Shaoshan (Shao Shan) is known as the birthplace of China’s leader from 1949 to 1976, Mao Zedong. Known as Chairman Mao, he was the communist leader of the People’s Republic of China.
Mao was a controversial figure, both revered as akin to a deity and loathed as the architect of political purges and the Cultural Revolution in China, in which millions of lives were lost in his campaign against capitalism. During his rule, Shao Shan was a place of pilgrimage, visited by thousands of worshippers each day.
Today, Shao Shan has a series of museums to Chairman Mao, including his family home which houses a collection of memorabilia relating to the former leader.
Shaoshan, meaning ‘splendid mountain’, became a place of note when in 1893, the future leader of communist China Mao Zedong was born there. His parents were prosperous peasants and it was while working his father’s farm that Mao read political and historical tracts shaping his political consciousness.
Later, the village was an important base during the Chinese Communist Revolution and would remain an area of red tourism where Mao and China’s communist origins have driven local economies.
Each year over 20 million people make the pilgrimage to Mao Zedong’s rural birthplace in Shaoshan. Frozen in time, Mao’s birthplace (a 1950s replica) is a one-way system through the various rooms of his house and a great place to start any tour of Shaoshan.
Cross the fields surrounding the house before heading to the free Chairman Mao Museum. Most of the information is in English, although be aware there is a heavy focus on Maos successes.
Next door to this is the Mao Zedong Exhibition Hall, which commemorates his life. Finally, nearby is the Mao Ancestral Temple and an unmissable 6 metre-high bronze statue of the leader, erected in 1993 in the main Square.
Getting to Shaoshan
Only 81 miles south of Changsha, Shaoshan can be done in a day trip. There are several high-speed trains leaving from Changsha South train station every hour and take just 25 minutes.
Once you arrive at Shaoshan train station there are 3 ways to get to Chairman Mao’s birthplace: you can get a taxi or tourist bus. The Shaoshan tourist bus is the easiest option and will cost between 3-5RMB, taking you directly to Shaoshan visitor centre.