From the 8th to the 6th century BC, Hefei was the site of many small states, later a part of the Chu kingdom. Many archaeological finds dating from this period have been made. The name 'Hefei' was first given to the county set up in the area under the Han dynasty in the 2nd century BC.
In the 3rd century AD, the famous Three Kingdoms battle, Battle of Xiaoyao Ford, was fought at what is currently Xiaoyao Ford (逍遙津) in Hefei. General Zhang Liao of the Kingdom of Wei commanding 800 picked cavalry defeated the 200,000-man army of the Kingdom of Wu. Several decades of warring in Hefei between Wu and Wei followed this battle.
During the 4th to the 6th century AD, this crucial border region between northern and southern states was much fought over; its name and administrative status were consequently often changed. During the Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) periods, it became the seat of Lu prefecture—a title it kept until the 15th century, when it became a superior prefecture named Luzhou.
The present city dates from the Song dynasty (960–1126), the earlier Hefei having been some distance farther north. In the 10th year of Xining (熙宁十年,1077 AD), the taxes collected from the Luchow Prefecture were 50315 Guan, approximately 25 million today's Chinese Yuan, with a ranking of the amount of taxes was the 11th(following Kaifeng, Hangzhou, Qinzhou, Chuzhou, Chengdu, Zizhou, Xingyuan, Mianzhou, Zhenzhou, Suzhou) among all the prefectures of Song Dynasty. During the 10th century, it was for a while the capital of the independent Wu kingdom (902–938) and was an important center of the Southern Tang state (937–975).
After 1127 it became a center of the defenses of the Southern Song dynasty (1126–1279) against the Jin (Jurchen) invaders in the Jin–Song wars, as well as a flourishing center of trade between the two states. When the Chinese Republic was founded in 1911, the superior prefecture was abolished, and the city took the name of Hefei. The city was known as Luchow or Liu-tcheou (庐州, p Luzhou) during the Ming and Qing dynasties (after the 14th century to the 19th century). Hefei was the temporary capital for Anhui from 1853 to 1862. It was renamed as Hefei County in 1912. Following the Chinese victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945, Hefei was made the capital of Anhui.
Before World War II, Hefei remained essentially an administrative center and the regional market for the fertile plain to the south. It was a collecting center for grain, beans, cotton, and hemp, as well as a center for handicraft industries manufacturing cloth, leather, bamboo goods, and ironware.
The construction in 1912 of the Tianjin–Pukou railway, farther east, for a while made Hefei a provincial backwater, and much of its importance passed to Bengbu. In 1932–36, however, a Chinese company built a railway linking Hefei with Yuxikou (on the Yangtze opposite Wuhu) to the southeast and with the Huai River at Huainan to the north. While this railway was built primarily to exploit the rich coalfield in northern Anhui, it also did much to revive the economy of the Hefei area by taking much of its produce to Wuhu and Nanjing.
Although Hefei was a quiet market town of only about 30,000 in the mid-1930s, its population grew more than tenfold in the following 20 years. The city's administrative role was strengthened by the transfer of the provincial government from Anqing in 1949, but much of its new growth derived from its development as an industrial city. A cotton mill was opened in 1958, and a thermal generating plant, using coal from Huainan, was established in the early 1950s. It also became the seat of an industry producing industrial chemicals and chemical fertilizers. In the late 1950s an iron and steel complex was built. In addition to a machine-tool works and engineering and agricultural machinery factories, the city has developed an aluminum industry and a variety of light industries. There are several universities based in the city.
Hefei is located 130 kilometres (81 mi) west of Nanjing in south-central Anhui. Chao Lake, a lake 15 km (9 mi) southeast of the city, is one of the largest fresh water lakes nationally. However, the lake has unfortunately been polluted with nitrogen and phosphorus in recent decades.
Hefei features a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) with four distinct seasons. Hefei's annual average temperature is 16.18 °C (61.1 °F). Its annual precipitation is just slightly over 1,000 millimetres (39 in), being heavier from May through August. Winters are damp and cold, with January lows dipping just below freezing and January averaging 2.8 °C (37.0 °F). The city sees irregular snowfalls that rarely turn significant. Springs are generally relatively pleasant if somewhat erratic. Summers here are oppressively hot and humid, with a July average of 28.3 °C (82.9 °F). In the months of June, July, August, and often September, daily temperatures can reach or surpass 37 °C (99 °F) with high humidity levels being the norm. Autumn in Hefei sees a gradual cooling and drying. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 35 percent in March to 50 percent in August, the city receives 1,868 hours of bright sunshine annually. Extremes since 1951 have ranged from −20.6 °C (−5 °F) on 6 January 1955 to 41.0 °C (106 °F) on 23 August 1959.
Usually in May and June, air quality in Hefei diminishes. The city is blanketed by smog caused by the smoke generated as farmers outside the city burn their fields in preparation for planting the next crop. A dense wave of smog began in Hefei surrounding Anhui as well as other Chinese major cities including Shanghai and Tianjin.
The majority of the population in Hefei is Han Chinese. There are a small number of Hui Chinese living in the city, which is why there are few mosques in the city. There are over five million people in the city, of which some are migrant workers from other parts of Anhui.
The prefecture-level city of Hefei administers 9 county-level divisions, including 4 districts, 1 County-city and 4 counties.
Hefei subdivisions area (km²), population (According to 2010 Census) and population density (per km²).
The GDP per capita was ¥73,548 (ca. US$11,808) in 2015.
Before the Chinese civil war Hefei's main industry was agriculture. Soon after the founding of the People's Republic of China, the capital of Anhui was moved from Anqing to Hefei. To assist the development of the city, many talented people were sent in from other parts of the country. Modern-day Hefei has machinery, electronics, chemistry, steel, textile, and cigarette industries, among others.
In the summer of 2005, the municipal government implemented changes designed to beautify the city by demolishing thousands of illegally built structures, and clearing away long established marketplaces in many parts of the city. Overnight, longstanding businesses housed in flimsy structures that once lined many streets were gone. The impact on the local economy could be seen immediately as hundreds, if not thousands, of low paid workers no longer had employment.
On the other hand, these actions removed many unlicensed food stalls which had contributed to the spread of diseases that struck the city in the past. These changes also removed many unlicensed buildings that posed a fire hazard in the city.
Hefei has been identified by the Economist Intelligence Unit in the November 2010 Access China White Paper as a member of the CHAMPS (Chongqing, Hefei, Anshan, Ma'anshan, Pingdingshan and Shenyang), an economic profile of the top 20 emerging cities in China.
Hefei has been identified by The Economist in the December 2012 as the world's No.1 fastest growing metropolitan economy.
Hefei has been the provincial capital since 1949 (before it was Anqing) and is a natural center of transportation, being situated to the north of Lake Chao and standing on a low saddle crossing the northeastern extension of the Dabie Mountains, which form the divide between the Huai and Yangtze rivers. From Hefei there is easy water transport via the lake to the Yangtze River opposite Wuhu.
Important land routes run through Hefei: east–west from Pukou (opposite Nanjing in Jiangsu) to Xi'an (in Shaanxi) and north–south from Xuzhou (in Jiangsu) and Bengbu to Anqing (both in Anhui
There are two train stations in Hefei. The newest one is Hefei South Railway Station (合肥南站) where most high-speed trains pass through. Many city buses serve this station, for instance the 108 from the East gate of the University of Science and Technology's East campus on Susong road. It has a very comprehensive taxi rank with multiple queues to avoid a long wait. There are many fast food restaurants in the departure hall with seating. There are not so many options for arrivals, a small cafe and a takeaway kfc booth. There is an ATM in the ticket sales area next to the security gates for the departure hall.
The alternative station is Hefei Railway Station (合肥火车站) which is smaller and older. This has only one taxi queue, directly opposite the main exit. There is fast food, a post office and a China mobile store in the same courtyard next to the arrival gates.
In 2008 the thoroughfare Chang Jiang Road (Chinese: 长江路; pinyin: Chángjiāng lù) is undergoing a renovation project to widen the roads and to create a bus route in the center of the road, with bus stations at islands that are connected to the sidewalks by skyways. The First Ring Road is also undergoing construction, with traffic lights being replaced by overpasses and ramps built to connect the First Ring Road and all major intersecting roads. Both projects are intended to ease the traffic Hefei now experiences at rush hour.China National Highway 312
Hefei Xinqiao International Airport replaced the old Hefei Luogang International Airport and started its operation on May 30, 2013 00:00. This new domestic aviation hub is located in Gaoliu Village situated in the northwestern part of Hefei City. The first arriving flight was China Eastern Airlines flight MU5172 from Beijing Capital International Airport. The first departing flight was China Eastern Airlines MU5468 to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Hefei Xinqiao International Airport provides scheduled passenger service to major airports in China and other international cities. Destinations include Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, Taipei (Taoyuan, Songshan), Kaohsiung, Taichung, Seoul, Cheongju, Yangyang, Jeju, Osaka, Nagoya, Shizuoka, Okayama, Boracay Island, Bali Island, Frankfurt, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Phuket Island and Krabi Island.
Hefei Metro is a rapid transit rail network under construction that will eventually serve both urban and rural areas of Hefei. As planned, Line 1 covers a total distance of 24 kilometres (15 miles) starting from Hefei Railway Station. It was inaugurated in December 2016.
In February 2013, Metro Line 2 also began its construction. It is being built alongside the Changjiang Dong Road, Changjiang Zhong Road and Changjiang Xi Road, which is a major passenger corridor in the east-west direction. It will pass through the city center area and connect to a transit point where passengers will be able to take the shuttle bus to Hefei Xinqiao International Airport. The project of Line 2 is planning to be finished in 2017.
In November 2015, Metro Line 3 construction began. Line 3 is expected to open in 2020. Line 3 will connect the New Station Exploitative-experimental Zone and the Economic Technology Development District, from the vocational education town to the university town.
Alongside Line 1, Line 2 and Line 3, Hefei is also planning to build other 12 metro lines, 4 lines of intra-metropolitan rail transit (to Lu'an, Huainan, Lujiang and Chaohu) and 3 lines of tram and hopefully accomplish the project by 2030.
There are two major lines of BRT in Hefei. The 1st line ranges from the downtown to the Binhu New Area (Chinese: 滨湖新区; pinyin: Bīnhú Xīn Qū) connecting the old urban district to the Binhu New Area..
Hefei plays an important role in scientific research in China. It has seven national laboratories, second only to Beijing: The National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (Chinese: 国家同步辐射实验室; pinyin: Guójiā tóngbù fúshè shíyàn shì), the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale (Chinese: 微尺度物质科学国家实验室; pinyin: Wēi chǐdù wùzhí kēxué guójiā shíyàn shì), both of which are under the University of Science and Technology of China. It also has the Institute of Solid State Physics, Institute of Plasma Physics, Institute of Intelligent Machines, High Magnetic Field Laboratory (founded in 2008), Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, all of which are under the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science which belongs to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Hefei is the location of EAST, an experimental superconducting tokamak magnetic fusion energy reactor.University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)
Hefei University of Technology (HFUT)
Anhui University (AHU)
Anhui Agricultural University (AHAU)
Anhui Medical University (AHMU)
Anhui University of Chinese Medicine (AUCM)
Anhui Jianzhu University (AHJU)
Hefei Normal University (HNU)
Hefei University (HU)
Beihang University (BUAA) - Hefei Campus
Yicheng Prison is located within the city. It was built during the 1983 "Strike Hard" campaign and was formerly Hefei Zhenxing Machine Parts Factory. On June 15, 1984 the Prov. Justice Dept. decided to change the name of the Machine Parts Factory's Internal Dept. to the Prov. Independent LRC. On March 17, 1986, the City's Party Committee and government agreed to the change. On April 26 more than 400 inmates were transferred to Hefei Shangzhangwei Farm and Baihu Farm. In February 1992 a secondary country level prison was created at the Shangzhangwei Farm. In August 1992 the Hefei City LRD level was upgraded by the government. June 1996 the prison was changed to its present name. It is currently controlled by Hefei city. It mainly houses prisoners with sentences of less than 5 years and houses up to 1000 prisoners a year. In the past 20 years, nearly 20,000 inmates have completed their sentences here. The prison mainly cultivates vegetables and rice but also cooperates with the Zhejiang Rongguang Group and produces soccer training shoes, soccer balls, tourism products, and other products.
Hefei has its own football team called Anhui Jiufang, who in the 2007–08 season were promoted from the Chinese Football Association Yi League to the Chinese Football Association Jia League which is the second highest tier of Chinese football.It was acquired by Tianjin Runyulong in 2011.Sanhe Town, ancient town which has a history of more than 2,500 years.
Xiaoyaojin Park, a public park sitting on the ancient site of the Battle of Xiaoyao Ford.
Temple of Lord Bao, built in 1066 near the tomb of Lord Bao.
Li Hongzhang's Former Residence (Chinese: 李鸿章故居; pinyin: Lǐhóngzhāng gùjū), built in the late 19th century and fully restored by the 1990s.
Hui Garden (Chinese: 徽园; pinyin: Huī yuán) (Opened to the public in September 2001)
Children's Welfare Institute (a.k.a. "Social Welfare Institute"), children's orphanage
Anhui Laomingguang Stadium, the home ground of Anhui Jiufang, but also used for other public sporting events.
Bao Zheng (999–1062), Northern Song dynasty bureaucrat and judge whose name has become synonymous with judicial wisdom and uprightness.
Chen Ning Yang, (b. 1922), 1957 Nobel Physics Prize laureate, for their work on parity nonconservation of weak interaction. One of the two earliest Chinese to receive the prize.
Han Qizhi, (b. 1970), first person to climb up the tallest building in China.
Li Hongzhang (1823–1901), prominent late Qing dynasty bureaucrat and diplomat.
Duan Qirui (1865–1936), the Provisional Chief Executive of Republic of China (in Beijing) from November 24, 1924 to April 20, 1926.
Yang Yuanqing (b. 1964), Chairman of Board of Lenovo.
Liu Mingchuan (1836–1896). Statesman during the late Qing dynasty, first governor of Taiwan.
Jin Jing (b. 1981), Paralympic fencer.
Chen Xiao (b. 1987), Chinese actor.
Yang Yang (b. 1991), Chinese actor.