Known as Mukden, Shenyang has traditionally been the political and economic center of Manchuria. Inhabited by apemen 280,000 years ago, Shenyang has a history of 2,700 years.
Shenyang was the capital of Manchu from 1625 until 1644 before the Manchus conquered the entire China and moved to Beijing as the Qing Dynasty.
The city was occupied by the Russians around the turn of the century as part of their 'railway colonialism'. In 1905, a decisive battle of the Russo-Japanese war was fought and won here by the Japanese. During the 1920's and 1930's, Zhang Tsolin, one of China's most powerful warlords, resided in Shenyang. He was later killed by Japanese in 1931. This incidence marked Japanese aggression in China. Shenyang rapidly changed hands-in turn dominated by warlords, the Japanese (1931), the Russians (1945), the Kuomintang (1946) and the CCCP (1948). The present population is around six million (for an area of 8500 sq.km., the urban population is 4.2 million), which reflects more than a tenfold increase since 1949.
Shenyang is now the capital of Liaoning province, which borders North Korea. Like Changchun and Harbin, Shenyang is a heavy industrial and modernized city. During the process of modernization, however, Shengyang did manage to maintain some of its old characters.
The Palace Museum is Shenyang's most famous tourist attraction. It is one of only two intact imperial palaces, although much smaller and less extravagant than the one in Beijing.