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The Grand Taihang Canyon - a must-see tourist attraction in China

Source: China Pictorial [2009-06-11 16:33:26]

Shibanyan Village.

Five hundred kilometers to the south of Beijing is the ancient city of Anyang, where was discovered Jiaguwen, the inscriptions on animal bones and tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th Century B.C.), from which modern Chinese characters evolved. Here was also excavated the Simuwu bronze tripod, the largest of its kind in the world, and here the Book of Changes was conceived.

In addition to abundant historical and cultural attractions, the place also boasts a well-preserved ecological environment, ideal for a short getaway from the city.

The Taihang Mountains stretch far and wide across northern China. One of the most scenic sections of the mountains is within the boundary of Anyang City in Henan Province. In China, the mountains in the south are typically elegant, while those of the north are imposing. Mount Linlu is regarded as being magnificently representative of mountains in the north. The scenic area, with well-integrated natural and manmade attractions, has remained a well-known scenic spot since the Fifth Century.

Although a tourist site with a long history, the area remains unspoiled, offering green mountains, clear waters and fresh air. In recent years, an international gliding base was established in the area, adding a little ecologically-friendly color and excitement.

The Grand Taihang Canyon extends 50 kilometers within the Mount Linlu Scenic Area. Peaks upon peaks and huge rocks resembling hanging swords were formed billions of years ago during an active movement of Earth's crust. Hills, peaks, platforms, cliffs, gorges, waterfalls and springs in diverse forms offer more than 400 scenic spots.

Among many attractions, three are especially appealing to tourists. The peach trees on the mountainside in Peach Blossom Valley bloom full in midwinter. A place known as Bingbingbei begins to ice up every year with the coming of spring, with the ice beginning to melt away after August; and in midwinter, Bingbingbei is abundant with warm springs and lush vegetation.

A rock known as "Predictor in Wilderness" is the other wonder of this scenic area. The rectangular rock in deep reddish purple is encircled by mountains. Named Pig Crying Rock, its "head" faces west while its tail is thrust eastward into the earth beneath the cliffs. The section of the rock above the surface is about four cubic meters. It is said that the rock will produce sounds like that made by a pig while running whenever an important event is about to take place. A lifeless rock is thus imbued with legend, and many people come to have a look.

Waterfalls can be found throughout the canyon, thundering down from the high mountains, and gently washing down over one platform after another.

The 346-meter-tall Peach Blossom Waterfall is probably the highest of its kind in Asia. Contrasting with the thundering waterfalls, Ping Lake is calm. Now and then, a passing boat will create some ripples, which will soon disappear without a trace. And the clouds pooling around Mount Linlu present a fairyland-like scene.

In this natural art gallery is the world-class international gliding base. Located 1,600 meters above sea level on the peak of Mount Linlu, the landform here offers an ideal launch platform.

Mount Linlu is distinctively separated from the Linlu Basin. Air currents rise along the cliffs to finally gather at the 60-angle peak. The peak covers an area of 16,000 square meters and can accommodate up to 30 gliders launching simultaneously. Gliding competitions have been held here annually since 1992.


The 1,500-meter-long Red Flag Canal was under construction
for 10 years in the 1960s. Today it is a local lifeline.

The Red Flag Canal, a man-made wonder of the 1960s, is also located in the scenic area. Local people spent 10 years cutting the 1,500-meter-long canal on the towering and cragged Taihang Mountains.

At the point where the eight-meter-wide trunk canal reaches the diversion conduits, it transforms into three main canals, each with thousands of branches and sub-branches. Thanks to these canals, life on this once dry land thrives.

The cutting of the canal on the mountain proved to be an arduous task. To build the canal local people chopped even 1,250 peaks, set in place 152 aqueduct bridges, cut 211 tunnels and constructed 12,408 buildings.

Today, the Red Flag Canal is deemed to be something more than just an example of irrigation work; it is a symbol of self-reliance, hard work, unity and devotion. It represents the unremitting endeavor and spirit of the Chinese people in their pursuing of ideals and goals.


Waterfalls are seen throughout the canyon.

Deep in the Taihang Mountains, there are many small villages. The farm houses there are built of mountain rocks. Stone houses, stone courtyards, stone walls, stone towers, stone stairs and stone rollers can be found everywhere in the villages. To spend one or two nights in the village and savor the simple and delicious dishes prepared by villagers is a highlight of a short getaway in the mountains.

Views in Mount Linlu change with the seasons. In the springtime, the soft and moist mountain slopes look like a painter's palette covered with light-yellow and snow-white patches of flowers. In the summertime, the grand canyon becomes a green corridor, and the scene of clouds streaming out in the glow of the evening is spectacular. It is a colorful world dyed by the autumn hues in the fall, while in the winter it is snow white, revealing the firm lines of the terraces.

Most tourists come to the canyon for sightseeing, relaxing, camping and gliding. In recent years, many art school students have come to sketch and paint, and some television and film production studios also use this place as a location for their shoots.


Driving from Beijing: Take the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway to Anyang City, exit to Anlin Highway to Linzhou City. It is a six-hour drive covering a 600-kilometer distance. Road signs will show the way to the Red Flag Canal, the Grand Taihang Canyon and other scenic spots. Local travel services offer one-day, two-day, and three-day package tours.


Farmhouses in the mountains.


Autumn harvest.


The Grand Taihang Canyon extends 50 kilometers within the Mount Linlu Scenic Area.


An international gliding base was established in the area, adding a little ecologically-friendly
color and excitement.


Taihang Mountains in winter.


Although a tourist site with a long history, the area remains unspoiled, offering green
mountains, clear waters and fresh air.


Autumn harvest.


Winter time.

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