Jiuquan
A Brief Survey
Jiuquan,"Wine Spring',is a vital communications point on the ancient Silk Road. It was orginally called "Su". The name for Gansu Province is taken from "Gan",present day Zhangye ,and "Su".
Jiuquan today is a city with an area of 3,886 square kilometers and a population of about 300,000. It is one of the important bases for commodity grains in Gansu, mainly producing wheat, corn, linseed, soybean, and millet, as well as potatos, sweetroot, garlic, melons and fruit. In Jiuquan, there are 6,667 mu of lakes and marshland ,over 8,000 mu of fishponds,and 120,000 mu of forests. Minerals are also abundant here, including red sands, asbestos, moulding clay, coal ,iron ore, lead,zinc, plaster, jade, gold, silver, copper and chromium. Jiuquan is also a communications hub.

Scenic Spots
Jiuquan has become an important tourist site in Gansu. There are many picturesque scenes here, the most famous ones are Jiuquan Park,the Bell Tower, Manjusri Mountain, and the Mural Tombs of the Eastern Jin.

Jiuquan Park
Jiuquan Park is also called Spring Lake Park..It is situ-ated one kilometer east of the city. There were originally three springs but two have dried up;only one remains. It is protected by a terrazzo fence. The clear spring water flows northward into a lake which has a landscaped island in the center,a stone bridge across it ,and weeping willows around it. Whether boating on the lake or strolling beside it ,one will be delighted. In the west side of the park, there is a zoo with rare birds and animals; a pleasant change for visitors.

Bell Tower
The tower is in the center of Jiuquan. It was built in 346 AD and reconstructed in 1905.27 meters high ,it is the domi-nant landmark of the city. The tower has four arched gates facing the four directions; above the east, west, south, and nouth arches respectively is written:
Facing China's Mountains in the East

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

 


Reaching Yiwu in the west
Watching Qilian Mountains in the South Leading to the Desert in the North.
Above these characters,respectively,are auspicious pictures of. dragons playing with a pearl, red phoenixes facing the sun, Hetu and Luoshu (mysterious diagrams),and the eight immortals celebrating their longevity. From the top of the arches, the eight diagrams created by Fuxi are suspended. From atop the tower everything is visible ;beautiful scenery far and near is all in view.

Manjusri Mountain
Manjusri Mountain is located 15 kilometers southwest of Jiuquan City. It is said that Bodhisattva Manjusri revealed himself here ;therefore,the mountain was named after him. The whole place is divided into two sections:Buddhist and Taoist. Temples, palaces and grottoes are numerous. The most famous are the Thousand - Buddha Cave and the Ten - Thousand - Buddha Cave which contain precious murals comparable to those in Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang.

Mural Tomb of the Eastern Jin Dynasty
This tomb is found in the huge graveyard of the Wei and Jin Dynasties three kilometers northwest of Jiuquan city. It has a history of 1,600 years. Preserved in the front and back chain bets are colored murals depicting various scenes in paradise ,the human would, and hell. The detailed and vivid pictures are of great historic and artistic value.
Historic Narrative of Jiuquan
There are several tales concerning the naming of Ji-uquan,Wine Spring. One relates that there was a spring be-low the ancient town and th'at its water was like wine. An-other says that the wine brewed with this spring water was very sweet. Still another story tells that during the Western 'Han, Emporer Wu Di sent General Huo Qubing a jar of wine to reward him for his victory over the Xiongnu. Gener-al Huo felt that the victory had been won by the soldiers and being camped beside the spring, he poured the wine into it and shared with all. Thereafter,the place was called Jiuquan --Wine Spring.
Whether these stories are true or not ,the spring does exist; General Huo was a famous military leader, and he did defeat the Xiongnu. In the time of Emporer Wu DJ, a pow-erful northern tribe—the Xiongnu or Huns--- had en-tered Hexi. They drove away the local Yuezhi inhabitants and seized the area. This was a severe threat to the Western Han Dynasty. Emporer Wu Di dispatched Generals Wei Qing and Huo Qubing to suppress them. After the surren-der of the Xiongnu, the emperor had the Great Wall extend-ed more than a thousand kilometers westward and sent many people inland to live there, these actions provided the Hexi area, including Jiuquan, with favorable conditions for development . As a result ,the economy flourished on the ancient Silk Road and Jiuquan became an important station on it.During the Han Dynasty, the Silk Road started west-ward from Changan via Jiuquan to Dunhuang and then con-tinued further west along north and south extensions.China's silk, gunpowder, ironsmelting, irrigation, paper—making, and printing techniques were disseminated westward and greatly promoted Eurasian economic and cultural develop-ment. Western merchandise also flowed into the Central Plains area -- -- glass, amber, new species of plants, rare birds and animals. Vegetables and fruit such as onions ,gar-llc, sesame, walnuts, grapes, coriander, pepper, cucumbers, broad beans, watermelon ,of which the Chinese are very fond, are all from the west.With the economic and trade prosperity along the Silk Road, cultural exchanges were gradually strengthened. Chinese astronomy, medicine, literature, and art were taken to the West and were absorbed by the people there enriching their spiritual and cultural lives. Western music, art , astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and religion, especially Buddhism, had a great influence on the Chinese people . During these frequent cultural and economic ex-changes,Jiuquan and its people made considerable contribu-tions and its name has been closely connected with the Silk Road.

Local Products
Moonlight Cups
Moonlight cups brim over with sweet grape wine, Before we drink, the accompaniment of pipa already twanged from horseback.
Drink your fill ,don't be afraid of getting drunk. We are prepared not to return and what could be worse than that' !
Ever since Wang Han,the Tang poet,wrote this famous poem,Moonlight Cups have been known by all as rare uten-sils for dx*inking. The cups are made of jade from Old Moun-tain, New Mountam, and Black River Valley. They are of high quality and bear beautiful patterns of green and black shading. Wines look crystal .-like and sparkling in these cups under the moonlight. Moonlight cups are resistant to high temperatures and freezing and preserve their natural tints well . They have proven to be excellent souvenirs and pre-sents for visitors at home and abroad.

Jiuquan Wine
Jiuquan Wine,as the name signifies,is the symbol of Ji-uquan. It has a strong fragrance, looks pure and bright, tastes mild and delicious ,and is enjoyed by all. Black Moss(Fa Cai)
Black Hair Moss looks like hair and thus gets its name. It grows at the northern foot of the Qilian Mountains, on moist soil amidst the cobblestones. It tastes delicious and is regarded as a rarity of rarities and a great present for friends and relatives. The Chinese word for it is "Fa Cai" which sounds the same as the words for "Wishing you a good for-tune";therefore it is considered lucky to eat.