Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Danxia , China
















Bordering on Hunan Province to the further north and Jiangxi Province to the east, Shaoguan is a hub of communications connecting Central China with South China. It lies in the north of Guangdong Province, thus having been called the northern Gate of Guangdong. Covering an area of 18,579 square kilometers (7,173 square miles), Shaoguan has a population of 3,148,500 (2003) and consists of three urban districts, six counties and two cities. With a long history, an important geographic location, aged cultural tradition and rich natural resources, Shaoguan is an excellent tourist city in China, a national advanced clean city and a civilized city in Guangdong as well.

History
Shaoguan is one of the earliest birthplaces of Lingnan's ancient culture, the native place of Maba People and the rising place of Shixia's culture. As early as 100 thousand years ago, the ancestors of North Guangdong labored and lived here. Shaoguan was called Shaozhou in Sui Dynasty (581 - 618) and set up the customhouse in Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) and thus began to be called the present name.

Landform
At Shaoguan, the Wu River from the northwest and the Zhen River from the northeast join up to create the Beijiang River which flows south to Guangzhou. Shaoguan's downtown area lies on a peninsula shaped by the Zhen River and the Wu River. There are seven bridges crossing the three rivers. Located in a comparatively high mountainous region, Shaoguan City is popular for its beautiful natural scenery with a few hot springs.

Climate
Shaoguan is in the middle subtropical monsoon area of humid type. The four seasons are very distinct with a lot rain in summer and occasionally snowfall in winter. The annual rainfall is 1,910 millimeters (6.3 feet) and the average annual temperature is 20.7 degrees Celsius (69.3 degrees Fahrenheit). The rainy season and hot season are basically of the same time, favorable to plant growth and agricultural production.

Tourist Resources
Shaoguan has peculiar landscapes and rich tourist resources. It has 11 scenic spots, conservation areas, forest parks, key temples and cultural relics at national level and 19 scenic spots, temples and cultural relics at provincial level, such as Fengcailou Mansion, Mausoleum of Zhang Jiuling, Mt. Furongshan and Maozifeng Peak. The most well known natural view is Danxia Mountain, one of the four famous mountains of Guangdong Province, distinctive for its steep stone walls, peaks and pillars. Besides, there is a modern communication network of railways, highways and waterways organically connected. Shaoguan has become a modern city with convenient transport facilities and it was rated as China's Excellent Tourist City in 2001.

- Mount Danxia -

Located in the northeast of Shaoguan city in Guangdong Province, Mount Danxia is called 'Red Stone Park of China', 45 kilometers (28 miles) away from downtown Shaoguan. Danxia means the 'red rays of the sun' in Chinese words. It is the peculiar landform characterized by red steep cliffs, flat valleys and sheer body. Geologist classifies the same sort of such formations into 'Danxia Landform'. Mount Danxia is the most beautiful and typical among the other 700 landforms which are to be found elsewhere in China.

The recognition of Mount Danxia can be traced back to 1,500 years ago, when our ancestors approached it and put their admiration into beautiful poems. The numberless sized red stone peaks, stone walls, stone bridges and the like are scattered randomly over the mountain.

What impress us most are the peaks. The top is flat, one or more sides are almost upright cliffs, while the opposite side is the gently sloping hill. More often the gentle places are covered by lush vegetation, and the place that the red stones expose are usually the craggy cliffs. The unique body endows the peaks with the beauty of majesty as well as the charm of softness. Standing in front of the cliffs, the stone wall of hundreds of meters high is like the magnificent pillar that holds up the sky. Overlooking the mountain from afar, the line of the summit and mountain slopes brings you a feeling of softness and intimacy.

The peculiar red stone in Mount Danxia came into being 100 million years ago. It was an inland basin here at that time in which the surrounding rocks broke and accumulated. It was pretty hot and dry then, thus the rock was oxidized and turned rusty. Undergoing a period of 30,000,000 years, the deposits in the basin gradually transformed into red sandstone and conglomerate. Later, as a result of the crustal movement, the land rose and turned into the mountainous area. The long-time erosion made it present Danxia Landform constituted by red sandstone.

Mount Danxia is not only bright in color, but peculiar in outlook. Yangyuan Stone, Yinyuan Stone and Longlin Stone are the most distinctive among the others. Yangyuan Stone is a colossal stone rising sharply into the sky with the height of 28 meters (92 feet) and the diameter of 7 meters(7.7 yards). Yinyuan Stone is a crack that was eroded by the running water on the mountain, and it is considered as the 'Mother Stone' and 'Source of Life'. The two special stones face each other across the mountain, one is masculine and the other is feminine, one is firm and the other is tender. The perfect match of the two stones is far enough to stir up your astonishment and exclamation. The surface of Longlin Stone has some similarity to the scale of the dragon, connected to be the lines by thousands of honeycomb-like holes. The color of the epiphytic moss varies as the climate changes, resembling a huge dragon on the stone wall, undoubtedly a wonder in nature.

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