Kunming has plans to become a center of tourism, finance, horticulture and a communications hub linking China and Southeast Asia.
Random photo: Impressions of China
Encompassing 21.688 square kilometers, and with a population of 4.73 million, Kunming (known as the Spring City 春城), a famous historical and cultural city, is also a beautiful tourists’ destination. Neither cold nor hot, the city where people can enjoy flowers throughout the whole year is like spring all the time. It is therefore known as “Spring City” because every season is like spring. The city has appeared on the worldwide map because of its international horticulture exposition in 1999.
A classic museum piece is the unearthed relics of Yuanmou Man, from some 1.7 million years ago. The finding indicates that Chinese people might have originated in Yunnan.
Kunming has plans to become a center of tourism, finance, horticulture and a communications hub linking China and Southeast Asia. Cities should bring together a combination of capital, talent, technology and information. The most important function of a city is to provinde an environment conducive to habitation, transportation, services and transmission of information. Kunming has 10 city-improvement projects in the works, including a water-supply project at the Zhangliu River, the project to clean up the Dianchi Lake, the construction of Caohai Ecological Garden and a clean up of the upper reaches of the Jinsha and Zhujiang rivers. All this is aimed at making Kunming cleaner and beautiful. Now that emphasis is being put on the development of western China, Kunming has been chosen as one of the four trial cities to improve transportation and environmental conditions.
Dianchi Lake 滇池
Blue-green algae—which has threatened Dianchi Lake, the biggest Lake in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, for three decades—will soon be out of control again. The provincial government has spent more than 3 billion yuan (US $ 361 million) during the past decade trying to bring the algae under control. Blue-green algae, a kind of water plant, grows easily in polluted water with a high concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus and with temperatures around 18 degrees centigrade. Too much Blue-green algae will remove oxygen from the water killing fish and other aquatic life, and can turn Dianchi into a “dead” lake. Blue-green algae had been threatening Dianchi Lake since 1970s. In 1999, blue-green algae covered 20 square kilometers of the lake, one-fifteenth of the lake’s total area. Since 1983, the provincial government has tried to curb the growth of Blue-green algae. Four sewage Treatment plants were built near the lake. They are able to treat a total of 365,000 tons of wastewater each day. In 1999, a government-led campaign spurred 249 of the 253 factories along the Lake to stop dumping their industrial sewage into the lake. The government also spent 250 million yuan (US $ 30 million) to dredge 4.2 million cubic meters of mud. The network to collect sewage is incomplete and more than 80 per cent of domestic sewage with fertilizers and pesticides still flow into the Lake through 16 rivers.
Tanhua Temple 昙花寺
Located 3 kilometers east of downtown Kunming, the Tanhua Temple has a history of more than 300 years. The gilded statues of Buddha in the Main Hall glisters under the sun, making it look brand new. Instead of the statues originally surrounding the Buddha, images of 500 Arhats are new carved on the wall inside of the hall. There are also many old pavilions, winding corridors, pagodas, statues of deities, steles with traditional Chinese characters and, of course, the 357-year-old yulan magnolia trees (Magnolia denudata) in front part of the temple. Some newer structures are also quite pleasant looking, such as the Ruiying Pagoda. Standing on top of the gentle slope of the back Garden in the temple, the tourist can See the newly completed octagonal pagoda, which is a good example of this. On its top floor, the tourist can overlook downtown Kunming and catch a sight of the rolling Western Hills to the north. The lush surrounding forests of bamboo and pine trees give good shelter for various singing birds and comfortable shade for the tourist, making the Temple a feast for both the eye and the ears.
World Horticultural Exposition Garden 世界园艺博览园
The China Kunming International Horticultural Exposition ’99 was held in Kunming from May 1 to October 31 lasting 184 days. The five indoor exhibition halls included the Chinese Hall, the Man and Nature Hall, the Large Greenhouse, the Science and Technology Hall and the International Hall. The six special exhibition gardens included the Tree Garden树木园, the Tea Garden茶园, the Bamboo Garden竹园, the Potted Landscape Garden盆景园, the Medicinal Herb’s Garden药草园 as well as the Vegetable and Fruits Garden蔬菜瓜果园. The three outdoor exhibition areas were for different countries and regions, international organizations and enterprises. The annual average temperature is 15.1 degrees centigrade in Kunming.
Yuantong (Accommodating Tact) Temple 圆通寺
Located in downtown Kunming, the Yuantong Temple is the biggest Temple in the city. The Temple was built at the foot of Luofeng Hill in late 8th century and first named Butuoluo Temple. But years of war greatly devastated the Temple during the 12th century. In 1301 a new one, named Yuantong Temple, was constructed at the original site. Later it was extended several times during the following dynasties. Famed for its grand architecture and design, the Temple was built on a hill slope. Standing at the huge archway, inscribed with the characters of Yuantong shengjing (Yuantong Landscape) near the gate. From there, the tourist can get a bird’s eye view of the Temple as it expands down the slope. A wide path runs along the archway and leads to a huge pool. The surroundings look more like a Garden than a temple. In the middle of the pool is an octagonal two-storey pavilion built in the Qing Dynasty. A winding corridor along the bank of the pool leads up to the major structure of the temple—Yuantong Hall. A huge statue of Sanshi Buddha and the two dragons sculpted around the pillars are both vivid and stunning. Along the steps leading up to the summit of the hill there is a wealth of stone inscriptions that still remain clea after hundreds of years with wind and rain. Behind the Hall are two ancient caves—Yougu Cave and Chaoyin Cave. It is said that a monster lived in the caves and killed many local people. A stage was built by a monk beside the caves for taming the monster. There many outcasts set up the cottages.
More About Yunnan Province
- Gold Horse and Jade Cock Archways
Gold Horse and Jade Cock Archways The Archways are located in Jinbi Street, the Gold and Jade Street.
- Kunming Black Dragon Pool
Kunming Black Dragon Pool It is said that there was once a black dragon living in its namesake, the Black Dragon pool.
- Kunming Western Hills
Kunming Western Hills Located approximately 15 kilometers from Kunming, the Western Hills spread out across a long wedge of parkland on the western side of Lake Dianchi.
- Kunming Zhenqing Cultural Square
Kunming Zhenqing Cultural Square Construction of Zhenqing Cultural Square - a new tourist attraction started in 2001 and it was accomplished in February 2003.