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Sichuan

                            
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Introduction to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

 

Geography

Sichuan, in China's western hinterland, covers most of the Sichuan Basin. Surrounded by mountains, it is situated at 26'03"-34'20" north latitude and 97'22"-110'10" east longitude with an area of 567,000 square kilometers, accounting for 5.1% of China's total area. Sichuan is high in the west and low in the east in terms of topography. Generally speaking, the western part is plateaus and mountainous regions some 4,000 meters above sea level, while the eastern part features basin and hilly land with an elevation between 1,000 and 3,000 meters.

 Climate
The climate in Sichuan is vastly different between its eastern and western parts. The Sichuan Basin has a humid sub-tropical monsoonal climate, with mild winters, hot summers, long frost-free period, plentiful rainfall and mist, high humidity, and less sunshine. Its average temperature in July, the hottest month, is 25-29oC; in January, the coldest month, 3-8oC. The Western Sichuan Plateau with its plateau climate has lower temperature and less rainfall than the Sichuan Basin, both of which differ again in the southern and northern sections of the plateau.
 
 Administrative Division and Population
 
It is divided into 5 districts, 3 autonomous prefectures, 13 prefecture-level cities, 18 county-level cities, 124 counties, and 3 autonomous counties, with a population of 83.29 million as of 2000.
 
 Food
 
Sichuan Cuisine, one of the Eight Great Cuisines in China, emphasizes the use of chili, red hot peppers and garlic. Typical menu items are: Hot Pot, Smoked Duck, Kung Pao Chicken, Twice Cooked Pork, Mapo Tofu. Shuizhu Niurou (steamed beef with a variety of seasonings and spices), Yuxiang Rousi (a roast pork dish cooked with bamboo shoots, mushrooms), Zhangcha Duck (salted, smoked duck), etc.
 
 Culture
 
Chuanju (Sichuan Opera),   Xieju (comic opera)
 
 Brief Introduction
 
Sichuan Province, Shu for short, is located in southwest China, with Chengdu as its capital city. Sichuan, generally classified as a rice region, abounds in agricultural products. It is listed as one of China's major producers of rice, wheat, cotton, rapeseeds, raw silk, oil-bearing crops, meat, and fruit, and also holds a significant place in production of medicinal herbs, pigs and cattle. Sichuan's major industrial products are metals, coal, petroleum, machinery, electric power, well salt, chemicals, electronics, textiles and foodstuff etc.
Sichuan is known as the "Land of Abundance" and has three places listed as the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, namely the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, the Huanglong Scenic Area, and Emei Mountain including the Leshan Giant Buddha. Visitors to this province can experience a wide variety of beautiful landscapes including plateaus, mountains, ravines, basins, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, hot springs, waterfalls and limestone caves. Most of the rivers in Sichuan belong to the Yangtze River system.
Sichuan is gifted with lush mountains and exquisite waters, and abounds in historical and cultural resources. Its main scenic spots and historical sites include Emei Mountain, Qingcheng Mountain, and Long Valley, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, Leshan Giant Buddha, and Jiuzhaigou (Nine-Village Valley). The Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan is home to the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base, one of the most important centers in the world for the captive conservation of the Giant Panda.

Mt. Emeishan

Emeishan is one of the four most sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. Local legend has it that the mountain derived its name from two peaks that face each other and resemble eyebrows. The undulating peaks, covered with lush forests and green bamboo occupy an area of more than 300 square kilometers (116 square miles) in southwest Sichuan Province.

Mt. Emeishan draws many types of visitors, from pilgrims making sacred journeys to climbers attempting to scale the magnificent heights. Most of the monasteries and temples on Mt. Emeishan were built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD), while others were added later. As a well-known Buddhist sanctuary, Mt. Emeishan once had more than 100 monasteries. The mountain is known for its steep cliffs, lofty peaks, roaring waterfalls, gurgling springs, towering trees and fragrant flowers.

Mt. Qingcheng

Qingcheng Mountain is located just southwest of Dujiangyan. Mt. Qingcheng is also known as Green City Mountain because the towering peaks covered with a dense forest of ancient trees are thought to resemble city battlements. Nestled among the lofty trees are 108 monasteries, temples and pavilions with the highest peak, Laoxiaoding (Old Heaven Top), rising 1,600 meters (5,250ft) above sea level.

Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area

Jiuzhaigou is a deep valley of stunning natural beauty, approximately 620 square kilometers (240 square miles) and is located in north Sichuan. It is a national park and has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The name Jiuzhaigou refers to the 9 Tibetan villages that are situated in the valley. The valley has a variety of natural scenery - lakes, waterfalls, snowy mountains and lush green forests. There are also more than 100 lakes of various sizes and shapes that sparkle with color in the flickering sunlight.

Huang Long Valley (Yellow Dragon Valley)

Huang Long Valley has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. In 1992 it entered 'China World Cultural and Natural Heritage List'. It covers an area of about 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) and has two parts: Huang Long and Muni Gorge.

Huang Long has unique scenery, rich natural resources and a primeval forest. The majestic and unrivalled emerald lakes, layered waterfalls, colorful forests, snow peaks and Tibetan folk villages blend harmoniously into the mountains and sparkle like jewels. Huang Long is known as a 'mountain fairyland.'

Dujiangyan Irrigation Project of China

The Dujiangyan Irrigation Project was completed around 250 BC during the Warring States Period. Prior to its construction, the Chengdu plain was prone to flooding in the winter and drought in the summer.

Libing, a governor of Shu in the Qin state, created the system. Libing employed a method of channeling and dividing the water to harness the Minjiang Rivers. This was accomplished by separating the project into two main parts; the headwork and the irrigation system. The project effectively controls flooding and provides a method of irrigation.

Leshan Giant Buddha

Leshan Giant Buddha is an enormous statue carved into the side of Lingyun Mountain. The Buddha is over 71 meters (230 feet) tall and is wide enough for more than 100 people to sit between its feet.

The massive carving began in 713 AD during the Tang Dynasty and was completed in 803 AD. The Buddha overlooks the confluence of the Min, Qingyi and Dadu rivers and is reputed to be the largest carved stone Buddha in the world. A local saying says, 'The Mountain is a Buddha, the Buddha is a mountain'.

Folk Customs

As one of the largest provinces, Sichuan has more than 15 minority ethnic groups living side by side with the Han people. Among these are the Yi, Hui, Quian, Tibetan and Miao people. Each of these minorities has its own charm, ethnic style and folk customs.

Each of the minorities also has its own festivals. Some of the local festivals are; the Leshan Giant Buddha International Tourist Festival, Southland Ice and Snow Festival, Liangshan Yi Ethnic Minority Torch Festival and Zigong Lantern Festival

As one of the largest provinces, Sichuan has more than 15 minority groups living with the Han people. Among these are the Yi, Hui, Tibetan and Miao peoples. Each of these minorities has its own charm, ethnic style and folk custom. Some of the ethical festivals like Leshan Great Buddha International Tourist Festival, Southland Ice and Snow Festival, Liangshan Yi Minority Torch Festival and Zigong Lantern Festival have become Sichuan's unique tourist resources