A Guide to Sichuan Tourist Sites
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Sichuan is known as the "Land of Abundance" and has three places on the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List: Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, Huang Long Valley (Yellow Dragon Valley) and Mount Emeishan including Leshan Giant Buddha . Visitors to this province can experience a wide variety of beautiful landscapes including plateaus, mountains, ravines, basins, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and limestone caves. In addition, tourists can visit important historic relics and taste the delicious spicy Sichuan Cuisine .
What to see
Emeishan is one of the four most sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. Local legend has it that the mountain derived its name from two peaks that face each other and resemble eyebrows. The undulating peaks, covered with lush forests and green bamboo occupy an area of more than 300 square kilometers (116 square miles) in southwest Sichuan Province.
Mt. Emeishan draws many types of visitors, from pilgrims making sacred journeys to climbers attempting to scale the magnificent heights. Most of the monasteries and temples on Mt. Emeishan were built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD), while others were added later. As a well-known Buddhist sanctuary, Mt. Emeishan once had more than 100 monasteries. The mountain is known for its steep cliffs, lofty peaks, roaring waterfalls, gurgling springs, towering trees and fragrant flowers.
Qingcheng Mountain is located just southwest of Dujiangyan. Mt. Qingcheng is also known as Green City Mountain because the towering peaks covered with a dense forest of ancient trees are thought to resemble city battlements. Nestled among the lofty trees are 108 monasteries, temples and pavilions with the highest peak, Laoxiaoding (Old Heaven Top), rising 1,600 meters (5,250ft) above sea level.
Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area
Jiuzhaigou is a deep valley of stunning natural beauty, approximately 620 square kilometers (240 square miles) and is located in north Sichuan. It is a national park and has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The name Jiuzhaigou refers to the 9 Tibetan villages that are situated in the valley. The valley has a variety of natural scenery - lakes, waterfalls, snowy mountains and lush green forests. There are also more than 100 lakes of various sizes and shapes that sparkle with color in the flickering sunlight.
Huang Long Valley (Yellow Dragon Valley)
Huang Long Valley has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. In 1992 it entered "China World Cultural and Natural Heritage List". It covers an area of about 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) and has two parts: Huang Long and Muni Gorge.
Huang Long has unique scenery, rich natural resources and a primeval forest. The majestic and unrivalled emerald lakes, layered waterfalls, colorful forests, snow peaks and Tibetan folk villages blend harmoniously into the mountains and sparkle like jewels. Huang Long is known as a "mountain fairyland."
Dujiangyan Irrigation Project of China
The Dujiangyan Irrigation Project was completed around 250 BC during the Warring States Period. Prior to its construction, the Chengdu plain was prone to flooding in the winter and drought in the summer.
Libing, a governor of Shu in the Qin state, created the system. Libing employed a method of channeling and dividing the water to harness the Minjiang Rivers. This was accomplished by separating the project into two main parts; the headwork and the irrigation system. The project effectively controls flooding and provides a method of irrigation.
Leshan Giant Buddha
Leshan Giant Buddha is an enormous statue carved into the side of Lingyun Mountain. The Buddha is over 71 meters (230 feet) tall and is wide enough for more than 100 people to sit between its feet.
The massive carving began in 713 AD during the Tang Dynasty and was completed in 803 AD. The Buddha overlooks the confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu rivers and is reputed to be the largest carved stone Buddha in the world. A local saying says, "The Mountain is a Buddha, the Buddha is a mountain".
As one of the largest provinces, Sichuan has more than 15 minority ethnic groups living side by side with the Han people. Among these are the Yi, Hui, Quian, Tibetan and Miao people. Each of these minorities has its own charm, ethnic style and folk customs.
Each of the minorities also has its own festivals. Some of the local festivals are; the Leshan Giant Buddha International Tourist Festival, Southland Ice and Snow Festival, Liangshan Yi Ethnic Minority Torch Festival and Zigong Lantern Festival.
What to eat
Sichuan Cuisine is one of the Eight Great Cuisines in China and is famous all over the world for its richness and variety. Characterized by spicy and pungent flavors, Sichuan Cuisine, with a myriad of tastes, emphasizes the use of chili, red hot peppers and garlic. Sichuan food is known for being "spicy" hot! It's said that one who doesn't experience Sichuan food has never reached Sichuan. Typical menu items are: Hot Pot, Smoked Duck, Kung Pao Chicken, Twice Cooked Pork and Mapo Dofu.
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