shoulders, towering mountains, and clean fresh air contrasted with a bustling rapidly modernizing Chinese city with large scale construction projects.