1.051 million (2000)
Sichuan University of Science and Engineering
Zigong (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade–Giles: ), formed by the merger of the two former towns of Ziliujing (Tzuliuching) and Gongjing (Kungching), is a prefecture-level city and the third largest city in Sichuan province, Peoples Republic of China.
Zigong is located in the Sichuan Basin, and has an area extension of 4,372.6 km2 (1,688.3 sq mi). Granted the recognition as one of the Historical and Cultural Cities of China by the State Council of the Peoples Republic of China. Zigong has long been renowned as "Salt City" for its brine extraction techniques and the attendant salt-related culture. In ancient China, Salt was regarded as the energy for body and valued higher even than Gold. Therefore, salt trading was always the most profitable business and salt merchants were the wealthiest people. Hence, Zigong had always been one of the richest cities in China until the founding of Peoples Republic of China with the introduction of new salt producing methods and advancing of technologies. It has had the Zigong Salt Museum since 1736.
The Fuxi River, a tributary to the Yangtze River, snakes through the citys core. The area is very humid and the visibility can be reduced dramatically in the area due to ground fog. The humidity and fog of Zigong can be attributed to that it sits on what was once a vast inland sea. Changes in the environment caused the water levels to subside leaving salt, brine, and natural gas.
During the summer months, the temperatures can reach as high as 40 °C (104 °F); during the winter months the temperatures hover around 15.5 °C (60 °F). The humidity hovers between 80% and 90% year round.
Using the coordinates link, one can find aerial photographic views, satellite imagery, night views, and road maps: Coordinates: (29°20?6.60?N 104°46?25.39?E)
Zigong is situated south of the Sichuan basin hill country. To the east of Zigong is Luzhou and to the west of Zigong is Leshan. To Zigongs south is Yibin and to the north-east is the city of Neijiang.
The area of Zigong has a long history in ancient China - with the invention and development of "Percussion Drilling rig" being one of the citys accomplishments. There are essentially two cities - that of the old and the new. The city was reached by rail in the 1950s. Several four-lane highways reach the city from other cities in the Sichuan province. The new city of Zigong has been modernizing since the late 1970s - but more rapidly since the early 1990s. The old "Salt" city is based on industry and farmland and a new "Tourism" city which caters primarily to Chinese tourists (as Zigong is better known within mainland China). Zigong is host to the Sichuan University of Science and Engineering as well as a new High Technology Zone.
Salt was once one of the major sources of revenue for China. To give an idea of how much money was generated from salt in China - after the fall of the last emperor, the Republic of China under Sun Yat-sen secured loans based upon the revenues of the Chinese Salt Administration (the government agency in charge of taxation on salt). The chief inspector of that administration stated "The best salt in China is produced from the salt wells of Sichuan". The best salt wells in Sichuan are in Zigong.
Zigong is the originator of the Chinese Lantern Festival - which has been copied in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. As one of the Historical and Cultural Cities of China, Zigong is called "Lantern Town in the South Kingdom". In recent years, although the annual lantern show forces the local residents endure unpredictable and extended blackouts during Chinas Spring Festival, the lantern festival is a boon for tourism in the remote but tranquil city and generates large revenues for the local government. The pattern of Lantern Show, a paradigm of Chinas festival economy, has been copied throughout China, which dilutes the uniqueness of Zigongs original version. As a measure to promote the city, the lantern show has already been brought to many cities in mainland China and even southeast Asia throughout of the years.
Since China is on a Lunar calendar - known in the west as the Chinese calendar, Spring Festival - which is also known as Chinese New Year will vary each year on a Gregorian calendar - but is roughly between January 16 and February 19 each year - depending on which of the Twelve earthly branches it is currently.
The Lantern Festival has been going on since the Tang dynasty and gets more elaborate each year and is certainly a sight to behold.