Zhengzhou is the capital city of Henan Province, and an important railway hub on the Beijing-Guangzhou and Xi'an-Shanghai rail lines. It is home to the national grain wholesale market and a new high-tech science park. Along with its modern economic position, Zhengzhou played a key role in China's early civilization as the site of an early Shang dynasty walled city some 3,500 years ago. Here and at nearby Anyang China's early bronze industry developed for military and ritual use, and remains of the ancient Shang city foundations and wall are still visible on the outskirts of town.
Situated south of the Yellow River and east of the Songshan River, Zhengzhou was one of China's earliest cities, thought to have been the second capital of the Shang dynasty some 3,500 years ago. Archaeological sites around Zhengzhou have yielded abundant Neolithic pottery and technologically early forms of the bronze ritual vessels and weaponry that were defining elements of Shang material culture.
Zhengzhou's status as a transport and economic center has roots as far back as the Sui and Tang periods (late 6th to early 10th century), when canals connected Zhengzhou's grain markets to the Yellow River. Zhengzhou's importance declined along with nearby Luoyang after the Song established their capital at Kaifeng to the east. Zhengzhou emerged as a transportation hub again in the 20th century with the building of railroad lines. It played an important role in the railroad "Strike of February 7" in 1923, and has become one of Asia's most important freight transfer hubs.