By Zhou Mengya in Features

This historic residence, which also houses the Yunnan Uprising Memorial Hall, is located at 4 Cuihu South Road and was originally the private home of Lu Han, a former general and chairman of the Yunnan Provincial Government. Lu is best known as leader of the peaceful Yunnan Uprising, which began right here in late 1949.

Surrounded by dense greenery, the imposing mansion was built in the 1930s in a distinctively French architectural style. Indeed, this is by far the largest and best-preserved building of its type remaining in Kunming today.

Backyard of the residence

The site covers an area of over 4,600 square meters and, whilst the main building is French in style, the garden is typically Chinese in its layout. In the late 1940s, Lu had another two-story western-style building added to the complex, connecting it with the original building.

Lu Han (1895 - 1974) was born in Zhaotong Prefecture, located in the northeast of Yunnan Province, and went on to graduate from the Yunnan Military Academy. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, he held a number of senior leadership positions in the military. After the Japanese surrendered in 1945, Lu and his troops were sent to Vietnam to participate in the end of the occupation there, and In December of that same year he was appointed Chairman of Yunnan Province.

Corridor on the first floor of the residence

Late in the evening on December 9, 1949, it was from here, his home and office, that Lu Han initiated the Yunnan Uprising, an event that saw the province join the People's Republic of China. Lu later went on to donate this historic residence to the provincial government of Yunnan.

Today, you'll find the scene from that evening faithfully recreated in the conference room by way waxwork diorama, offering visitors a glimpse into the events that took place here in 1949.

Scene of the meeting on the night of uprising recreated in the conference room by way waxwork diorama

Whilst such dramatic events lie firmly in the past, the Yunnan Uprising Memorial Hall allows visitors the opportunity to virtually travel back in time and learn about the events that took place all those years ago, through a number of different displays.

Climbing up to the second floor, guests can explore the bedrooms of Lu Han and his wife as well as a small office, each of the rooms offering charming views over nearby Green Lake, known locally as Cuihu.

Street alongsides Green Lake outside of the residence

With plenty of old-world ambiance, the elegant architecture and expansive gardens feel like an intimate escape from the hustle and bustle of the city outside, whilst still offering a real window into the past.

Anyone enjoying a stroll around Green Lake today should absolutely ensure they devote a half hour or so to exploring the Lu Han Residence and taking themselves a couple of steps back into one of modern China's most formative and fascinating eras.

Scene of the meeting on the night of uprising recreated in another meeting room by way waxwork diorama