Unlike the heavily touristy areas in China (i.e. Beijing, Xi'an, and Hangzhou), that contain numerous palaces, temples and museums, and that emphasize their long history and rich culture, Dalian offers you a totally different experience.
Dalian started out as a small fishing village a little over 100 years ago. Since then Dalian has seen its share of triumphs and tragedies: The first half was a period full of power struggles and disasters, whereas the second got more stable and saw more growth and prosperity.
In 1894, the Sino-Japanese War broke out, and later in 1895, Japan gained the Liaoning Peninsula. The Qing Government wrest the land back the same year, yet in 1898 the court ceded Dalien (Dalian) to Russia again.
In 1899 Russia changed the name of "Dalien" to "Dalny", which means "a faraway city" in Russian. Russia's main objective was to develop the Dalian and Lushun port facilities and allow for easier transit to Siberia and inland locations in Russia.
This occupation was short lived. In 1905, after its victory in the Russia-Japan War, Japan recaptured the city. For the locals this was a period of great confusion and sorrow.
In August 1945, the last of the hostile foreign troops left, leaving Dalian to become the first liberated city in the newly founded People's Republic of China. From then on Dalian has developed into an important base for heavy industry.
It has been well-known for its excellence in port development, shipbuilding and locomotive manufacture. In 1984, Dalian began to open up with the aim of building itself into a regional hub for communication, trade, finance, information, and tourism. In 1988, the Dalian International Fashion Festival began.
In 1992, under the "Aiming at the best instead of the largest" concept, the local government launched a drive to modernize and beautify the city.
This program has been immensely successful and Dalian was soon bestowed with honors such as the "International Excellent Model of Environment Improvement", the "UN Human Habitat Award" and the "Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environment Achievement". "Fashion City", "Soccer City", "Home of Track and Field", "City of Romance"...
Among Dalian's colorful monikers, approvals from two generations of China's top leaders are worthy of notice: at the end of the 1980s, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of China's reforming & opening-up Policy, gave Dalian the epigraph as "the window of the Northeast" and in 1999, President Jiang Zemin said of Dalian, a "bright pearl shines over the North".
Dalian, a young city,
Dalian, a great city,
Dalian, is even a hopeful city,
Dalian, nestles upon fresh green mountains, and links with deep-blue sea;
Dalianese, bearing the amicability of the mountain and hospitality from the sea, open their arms, to embrace your coming.
Dalian welcomes you!