Clockwise from the top: Skyline of Handan, Guangfu Ancient City, Qibugou Scenic Area, wide view of downtown, Congtai Park, statue of foreign-clothed cavalry
Dream City (梦城)
Location of Handan City jurisdiction in Hebei
Location of Handan City jurisdiction in Hebei
Handan is located in Hebei
Location of the city center in Hebei
Handan is located in Northern China
Handan (Northern China)
Handan is located in China
Handan (China)
Coordinates (Shanxi–Hebei–ShandongHenan Revolution Memorial Park / (晋冀鲁豫革命纪念园): 36°36′04″N 114°29′13″E / 36.601°N 114.487°E / 36.601; 114.487
CountryPeople's Republic of China
Settled6500 BC
EstablishedNovember 15, 1983
 • Prefecture-level city12,068 km2 (4,659 sq mi)
 • Urban556.00 km2 (214.67 sq mi)
 • Districts[1]2,649.1 km2 (1,022.8 sq mi)
 • Prefecture-level city9,433,000
 • Density780/km2 (2,000/sq mi)
 • Urban2,845,790
 • Districts[1]
 • Prefecture-level cityCN¥ 315 billion
US$ 50.5 billion
 • Per capitaCN¥ 33,450
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard)
ISO 3166 codeCN-HE-04
Vehicle registration冀D
"Handan" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese邯鄲
Simplified Chinese邯郸
Literal meaning"the city at the terminus of Mount Han"

Handan is a prefecture-level city located in the southwest of Hebei province, China. The southernmost prefecture-level city of the province, it borders Xingtai on the north, and the provinces of Shanxi on the west, Henan on the south and Shandong on the east. At the 2010 census, its population was 9,174,683 inhabitants whom 2,845,790 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made of 5 urban districts. Yongnian District in Handan and Shahe City in Xingtai have largely formed into a single conurbation.

Handan is one of the oldest cities in China[broken anchor], first settled in 6500 BC by the Cishan culture. Throughout the city's long history, it contributed significantly to Chinese culture, serving as the capital of State of Zhao, was northern China's political, economic and cultural center, and home to Tai chi and the first compass, made from stones collected in the nearby Mount Ci (magnet mountain). Handan is designated as one of China's National Famous Historical and Cultural Cities.[4][5][6][7]


The city's name, Handan (Chinese: ), has remained unchanged for over 2,000 years. The name first appeared during the reign of King Zhou of Shang, in the chronicle Bamboo Annals.[8]

A dictionary from the Tang dynasty explained that "Han" (Chinese: ) is the name of a nearby mountain (Hanshan), and "Dan" (Chinese: ) meant "the terminus of a mountain" with an added radical (Chinese: ) denoting a city. Together, "Handan" means "the city at the terminus of Mount Han". This explanation has been widely accepted until the discoveries of jade writings in Houma, Shanxi in 1965, where the "Dan" in Handan was spelt "", meaning red. This then lead to another explanation that Handan was named so because Mount Han appeared reddish-purple in color.[8]

The different spellings of the city's name consolidated into the modern spelling in Qin dynasty.[8]


Map of the archaeological site of Warring States Era Handan

Handan, once well-defended from southern attack by a bend in the Zhang River, was a city of the state of Zhao during the Warring States period (5th–3rd centuries BCE) of Chinese history. It was their second capital, after Zhongmu. King Wuling of Zhao turned Zhao into one of the Qin state's most stalwart foes, pioneering the use of walls to secure new frontiers (which would inspire the eventual construction of the Great Wall of China). The city was conquered by the State of Qin after the virtual annexation of Zhao by Qin except for the Dai Commandery. The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang was born in Handan, the child of a statesman from the state of Qin and after successfully conquering Zhao he ordered all enemies of his mother to be buried alive. The conquest of Zhao, particularly the Qin siege of Handan, is featured extensively in Chen Kaige's classic film, The Emperor and the Assassin.

At the beginning of the Han dynasty, Handan was Liu Bang's base for suppressing Chen Xi's rebellion in 197 and 196 BCE; it was still regarded as a regional center of culture and commerce at the end of the dynasty in the early 3rd century CE. It slowly declined, perhaps because of the numerous battles that ravaged northern China following the Han dynasty, but maintained a reputation for its fine Cizhou ware well into the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). It was also the birthplace in the 19th century of Yang-style tai chi, one of Tai Chi's five major schools.

Though much of Handan's ancient history is no longer visible, it still has some attractions, deriving from the many Chinese idioms that the city inspired,[9] such as the road into which Lin Xiangru, courier of the precious Heshibi, backed in order to let his nemesis Lian Po pass first, as well as the location in which Lian Po begged for Lin Xiangru's forgiveness. Modern-day Congtai Park is located on the site of the historical Zhao court. Next to Congtai Park is the legendary "Xuebu Bridge" (学步桥), or "Learning to Walk Bridge". Legend has it that a noble from the state of Yan heard of a particularly elegant manner of walking unique to Handan. Arriving in Handan, he spent weeks trying to master the Handan style of walking on a bridge, only to fail. In the process, however, he had forgotten how to walk normally and had to crawl back to Yan. This story inspired the Chinese expression, "to learn the walk of Handan" (邯郸学步, Hándān xué bù), which means learning something difficult too intensely, thereby forgetting the basics in the process.[10]

The nearby Xiangtangshan Caves contain massive Buddha statues carved into the mountainside, some dating to the 6th century, many of which were severely damaged by invading Japanese forces during World War II. At that time, Handan was prized by the Japanese invaders for its coal reserves.

In 2007, Handan was the location of China's largest-ever bank robbery.


The population at the 2010 census was 941,427 for the 3 urban districts, 2,845,790 for the built up area and 9,174,683 for the entire Prefecture-level city area of 12,068 km2 (4,659 sq mi).

The municipal executive, legislative and judiciary are situated in Congtai District (丛台区, Cóngtái Qū), as well as the CPC and Public Security bureaux.

Name Chinese Pinyin Population (2004 est.) Area (km2) Density (/km2)
Congtai District 丛台区 Cóngtái Qū 330,000 28[citation needed] 11,786
Hanshan District 邯山区 Hánshān Qū 310,000 32[citation needed] 9,688
Fuxing District 复兴区 Fùxīng Qū 250,000 37[citation needed] 6,757
Fengfeng Mining District 峰峰矿区 Fēngfēng Kuàngqū 500,000 353 1,416
Feixiang District 肥乡区 Féixiāng Qū 310,000 496 625
Yongnian District 永年区 Yǒngnián Qū 860,000 898 958
Wu'an City 武安市 Wǔ'ān Shì 720,000 1,806 399
Handan County (Defunct since 2016) 邯郸县 Hándān Xiàn 400,000 522 766
Linzhang County 临漳县 Línzhāng Xiàn 590,000 744 793
Cheng'an County 成安县 Chéng'ān Xiàn 370,000 485 763
Daming County 大名县 Dàmíng Xiàn 750,000 1,052 713
She County 涉县 Shè Xiàn 390,000 1,509 258
Ci County 磁县 Cí Xiàn 640,000 1,035 618
Qiu County 邱县 Qiū Xiàn 200,000 448 446
Jize County 鸡泽县 Jīzé Xiàn 250,000 337 742
Guangping County 广平县 Guǎngpíng Xiàn 250,000 320 781
Guantao County 馆陶县 Guǎntáo Xiàn 290,000 456 636
Wei County 魏县 Wèi Xiàn 810,000 862 940
Quzhou County 曲周县 Qǔzhōu Xiàn 410,000 667 615


Handan has a monsoon-influenced humid continental climate/semi-arid climate (Köppen Dwa/BSk), with strong monsoonal influence, typical of the North China Plain. The normal monthly daily mean temperature ranges from −0.9 °C (30.4 °F) in January to 27.3 °C (81.1 °F) in July, while the annual mean temperature is 14.3 °C (57.7 °F). A majority of the normal annual precipitation of 502 mm (19.8 in) occurs in July and August.

Climate data for Handan (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.7
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 4.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.7
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −4.5
Record low °C (°F) −15.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 3.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 2.4 3.1 2.8 5.2 6.5 8.2 10.8 9.6 7.0 5.4 3.8 2.3 67.1
Average snowy days 3.7 3.0 1.1 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.3 2.7 12
Average relative humidity (%) 57 53 50 54 56 56 72 76 69 64 64 60 61
Mean monthly sunshine hours 133.1 149.2 198.5 222.3 252.7 228.4 192.1 193.7 179.5 177.0 144.3 138.0 2,208.8
Percent possible sunshine 43 48 53 56 58 52 43 47 49 51 48 46 50
Source: China Meteorological Administration[11][12]


Map including Handan (labeled as HAN-TAN 邯鄲) (AMS, 1953)

Handan has witnessed rapid growth over the past 20 years. Industrial growth in the city has focused on communication and transport activities. Handan is a major producer of coal and steel, with Coal mines at Fengfeng providing power for Handan's iron, steel and textile mills. Chemical and cement plants along with other industries also benefit. Local agriculture produces maize, pomegranates and eggs.[13] Handan also has a growing services sector, with retail, banking and trading making up 40% of the economy.[14] The GDP per capita in Renminbi was estimated at ¥13,449 in 2005. In 2015, the figure was ¥33,554.87.

Air pollution

According to a survey by "Global voices China" in February 2013, Handan was one of China's most polluted cities due to heavy industrial outputs.[15]

However the government has made a significant effort to make the city cleaner, which involved closing down many polluting power plants. It is no longer the most polluted city, and, according to a 2016 government survey, the number of good air quality days is 189 days, an increase of 135 days compared with 2013.[16]


Handan Prefecture is home to the AAAAA tourist attractions Guangfu Ancient City and the Nüwa Imperial Palace.


Handan is served by Handan Airport. Handan has two main train stations: one is Handan railway station which serves for the normal speed train, the other is named Handandong railway station, which serves for the high speed train.


Ethnic minorities

According to Handan government in 2007, 40 ethnic groups were present in Handan. Ethnic minorities represent 50,000 people, among which 48,000 Hui. There are 22 Hui schools and 5 Hui junior high schools in Handan.[17]


The most widespread religion in Handan is Chinese folk religion, including Taoism and Buddhism.

In 2013, there were more than 150,000 Catholics in Handan according to the Catholic Church, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Yongnian.[18] Mother of Grace Cathedral in Daming County was built in 1918. The most recent church was built in 2007.[19]

There are also 300,000 Protestants. The largest Protestant church is on Qianjin Avenue (邯郸市西堂) and was built in 1997.[20] The oldest church was on Congtai Street and was built in 1920. The church was destroyed in 2009 by the local government.[21] A new church was built in 2011.[22]

According to the local government 30,000 Hui Muslims live in the prefecture of Handan.[23]



Handan is hailed as the capital of Chinese idioms.[24] As a prosperous city and cultural center during the Warring States period, Handan attracted many scholars. Over 1,500 idioms and proverbs are attributed to the city.[9] The following are some of the most well known idioms.

Notable people

Sister cities


  1. ^ a b c d Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, ed. (2019). China Urban Construction Statistical Yearbook 2017. Beijing: China Statistics Press. p. 46. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  2. ^ 河北11市最新人口排名出炉 唐山排第四 - 政策 -唐山乐居网. ts.leju.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  3. ^ 河北省统计局、国家统计局河北调查总队. 《河北经济年鉴-2018》. 中国统计出版社. ISBN 978-7-5356-7824-9. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  4. ^ "Handan, China". City of Dubuque. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
  5. ^ "磁山——指南针的故乡". Handan Cultural Net. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
  6. ^ "永年:太极之乡文化"醉人"". Wenming.cn. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
  7. ^ "河北最内敛的城市, 河北南大门, 2016年GDP列河北第五". 温柔小胖虎. 18 April 2018. Retrieved 2020-03-15.
  8. ^ a b c "河北邯郸市:一座盛产成语典故的千年古都". 河北日报. Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  9. ^ a b "City of the idiom". 2011-10-14.
  10. ^ "Chinese Word: 邯郸学步". Purple Culture. Retrieved 2020-01-28.
  11. ^ 中国气象数据网 – WeatherBk Data (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  12. ^ 中国气象数据网 (in Simplified Chinese). China Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  13. ^ Patton, Dominique. "China's chickens need to lay a billion eggs a day. Here's how..." U.K. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  14. ^ "Handan (Hebei) City Information | HKTDC". china-trade-research.hktdc.com. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  15. ^ Bildner, Eli (February 27, 2013). "Interactive Maps of China's Most–and Least–Polluted Places". Global Voices China. newsmotion.org. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  16. ^ Xu, Hui (徐辉). 【治霾·京津冀在行动】邯郸六大战役推动大气污染深度治理. CCTV-NEWS (in Simplified Chinese).
  17. ^ 邯郸概貌 (in Chinese (China)). Handan People's Government.
  18. ^ Fides, Agenzia. 亚洲/中国 - 河北邯郸(永年)教区六位执事晋铎 - Agenzia Fides. www.fides.org (in Simplified Chinese). Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  19. ^ "邯郸市南门里天主教堂". Archived from the original on 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  20. ^ 基督教 (in Chinese (China)). Ethnic Affairs Commission of Hebei Province. Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  21. ^ 杜树杰同志在全区三年大变样"百日攻坚大会战"动员大会上的讲话 (in Chinese (China)). Handan People's Government. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  22. ^ 邯郸市基督教北关教堂简史_河北省-邯郸市-基督教会-北堂 -邯郸基督教北堂 (in Chinese (China)). Christian Church of Handan. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  23. ^ Chinanews.com Hebei 邯郸建成千人回族幼儿园 服务流动少数民族 (in Chinese (China)). 2011-11-29.
  24. ^ 海纳百闻 "中国成语典故之都"在哪里? (in Chinese (China)). 2019-12-27.
  25. ^ Города-побратимы. Нижний Тагил. Администрация Нижнего Тагила.
  26. ^ Перелік державних та муніципальних сайтів. Kryvyi Rih City. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.