Dali Ancient City
Dali is a place inhabited most by Bai people.
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Dali is one of China’s ancient and historical cities. In 109 BC, Emperor Wudi (156-87 BC, reigned 140-87 BC) of the Han Dynasty began to assert the central government’s power here by establishing Yeyu County. From the 8th to 13th century, Dali was the capital of the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms. Thus it became the political, economic, and cultural center of Yunnan. At that time it was a very important gateway for promoting cultural and trade relations between China and Southeast Asian countries. In the Travel Notes by the Italian famous traveler Marco Polo (c.1254-1324) and the great Chinese traveler Wu Xiake (1586-1641), tourists can find detailed descriptions about Dali. The existing ruins of Nanzhao Kingdom’s Taihe City, the Dehua Tablet the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, and Tablet Commemorating Kublai Khan’s Conquest of Yunnan are the witnesses of the ancient city. Dali is beautiful and charming with the lofty Mount Cangshan as its magnificent decorative screen and the Crystal Erhai Lake a vast mirror. Numerous historic and scenic spots are scattered about the green Mountains and around the lake. Each of it is connected with historical events or beautiful legends.
Dali is a place inhabited most by Bai people. Bai nationality’s architecture is characterized with its simple and classic elegance as well as delicat6e carvings. Most houses have courtyards with natural running water and bonsai 盆景 (the art of growing dwarfed, ornamentally shaped trees or shrubs in small, shallow pots) on display. The Bai women dress themselves in colourful and well-matched costumes. Various traditional festivals are celebrated each year with rich and exciting activities.
Great changes have taken place since 1978. At present, it turns out more than 1,500 kinds of industrial products, such as Dali marble, compressed tea lumps, marble inlaid furniture, straw weaving, and tie-dye cloth which are world famous. It is called “the land of fish and rice of western Yunnan.”
Tourists are usually fascinated by the town’s enchanting scenic spots in Dali, in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Mount Cangshan, Erhai Lake, Butterfly Spring and Dali’s well-preserved ancient architecture such as the Three Pagodas and the Chongsheng Temple are always on the tour itinerary. But they may also be deeply impressed by the folk artifacts—and the craftsmen and women who create them.
Butterfly Spring 蝴蝶泉
The Butterfly Spring is situated at the foot of Yunnong Peak of Cangshan Mountain. The water here is crystal clear and the place where the spring bubbles up attracts people with its tranquility. Legend has it that once upon a time, a beautiful and industrious maiden by the name of Wengu雯姑lived beside the pool. One day the local despot caught sight of her and, stunned by her beauty, wanted her as is eighth concubine. The girl turned down, but her tormentor kept insisting until she and her lover, a woodcutter named Xialang霞郎, drowned themselves together in the pool. All of a sudden, a crack appeared in the bottom of the pool and a pair of butterflies flew out. They danced and pursued each other; a host of butterflies of many inds came to be known as “Butterfly Spring,” hence the name. It is a fact that on the fifteenth day of the fourth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar (Butterfly Festival of Dali) thousands of butterflies converge on the camphor tree, and many tourists come especially to view the spectacle.
Dali Prefecture Museum 大理自治州博物馆
The imposing architecture of Dali Prefecture Museum, with high roofs and yellow tiles, stands in Xiaguan’s northeast sector near the approach to Erhai Park洱海公园. The museum has become an important site not only for tourists but also historians, archaeologists and scholars of minority studies from around the world. The museum presents the culture, history, architecture and ethnic variety of Dali Prefecture. The building complex has a strong flavour of Bai ethnic group who live in compact community in the region. Dali was once the capital of Nanzhao Kingdom南诏国 during the 8th and 9th centuries. Displays show many archaeological discoveries, photos, inscriptions and cultural objects, which present a picture of the ancient kingdom in various social aspects. Exhibition halls of the museum also display tools, fine pottery, bronze objects and a variety of cultural relics from Neolithic Age to the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.
Erhai Lake 洱海
Embracing 250 square kilometers, Erhai Lake lies at the eastern foot of the Cangshan Mountains and is a famous fresh-water lake, 40 kilometers long from north to south, 7 to 8 kilometers wide from east to west, lying on a plateau of 1,980 meters above sea level. The crescent-shaped lake contains crystal cool water. In praise of the beautiful scenery, people often say “Ten thousand acres of water reflect the sky like a mirror and the surrounding Mountains stand there like an evergreen screen in all the four seasons.” The lake teems with fish, such as mackerel, silver carp, crucian carp, stingrays, variegated carps (bigheads) and others. The lake shapes like an ear, and waves are big enough in the lake, hence the name.
Erhai Park 洱海公园
The Erhai Park is situated on the southern lakeside, 2 kilometers from Xiaguan. According to Man Shu《蛮书》(an ancient Chinese history book about Yunnan), the site used to be the deer hunting preserve of Nanzhao kings and was called Xilongshan Mountain during the Tang Dynasty. Nowadays, it is a public park and densely covered by green pine trees, flowers and other plants. Traditional styles buildings, such as Chinese pavilions, platforms, towers, chambers, corridors, and waterside halls have been constructed. Because of its unique location, the park offers visitors a vantage to view Cangshan Mountains and Erhai Lake.
Sanyue Street 三月街
Located at the foot of the Zhonghe Peak, the street is a traditional trade fair for Bai people. The fairs are held in March in lunar year and it last for 5 to 7 days. During the fair the well-traveled street is crammed with cloth sheds, and transactions are done with horses, mules, salt, tea, crude drugs, and daily necessities, etc. Legend relates that the fair began in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) for the purpose of offering to the Goddess of Mercy for her going up to Heaven. Buddhist believers gathered here and thus formed the Buddhist gathering. Since the founding of the new China, it has become a gala for the interflow of commodities, and at the same time performances are held with the salient features of ethnic groups.
The Cangshan Mountains 苍山
The Cangshan Mountains are located about 2 kilometers to the west of the city of Dali. The Horse and Dragon Peak马龙峰, the main peak, towers 4,122 meters above sea level and the mountaintop is covered with snow all the year round. Its slopes are covered with green trees and tea bushes. The area produces more than 100,000 kilograms of processed tea annually and is the home to the famous Yunnan White Tea. Fascinating brooks feature the mountains. Dali marble, Cliffside springs, remains of ancient glaciers and mists. Prized throughout China as a construction and ornamental material, Dali marble is peerless for hardness, coloration and interesting patterns. It has been quarried in the area for over 1,300 years. Tourists to Dali in August-September can enjoy the view of imaginative cloud patterns floating from behind the 4,000-meter Yuju Peak玉局峰in the Cangshan Mountains. These cloud patterns have evoked legends such as the one woven around a cloud said to resemble a woman longing for her husband. This interesting story, which has been handed down from generation to generation among the Bai people, is as follows. Over 1,000 years ago in the days of Nanzhao, one day the beautiful daughter of the King of Nanzhao named A’feng阿风公主princess, enjoyed palace life and fell in love with a young and brave hunter, named A’long阿龙. The couple eloped and hid on Yuju Peak. The King was enraged and had the young man arrested, killed and thrown into Erhai Lake. The princess A’feng in turn died of grief and anger and became a white cloud. Since then between August and September each year this cloud appears over Yuju Peak, and longed for her husband to appear. The cloud, snow, peaks and brooks are the four marvelous spectacles. The Cangshan Mountains and the Erhai Lake form peculiar Dali scenery.
The Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple 崇圣寺三塔
There pagodas are situated north of Dali City. The Three tall and ramrod pagodas stand at the foot of Lan Peak of Cangshan Mountain, making the landscape more beautiful and adding grandeur to the ancient city. The major pagoda, Qianxun Pagoda, was built in the period 824 to 839 in the Tang Dynasty. It is rectangular in shape; 69.13 meters high and divided into 16 tiers, while the two smaller ones, octagonal in shape have a height of 42.19 meters each and 10 tiers. In 1978 discovered during restoration efforts, are more than 600 cultural relics of the Tang and Song dynasties, including Buddhist scriptures, Buddhist statues, Buddhist musical instruments and copper mirrors. The renovation was completed in December 1980.
Diqing Zang Autonomous Prefecture 迪庆藏族自治州
Located in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province, the Diqing Prefecture consists of Three counties: Zhongdian, Deqing and Weixi. The Tibetan ethnic group people inhabet the scarcely populated land of 23,870 square kilometers. Other ethnic groups include Han, Bai, Naxi, Yi, Hui, Pumi, Lisu and Miao. On this land all the ethnic groups live together friendly. Different religions like Tibetan Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Catholicism, Islam, Bon and Dongba co-exist peacefully here. The Prefecture is a holy place with a long history, and brilliant civilization. The relics of the Geden Neolithic Age, which was founded in Weixi County, proves that human beings lived in the area about 7,000 years ago. The unearthed stone coffins and other relics in Deqing County indicated that ancestors of the Diqing people had created a rich culture. The ancient Tea-Horse Road, also called the Southern Silk Road connecting China to India, Nepal and then whole South Asian subcontinent, runs across Diqing.
What makes Diqing an attractive tourist destination is the mysterious and graceful scenery. On the Diqing Plateau a group of snow-capped Mountains at the lowest latitude in the northern hemisphere, namely, the Meili, Baimang, Haba and Balagengzong can be seen. The 6,740-meter Kagebo Peak, the main peak of the Meili Snow Mountain, is the highest in Yunnan Province and is also honoured as one of the eight holy Mountains by the Tibetan people. Other scenic spots include the Jinsha River, the source of the Yangtze River, the Lancang River, the Bitahai Lake, the White Water Terrace, the Songzanlin Temple and the Samage Natural Reserve. Tourists can actually See the Shangri-La* up close and personal in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
The Sanjiang Region (Nujiang, Jinshajiang, and Lancangjiang) Natural Scenes 三江（怒江﹑金沙江﹑澜沧江）并流自然景观
UNESCO listed the natural scenes of the Sanjiang Region, also known as Three Parallel Rivers as a World Heritage site, in southwest China’s Yunnan Province on the 27th annual session of UNESCO in Paris on July 2, 2003. It became the 29th Chinese property to join the World Heritage List. The scenic area’s name is derived from the Three rivers—Nujiang, Jinshajiang and Lancangjiang—which flow in parallel for more than 170 kilometers across northwestern Yunnan Province, and encompasses 41,000 square kilometers. The region features the magnificent view of the Three giant rivers, as well as the cultural interests of various ethnic groups in the area and rich biodiversity. The Sanjiang Region boasts rare high mountain landforms and outstanding biodiversity, The number of animal species alone in it accounts for more than 25 per cent of the nation’s total. Meanwhile, it is also a place where 16 ethnic groups are located and that pools many languages religions, and ethnic habits and cultures. Although the region only has less than 0.4 per cent of the total territory of China, it has more than 20 per cent kinds of advanced plants of the country’s total. The region is of great importance for geographic study.
More About Yunnan Province
- Dali Ancient City
Dali is a place inhabited most by Bai people.
- Kunming Introduction
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