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INTRODUCTION TO SCENIC AREA
The Centennial Military Academy and Cradle of Generals
As twin symbols of culture and martial arts, Cuihu Lake Park and the Yunnan Military Academy have a history of more than 100 years and were once the “melting pot of revolutions”; the clear water in the lake continues the historical and cultural lineage of Kunming. The Yunnan Military Academy is a renowned military academy that had exerted an important influence on the early stage of the modern history of China. During the late period of the Qing Dynasty, the Yunnan Military Academy, the Beiyang Military Academy in Tianjin, and the Fengtian Military Academy in Northeast China were reputed as the top three military academies of China; and during the Republic of China, the Yunnan Military Academy was also in the same rank as the Baoding Military Academy and the Republic of China Military Academy (Whampoa Military Academy), and they together were acclaimed as the top three military academies of China.
The old site of the Yunnan Military Academy is located in Chenghua Garden, downtown Kunming. It is connected to Cuihu Lake in the east, Qianju Street in the west, Cangyuan Lane in the north, and the Yunnan Science and Technology Museum in the south. Founded in 1907 and reopened in 1909, it originally occupied an area of around 70,000 sm2. Its main buildings include a courtyard house as the main part, internal and external playgrounds for military training, an arsenal, a large auditorium, washrooms, screen walls, a small garden, a stable, etc. Covering an area of 7,600 sm2, the main part is a courtyard house built of soil, wood and stone with an eclectic style blending the features of both Chinese and Western architectures. There is an internal corridor with a length of 480 m—arguably the longest in China—connecting its eastern, western, northern and southern units. In terms of scale, it was once the largest and grandest among military academies of China.
The Yunnan Military Academy was closed in 1935. During its history of 28 years, nearly 10,000 students were trained. From 1935 to 1945, it served as “the fifth branch of the Republic of China Military Academy (Whampoa Military Academy)” in 1950. Then it was renamed as PLA Military and Political University of Southwest Military Region, Yunnan Branch in 1950, and the Third Army Infantry Academy of PLA in 1953. The third army infantry moved out of this building in 1958. In 1988, the State Council announced that the old site of the Yunnan Military Academy as a major historical and cultural site protected at the national level. In 1990, the Protection and Management Office for Yunnan Military Academy's Cultural Relics was established. And in 2009, the Yunnan Military Academy Museum was established.
Teachers and students of the Yunnan Military Academy have successively made significant contributions to the country and its people in the uprisings in Yunnan during the Revolution of 1911, the National Protection War, the Northern Expedition, the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the War of Liberation. Among them, there were a large number who later became military commanders and generals, making the Yunnan Military Academy the “cradle of famous generals.” Therefore, in Recollections of the Revolution of 1911, Zhu De, one of China’s greatest military leaders, called the Yunnan Military Academy as the “melting pot of revolutions.”
The Yunnan Military Academy has been successively honored as the “National Demonstration Base for Patriotic Education”, the “National Demonstration Base for Defense Education”, the “National Base for Cross-Strait Exchange”, the “National Classic Scenic Spot for Red Tourism”, and the “Cultivation Base on the Core Values of Contemporary Revolutionary Service Personnel.”
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