Guyuan Travel Guide
Last updated by drwi at 2014/10/30
Located at the southern extreme of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the city of Guyuan is contiguous with Gansu Province on three sides, and borders Ningxia's Zhongwei and Tongxin Counties to the north. The city, being one of the main population centers for Ningxia's Hui ethnic minority, is, not surprisingly, made up of almost 50% ethnic Hui.
The city of Guyuan has a long history as a stopping-off point along the northern route of the ancient Silk Road. The city has historically been of strategic military importance, where it lay on the earliest stretch - the Qin (BCE 221-207) Dynasty stretch - of the Great Wall, and before that it is believed that the city served as a key crossroads between more settled Han Chinese peoples who tilled the land and grew crops, and more nomadic tribes - primarily Altaic peoples - who conducted trade with the Han Chinese farmers, and who, alas, occasionally conducted raids against them, which latter occurrence eventually led to the creation of the Great Wall, China's "Hadrian's Wall", which latter wall was designed to keep "barbarians" beyond the limits of the then Roman Empire, in what is now northern England (construction on the Great Wall as an outer perimeter for the first unified China, which took place during the Qin Dynasty, predates Hadrian's Wall, construction on which began first 300 years later, in CE 122).
Guyuan's most beautiful natural attraction is Mt. Liupan, aka Long Mountain in English. Mt. Lupian/ Long Mountain has been a popular summer resort since time immemorial due to its temperate climate, being neither too hot – not even in summer – nor too cold. The mountain, which stretches some 250 kilometers in a north-south direction (hence its nickname), borders Ningxia's loess highlands to the north (loess is a term for 'windblown deposits of fine-grained, calcareous silt and/or clay'), and Shaanxi Province – as well as the watershed of the Wei and Jing Rivers – to the south. In fact, the name Liupan derives from the presence of the Wei and Jing Rivers, which originate on the slopes of Mt. Liupan and which are so winding here that it takes six sharp turns, or "liupan", to reach the top of the mountain.
Mt. Liupan is part lush green mountain and part rugged gorge landscape, with spectacular waterfalls and tranquil pools, some filled with lotus plants and all filled with fishes, birds, and other wildlife. Mt. Liupan's forests, criss-crossed by refreshing mountain streams, nurture a diverse wildlife. The main scenic area of Mt. Liupan is in fact a forest park and a nature reserve, while at Mt. Liupan's southeastern foot, in the headwaters of the Jing River, is located the scenic site of Old Dragon Pond.
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