Chengdu is the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province. Chengdu's history dates back to at least the 4th century B.C., when it served as capital for the Shu Kingdom. Artifacts from that dynasty are the focus of the Jinsha Site Museum. The city is also home to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a conservation center where visitors can view endangered giant pandas in a natural habitat and is a popular stopover for visitors enroute to Jiuhaigou National Park. For first-timers in Sichuan’s capital, travel to Chengdu Panda Base is a must.  The capital is also synonymous with its spicy hotpot. Named a Unesco City of Gastronomy in 2011, Chengdu’s culinary fame which includes the renowned ingredient of Sichuan peppercorns is long established in a country known for its vibrant and diverse food scene.  Other places of interest include the 71 metres high Leshan Buddha; Mount Emei, one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism; Mount Qingcheng, the birthplace of Chinese Taoism in the second century AD and the Dujiangyan ancient irrigation system to name a few.