Country PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA
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Kunming is a prefecture-level city and capital of Yunnan province, in southwestern China.
Because of its year-round temperate climate, Kunming is often called the "Spring City" or
"City of Eternal Spring".
Kunming is the political, economic, communications and cultural center of Yunnan,
and is the seat of the provincial government.
It is also home to several universities, museums, galleries and other important economic,
cultural, and educational institutions.
The headquarters of many of Yunnan's large businesses are in Kunming as well.
It was important during World War II as a Chinese military center, American air base,
and transport terminus for the Burma Road.
Located in the middle of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Kunming is located at an altitude of 1,900 m
above sea level and at a latitude north of the Tropic of Cancer.
It covers an area of 21,501 km² and its urban area covers 6,200 km².
Kunming has an estimated population of 5,740,000 including 3,055,000 in the urban area and
is located at the northern edge of the large Lake Dian, surrounded by temples and lake-and-limestone
Kunming consists of an old, previously walled city, a modern commercial district,
residential and university areas.
The city has an astronomical observatory, and its institutions of higher learning include
Yunnan University, Yunnan Normal University, Yunnan Minorities University and a medical college.
On the outskirts is a famed bronze temple, dating from the Ming dynasty.
Kunming was formerly called Yunnanfu (literally meaning "Yunnan Capital") until the 1920s.
It is the leading transportation hub (air, road, rail) in SW China, with a rail connection to
Vietnam and road links to Burma and Laos.
Kunming currently has a new international airport under development,
which is slated to be the fourth largest international airport in China.
Situated in a fertile plain 640 km southwest of Chongqing,
Kunming is an important trading center between the far west and central and south China.
It is one of China's largest producers of copper. Copper is smelted with nearby hydroelectric power.
Coal is mined, and the city has a few iron and steel complexes.
Other manufactures include phosphorus, chemicals, machinery, textiles, paper, and cement.
Although it was often the seat of kings in ancient times, Kunming's modern prosperity dates only from 1910,
when the railroad from Hanoi was built.
The city has continued to develop rapidly under China's modernization efforts.
Kunming's streets have widened while office buildings and housing projects develop at a fast pace.
Kunming has been designated a special tourism center and as such sports a proliferation
of high-rises and luxury hotels.
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