Friday, August 8, 2008

Zhangjiajie City

Zhangjiajie is a rising tourist city famous for its unique natural scenery and abundant tourism resources. It is located in the northwest of Hunan province China, about 400 kilometers away from Changsha, capital of Hunan, covering a total area of 9,563 square kilometers with 76% mountainous area. Among the total population of 1.62 million, almost 72% people belong to ethic minorities, including Tujia , Bai and Miao nationalities.

Zhangjiajie is a prefecture-level city which consists of Yongding and Wulingyuan Districts, Cili and Sangzhi Counties. Wulingyuan District, also called Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, was listed into the World Natural Heritage Catalogue by the UNESCO in 1992, as it boasts the most beautiful natural scenery in China. What’s more, Zhangjiajie was awarded the title of “World Geological Park” in 2004 and honored as “Number-One Miraculous Mountain in the world “and "The Original Manuscript of Chinese Landscape Painting."

Quartz Sandstone Peak Forest and Karst Caves constitute the outstanding landscape features in Zhangjiajie , which is rare in the world. Here you'll find yourself with hundreds of grotesque peaks, beautiful waters, towering trees, deep valleys, marvelous caves and exuberant forest that have formed a complete primitive ecological environment. Indeed, Zhangjiajie is a perfect combination of the beauty of Guilin, the grotesqueness of Mount Huang, the peril of Mount Hua and the magnificence of Mount Tai. Therefore, it enjoys the reputation of “an enlarged potted landscaping”, “a miniature fairyland” as well as “a maze of nature”, integrating the characteristics of quietness, wildness, mystery, beauty, grotesqueness and elegance.

There are over 300 marvelous scenic spots in Zhangjiajie in which Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area is regarded as the core of Zhangjiajie attractions , occupying a total area of 397 square kilometers, including Zhangjiajie National Forest Park , two major Nature Reserves -Tianzi Mountain and Suoxi Valley and the new Yangjiajie Scenic Area. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, set up in 1982, is the first authorized national forest park in China, featured by its unique hills, queer ridges and peaks, tranquil valleys, thrilling streams and abundant fauna and flora with hospitable climate. There are six main scenic spots and over 90 smaller ones in the park,which will bring you a lot of excitement and fun.

Near the downtown area of Zhangjiajie stands grand Tianmen Mountain called “the Soul of Wuling" and there is a beautiful Maoyan River that enjoys the reputation of "one-hundred-li long painted corridor" , a Jiutian Cave named “the number-one cave in Asia” and other charming scenic spots in Wulingyuan. All these natural wonders are worth exploring. In addition, you can take great delight in touring the Puguang Buddhist Temple, Hongjiaguan- Former Residence of Marshal Helong, Tujia Folk Custom Park, the Old House and other cultural sites in Zhangjiajie.

After more than twenty years of development , tourism industry has become the leading industry in Zhangjiajie, along with other industries related to tourism growing rapidly. In the meantime, ecotourism in this city has been developed greatly. When you come to Zhangjiajie, you will not only enjoy magnificent natural scenery but also the appealing folk custom and the hospitality of local people as well as other thrilling tourist activities . We are sure that your visit to Zhangjiajie is really exciting, joyful and unforgettable.

Geological Features:

The geological formation of Zhangjiajie belongs to the New Cathaysian tectonic system. About three billion and eight thousand years ago, this place was a large patch of ocean. After a series of geological changes including Wuling-xuefeng, Indo-china, Yanshan, Himalayan and Neotectonic movements, the bottom of ocean rose out of the surface, and the quartzite sandstone pillars and peaks took shape after the gradual cutting, eroding and crumbling of Nature for millions of years.

The entire area is covered with towering cliffs of sandstone of quartz and dense unspoiled forests that conceal fantastic caves full of stalactites and stalagmites. The quartzite sandstone hills in Wulingyuan are unique in their large number and fairly pure composition . With the changes of seasons and the weather, they constantly present different views to spectators. The highest peak in this area is Tuerwangyue Feng or Rabbit Watching the Moon Peak and Mt. Tianzi is particularly recommended for its good view.

Climate Conditions:
Zhangjiajie belongs to the sub-tropical humid monsoon climate. Splendid mountains and thick trees help form a favorable climate: warm in winter and cool in summer. The annual average temperature is16℃ and the annual average sunshine hours and the amount of rainfall are 1440 hours and 1400 mm respectively. The average frost-free period over the past years is about 216 to 269 days a year. The charm of the scenery varies with the alternation of seasons, so it attracts visitors all year round.

Besides its pleasant climate, the primitive ecological environment also offers visitors a rare chance to breathe healthy air which is believed to be rich in negative oxygen. It is also believed that hypertension patient may have their blood pressure lowered if they stay in the forest park for a period of time. This is due to the fact that dust particles in the park are 88% lower and the air 10% mistier than outside.

History and indigenous culture:

In ancient times, Zhangjiajie was regarded as remote and inaccessible. The earliest human activities can be traced to 100, 000 years ago and the legendary god of Agriculture was said to live a reclusive life here. Local story also indicates that Zhang liang, a lord in the Han Dynasty , lived here in seclusion and was buried below Qingyan Mountain.

Zhangjiajie was formerly named Dayong city, founded in 1988.As Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is increasingly becoming known to world, Dayong city was renamed as Zhangjiajie city under the permission of the State Council in 1994. Now, Zhangjiajie has basically developed a large-scale, high-rank tourist resort where strange mountains, green lakes, deep caves, serene valleys and historical culture and special folk customs are well blended into a beautiful painting.

Zhangjiajie is home to major three ethnic groups—Tujia, Bai and Miao people, which together make up approximately 70% of the local population. Up to now, these people still remain much of their traditional culture, including the language, festivals, clothing, and architectural styles as well. The long history of many minorities and their folk customs such as marriage custom, singing and dancing together with modern culture all contribute to the charm of Zhangjiajie. One thing is certain: All of these will give you a lasting memory.

Zhangjiajie Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve

Tianzi Mountain lies in the northwest of Wulingyuan and stands at a position of tripartite confrontation with Zhangjiajie National Park, and Suoxi Valley. The mount is dotted with nearly 100 natural platforms for sightseeing, more than 2000 stone peaks and dozens of waterfalls and springs. The sea of clouds, the wavelike stone ranges, the snowscape in the winter and the sunrise are the most spectacular.

The surrounding spots are mainly composed of Yu Bi Feng , Xi Hai , Tian Zi Ge , Shen Tang Wan , and so on.

Yu Bi Feng

Xi Hai

Tian Zi Ge

Shen Tang Wan

In this subtropical virgin forest, everywhere you can see bizarre plant species and precious birds and animals. Visitors can reach Tianzi Mountain by telpher or via South Heaven Gate.

Zhangjiajie Maoyan River

Maoyan River is a 50-kilometer river lying in the upstream area of Li River in Yongding District of Zhangjiajie City. It is also called Rock River because of rocky cliffs on both sides of the river.
Maoyan River is famous for the green mountains along the river, clear water, queer rocks, many shoals and rapids. Drifting in the river one can experience the breathtaking feeling of drifting as well as enjoy the sight of the particularly beautiful scene along the river. There are over 30 scenic spots along the river. Among which the Rock River Gorge is the best of all. Cliffs rise steeply up to 500 meters. Many water falls are seen on both sides of the river. Shuidongzi Water Fall is the most magnificent one. Water pours out from a cave 70 meters above the river and formed a huge several decameters wide before it falls scattered into the river. It is no wonder that visitors enjoy lingering about such terrific mountains and rivers.


Zhangjiajie Yellow Dragon Cave

The Yellow Dragon Cave has four layers and covers an area of about 20 square kilometers. With a vertical height up to 100 meters, the cave is composed of one storage, two streams, three waterfalls, four pools, 13 platforms and 46 corridors, as well as countless stalagmites. Among all stalactites in the Yellow Dragon Cave, the most miraculous are Ding Hai Shen Zhen and Long Wang Bao Zuo . Ding Hai Shen Zhen stands 19.2 meters high at a diameter of 10 cm. In 1998, Ding Hai Shen Zhen is insured for the value of one hundred million yuan.


Zhangjiajie Yellow Dragon Cave

The Yellow Dragon Cave has four layers and covers an area of about 20 square kilometers. With a vertical height up to 100 meters, the cave is composed of one storage, two streams, three waterfalls, four pools, 13 platforms and 46 corridors, as well as countless stalagmites. Among all stalactites in the Yellow Dragon Cave, the most miraculous are Ding Hai Shen Zhen and Long Wang Bao Zuo . Ding Hai Shen Zhen stands 19.2 meters high at a diameter of 10 cm. In 1998, Ding Hai Shen Zhen is insured for the value of one hundred million yuan.


Zhangjiajie Tujia Folk Custom Park

With an area of over 5 hectares, Tujia Folk Custom Park is a large-scale cultural tourist attraction, which is mainly built to demonstrate Tujia people's folk custom in various aspects such as architecture, food, agriculture, military art etc. Most of the buildings here are constructed with wood and stone with the characteristics of carved girder and painted columns, upturned eaves, especially the exquisite workmanship and ingenious construction are greatly acclaimed by the tourists. What's more, tourists express much admiration on the programs held in the park of its splendid culture and magnificent folk custom. In April, 2001, former premier Zhu Rongji visited the park and gave a high appraisal of it. In September, 2002, the park successfully held a large-scale Maogusi Dance Party. This activity and the Nine-layer Diaojiaolou Building were listed in the Guinness World Record. The park was regarded as one of the 4A National Tourist Attractions in China in January, 2004.


Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park

Tianmen Mountain, which is only 8 kilometers away from the downtown and with elevation at 1518.6 meters, is the holy place of Zhangjiajie City and revered as “Soul of Zhangjiajie” and the first fairy mountain in western Hunan Province.

Tianmen Mountain is a tourist and holiday resort integrating miraculous unique geological appearances, old-line religious culture, extraordinarily splendorous humanity relics and abundant precious natural resources.


Tianmen Mountain Cableway, the longest passenger cableway in the world with a length of 7200 meters and a height gap of 1277 meters. It will give you an unforgettable memory in all your life.

Tongtian Avenue . Tongtian Avenue has 99 turns symbolizing that the Heaven has nine palaces. It is worth the title --- wonder of highway in the world. Through Tongtian Avenue, one reaches directly the Tianti--- celestial ladder. The grand celestial-like scene came into view.


There are altogether nine hundred and ninety-nine steps in the Tianti which runs to the Heaven Gate and is also the religious site for praying for happiness.

Tianmen Cave is the natural water-eroded cave with the highest elevation in the world. In the year 263, the thousand-meter high cliff of Songliang Mountain suddenly broke open into a door-like cave which became a rare wonder of the world. Hence Songliang Mountain is change to Tianmen Mountain. Tianmen Cave runs south-northward with a height of 131.5 meters, a width of 57 meters and a depth of 60 meters. It’s much like a gate towards the heaven.

In 1999, the masters of international stunt flying for the first time piloted the planes to fly through Tianmen Cave. There are 800 million audiences watching the live coverage.

In 2006, the Russia Air Force Aerobatic Flight Show was held in Zhangjiajie. It composed a new legend of Tianmen Mountain.


Tianmen Temple, which covers an area of more than 10,000 square meters, has enjoyed a booming scene of pilgrims’ worship since the Ming Dynasty, and is the Buddhist center of Western Hunan. It was first built in Ming Dynasty and the present Tianmen Mountain Temple is a rebuilt one on the original site.

Tianmen Academy, built in 1303, the seventh year of Dade Period in Yuan Dynasty. It was destroyed in a battle in 1352. The present one is a rebuilt one on the original site. It is a cultural holy place of Tianmen Mountain.

Tianmen Mountain is also the second national forest park in Zhangjiajie City. It boasts intact primitive forests. There are a flood of rare trees and some precious medicine herbs. Here is still the paradise of the animals. All these shape the mountain into a “primitive garden in the air” that can’t find in another place.