In addition to the urban districts, Changde also administers the county-level city of Jinshi and six counties. Changde is adjacent to Dongting Lake to the east, the city of Yiyang to the south, Wuling and Xuefeng Mountains to the west, the area has been inhabited by humans since around 8,000 years ago. In that time, the city has changed several times. The city is known for the Battle of Changde during the Second Sino-Japanese War. In the past decade, the city has seen a construction boom. New highrises have sprung up, roads were rebuilt and new schools, parks, locals and tourists often visit the Changde Poetry Wall, covered in a variety of poems mostly from ancient China. The wall stretches for 3 kilometres along the Yuan River downtown and it is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest wall with engraved arts in the world. Changde is known for its many Paleolithic and Neolithic sites, about 500 of them have been discovered to date. In 1984 neolithic human settlements were discovered in Li County, part of Changde, in 1988, the Pengtoushan site was excavated leading to the identification of the Pengtoushan Culture. The site contains the earliest evidence of a settled village yet discovered in China, in historical times it was also a centre from which governments controlled the mountain tribes of western Hunan. A county, named Linyuan, was established there in the 2nd century BC, in the Han Dynasty the area was called Wuling County. In the Sui Dynasty, it was called Langzhou, during the Song Dynasty, it was called Dingcheng. In the Tang Dynasty it became the seat of Lang prefecture, in 1117, Changde county was established, and around 1165, Changde superior prefecture was established. The name Changde has been used for the city ever since and this status was retained until 1912, when the superior prefecture was abolished and the city became a county seat. In the late 19th century Changde became a commercial center. The merchants of the Taho quarter of the city controlled much of the northwestern Hunan economy, in the 1943 Battle of Changde, the Kuomintangs National Revolutionary Army attempted to stop the invading Japan Imperial troops from completing their invasion of Sichuan. Frustrated, the Japanese side employed chemical weapons to clear their way, during the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials, proof was presented of operations to contaminate the area with plague as early as 1941 and 1942. In 1975, Changde was hit by Typhoon Nina, located on the Yuan River upstream from its junction with the Lake Dongting system, Changde is a natural center of the northwest Hunan plain
Chinese soldiers defending Changde
Two fishermen on the Yuan river in downtown Changde. The bridge and Jiangnan district can be seen in the background.
One of Changde's many public bike rental stations on Renmin street.