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Useful Information | Lijiang Ancient Town | Jade Dragon Snow Mountain | Tiger Leaping Gorge | Baisha Old Town | Dongba Village | First Bend of the Yangtze River | Lugu Lake |

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Lijiang Ancient Town

The ancient city of Lijiang is found in Dayan Town, a largely Naxi settlement first built during the Southern Song Dynasty some eight centuries ago. In December 1986, the State Council designated the place as a famous ancient historical and cultural city of a national caliber. In 1997, the UNESCO put Lijiang on a list of the world major cultural heritages. With Sifang Street at the core, the entire city spreads out in all direction, and is crisscrossed by a labyrinth of flagged streets and alleyways. Most of the dwellings, scattered at the foot of a mountain or by the rivers which flow through every nook and corner of the city, are brick-and-tile structures with carved doors and painted windows. Traffic across the river is facilitated by a large number of tiny stone bridges. The entire city is evocative of a town south of the Yangtze River.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

15 kilometers north of Lijiang County Town, this magnificent snow-capped mountain sprawls 35 kilometers from north to south. Owing to the different altitudes of the mountain part, a combination of multifarious climates and temperatures is conspicuous and is conspicuous and is attributed to the mountain's modern oceanic glacial period. The mountain is well-known habitat of azaleas and rhododendrons. Thanks to the cable way of 2968 meters, tourists can easily reach the spot which is 4500m above sea level to enjoy the perpetual snow there.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge begins at Qiaotou village, Zhongdian County and ends at Daju village, Lijing. The gorge is 18 kilometers long at the upper reaches of the Jinsha River (the Golden Sand River). It is divided into three segments, the upper gorge, the middle gorge and the lower gorge. The most famous scenic areas of the upper gorge are the mouth of the gorge and Tiger Leaping Pebble. Mantianxing (the Sky Full of Stars) Reefs Area and Yixiantian (a huge rock crack) are the two most hazardous spots. They are in the middle gorge. In the lower gorge you can enjoy "Gaoxiao Pinghe" (the gorge and the lake) and the beautiful scenery of Daju. With a vertical height of 3,790 meters, the gorge is one of the deepest canyons in the world. The gorge's name is related to a legend in which a tiger once leaped across the narrowest point of the gorge where it is a 30 meters wide. Reefs of all shapes are abundant in the gorge. There are 21 rapids, 7 places where the water of the Golden Sand River (Jinsha River) drops 10 meters and 10 waterfalls. The grand Tiger Leaping Gorge is the result of geological changes of the Jinsha River and the Yulong Snow Mountain (the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain). Tiger Leaping Gorge is not only a scenic area but also a place with plentiful natural resources. According to experts' prospecting, it is feasible to build a hydroelectric dam at Tiger Leaping Gorge, the highest gorge in Asia. In addition, Tiger Leaping Gorge is the birthplace of the ancient Lijing culture, whose people lived in the many caves, big and small, in the Yulong Snow Mountain (the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain). These caves were naturally formed houses. In some caves, rock paintings about the life and products of primitive peoples were found. The rock paintings have now become another attraction of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is an ideal place for hikers. At present there are two paths: the first path starts from Lijing Old Town. Go to Qiaotou (Hutiaoxia Town or Tiger Leaping Town), Zhongdian County via Lashihai. You can get into the upper gorge there. Walk down along the east foot of the Haba Snow Mountain. It takes two days to walk through the gorge. The second path starts from Ganhaizi (the Dry Sea) situated on the eastern slop of the Yulong Snow Mountain (the Jade Snow Mountain). Go into the lower Tiger Leaping Gorge at Daju County, Lijing and hike up along the Jinsha River. Finally, get out of Tiger Leaping Gorge at the upper gorge. The tourism department of Lijing city plans to build a plank rode on the slope of the Yulong Snow Mountain to connect the trails in Yulong Snow Mountain.

Tiger Leaping Gorge has attracted many brave explorers over the last decade. Early in the 1930's, Rock, an American scholar made three successful flights over the gorge by plane and took many pictures of the gorge. These pictures made the gorge world renowned and became a famous place for explorers from all over the world. The gorge is regarded as one of the top ten hiking trails in China. At the mouth of the upper gorge, squeezed by the two snow-capped mountains and further blocked by the huge Tiger Leaping Pebble, the Golden Sand River is only 30 meters in width. The water there makes violent whirlpools and hits the banks so powerfully that soaring breakers are created. This really makes boating treacherous. However the high waves, soaring water, and the mountains shrouded with clouds and mist constitute the most magnificent scenes of the gorge and attract numerous brave explorers. In September, 1986, the Chinese Yangtze River Drifting Team drifted down Tiger Leaping Gorge for the first time. However, the first rafting was completed with a heavy toll. Sun Zhiling, a member of the team, and a journalist from "Youth World" magazine lost their lives.

Baisha Old Town

Baisha Old Town is one of the oldest towns in Lijiang. It is the earliest settlement of the Naxi people and is the birthplace of "Tusi", chief of the Mu clan. In the town there are many ancient buildings built during the Ming Dynasty, including Dabaoji Palace, Liuli Temple, and Wenchang Palace. The well-known Baisha Frescoes are located in Dabaoji Palace. Because of the white sand on the ground, the town was named "Baisha", which means "white sand". In the Naxi language, it is called "bengshi". The architectural complex is made up of two parts, folk residence and cultural sites. The folk residence is called "pengshizhi" which in the local language means "Baisha Streets". The streets all go from south to north. In the center of the old town there is a square where three thoroughfares intersect. Houses and small stores stand on the both sides of these streets. A crystal clear stream winds around all the houses flowing through the small town from north to south.

Dongba Village

Dongba Village in Yushui Stockade is built completely according to the traditional life style of Naxi Minority. You can feel the traditional atmosphere of national culture from the layout of its yard, building facilities, tools and details of life. The daily life in Dongba Village of Yushui stockade truly represents the life of Dongba, Naxi Minority. There are three Dongba Masters in the village, namely, Yangjiwen, Heliming and Hezhenwei. Now, several Dongba students are learning Dongba culture from the old Dongbas. In Mar 5th of lunar calendar, Dongbas from the whole Naxi district gather in Yushui stockade, holding the annual Dongba Shenluo Fair at Dongba Shenluo Temple.

First Bend of the Yangtze River

The First Bend of the Yangtze lies in Shigu Town, Lijiang. Rushing down from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, "the roof of the world", the Yangtze surges into Yunnan from its northwest, where it meets Lancang River and Nu River. Then, they go together through the high mountains and deep gorges of Hengduan Mountains. Rushing southwards from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Yangtze is blocked by the Hailuo Cliff at Shigu, Yunnan, which makes it turn roughly to northeast, forming a rare great bay of "V" shape, which is called the First Bay of the Yangtze. According to the geologist, the Yngtze flowed southwards along Hengduan Mountains to Jianchuan and Yangbi Gorge in ancient time; later, land movement resulted in the change of the landform, which forced the river to divert, forming the turn of its flowing direction from south to east.  Surrounded by water and mountains, the First Bay of the Yangtze has picturesque scenery, the river flowing slowly in the broad channel, a belt of willows growing along the bank, Yunling Mountains stretching around and enclosing it, tiers of terraced fields entwining the mountain slope, connecting with flat fields and farmhouses, which enjoys a reputation of mini Jiangnan (south of the Yangtze).

An ancestor composed this poem: "the surging river turns its direction here, then rushing magnificently into the middle land". There is a folk legend about the origin of the bay that: the three sisters, Nu Rive, Lancang River and Jinsha River, went to travel together.  After a quarrel breaking out between them half way into their journey, the eldest two sisters went southwards obstinately; Jinsha River, however, determined to look for brightness and love in the east where the sun rises.  So, when arriving at Shigu, she bid farewell to her sisters and turned to the east with fortitude. And the place where she turned around became the First Bay of the Yangtze. The river is broad at the Shigu Ferry, where the water flows slowly, which is suitable for ferrying across the river. So, it has always been a place of strategic importance in the history. It is said that during the Three States period, Zhuge Liang conquered the center of the south and crossed Lu (Jinsha River in ancient time) in May; in the year 1253 AD, Hubilie also crossed the river from Gennang; in Apr, 1936, led by Helong, Chinese Workers and Peasants Red Army crossed the river and went northwards to fight against the Japanese army. After liberation, at the slope behind the Shigu Monument, people established the Monument to Red Armys Ferrying in the Long March of 8.1 m high. Standing on the high slope, magnificent and solemn, it is the historical and cultural relics under state protection in Yunnan Province. The building standing before the monument is the Memorial Room of Red Armys Ferrying. The relics displayed in the exhibition room can give you a vivid picture of this great army half a century ago.

At the mountain besides the First Bend of the Yangtze, stands a small town which is named Shigu Town. That is because, in the town, there is a monument carved in the white marble in the shape of a drum, whose diameter is 15 m and thickness is 0.7 m. It is for memorizing the victory of the outspread of power of Baizhuang, the Tusi of Mu Family of Lijiang, during Jiajin years in the Ming Dynasty. Until now, it is one of the stone monuments built in the earliest period in Lijiang. On its right, there is a willow forest at the bank; on the left, the Chongjiang River flows. Across the river, there is the Tiehong Bridge of 17 m, boards paving on iron chains with iron chains as its fence on both sides. As an important town on the trade route for tea and horses between the inland and Tibet. Shigu Town has flourishing fair trade, which is very busy and held every three days.

Lugu Lake

Lugu Lake is located between Ninglang County, Yunnan province and Yanyuan County, Sichuan province. It covers an area of 52 square kilometers. The average depth of the lake is 45 meters and the deepest point is 93 meters. The water is so clear, that with the greatest visibility, you can see under water to about 12 meters. The lake water flows eastwards to the Yalong River and finally into the surging Jingshajiang River (the Golden Sand River). Lugu Lake is long and narrow, just like a gourd filled with limpid water. Lugu means "falling into the water". On the lakeside lives a special minority group known as the Mosuo, a rare group who still carry on a unique Axia marriage system called visiting marriage. Adult men can visit adult women's house at night. The lovers call each other "Axia" which means "dear lover". The Mosuo people worship female gods and women are the heads of their families. Because of the unique matriarchy, well-preserved by the Mosuo people, the Mosuo society is called "Girls Kingdom". It is a living fossil of matrilineal society. Thanks to the mountains, Lugu Lake had remained hidden away in a peaceful world until the 1970's, when it was connected with Ninglang County by roads. Without the pollution of modern industry the water of the lake is so clear that at some points you can see to the bottom.


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