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Dalian is located on the southernmost tip of China's Liaodong Peninsular, jutting out into the Bohai Sea in the northeast, between China and North Korea. It governs six districts--Zhongshan, Xigang, Shahekou, Ganjingzi, Lushun and Jinzhou, three cities---Wafangdian, Pulandian, and Zhuanghe, and one county—Changhai. Dalian covers an area of 12,500 square kilometers with 5,370,000 inhabitants. It is 4 hours by train south of Shenyang, and it is a trading and financial center in northeastern Asia and has gained the name the 'Hong Kong of Northern China'.
Dalian Gulf is the old name of Dalian. It was first used by an official in his memorial to Emperor Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In the early 20th century, the gulf area developed quickly and Dalian expanded into a city of significant size and importance. After the Opium War in 1840, Dalian was plunged into warfare. At the end of the 1800s, Japanese and Russian invaders successively set their feet on the Chinese mainland here. In 1894, Japan invaded the Peninsular and in 1897 Russian troops occupied Lushun Port (Port Arthur) and imposed upon the Qing government an unfair contract, in which they ceded Lushun as a colony to Russia. Seven years later, Lushun was again transferred to Japanese rule, when the Russians lost in the Japanese-Russian War. From then on Dalian suffered from the colonial rule of Russia and Japan for decades. It was as recently as 1955 that the new Chinese government took over sovereignty of Lushun.
In the colonial periods, Russian and Japanese colonists wanted to establish a city of their own on this land. So a group of Russian architects fascinated with French culture came to Dalian with their construction blueprint of Paris and built all sorts of elegant squares with artistic sculptures, lush lawns and western-style fountains. These formed the architectural basis of the present city - taking squares as the center and radiating outwards. Today, the stylish women troopers patrolling the squares have become one feature of the city.
Dalian abounds in lawns, squares, fountains and gardens. Of Dalian, people say it is 'A City Built in Gardens'. There are two things that have earned the city a great reputation. One is Football and the other is Fashion. Given the name of 'Oriental Brazil', it hosts many Chinese football matches and has the most successful football teams in China. Another carnival event in the city is Dalian International Fashion Festival, during which thousands of dazzling celebrities, designers, pop stars and clothing merchants from both home and abroad get together to present an In-Fashion feast to the world. Consequently, Dalian stirs shopping lovers’ blood with all sorts of skyscraper shopping malls and markets.
Dalian has a coastline of 1,906 km or 73 percent of the total of Liaoning Province. Its land coastline totals 1,288 km and its island coastline amounts to 618km. Runing from downtown Dalian there is a 40-kilometer (25-mile) road known as Binhai Lu winding along the coastline, northeast to southwest. This coastal area is a paradise for beach vacationers. The famous scenic spots of Bangchuidao Scenic Area, Laohutan Scenic Area, Jinshitan Scenic Area and Xinghai Square are scattered around this region. In addition to the stunning cliffs and scenic parks, numerous places along the coastline are good for beach resort visitors and water sports lovers.
Lushun district is located in the southwest of Dalian, the former military and strategic port colonized by Russia. Today it is a place with museums and historical sites for tourists to learn the history of the city. Bingyu Valley, 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Dalian is home to an astonishing array of rock formations amidst limpid waters.
Dalian has rich marine resources. The seafood in Dalian is equal to its southern counterpart in Guangzhong Province and there are numerous restaurants in the city providing a wide variety of top-quality seafood at very reasonable prices. Numerous bathing places and beaches in the city are popular venues for Dalian's locals to relax from everyday work and stress. Young people, like those in many other metropolitan cities in China are trend pursuers who spend their evenings in bars and pubs throughout the city.
Dalian is a combined sea, land and air transport hub. Land, marine, and air transport of Dalian extends in all directions. Dalian harbor has forged trade and navigation ties with over 140 countries and regions in the world and is an ideal enterport of the "Eurasian Continental Bridge". The Shenyang-Dalian Railway, the Shenyang-Dalian Expressway, the Aihui-Dalian (from Dalian to Aihui County of Heilongjiang Province), the Hegang-Dalian (from Dalian to Hegang of Heilongjiang Province), and the Zhuanglin (from Zhuanghe to Linxi County of Inner Mongoha) national highways and other highways have been connected, constituted a concentrated railway and highway network and connected the three provinces of northeast China and the eastern part of Inner Mongolia. The Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport, one of the four international airports in China, has operated two overseas routes and 26 domestic routes.