TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
IN WESTERN GANSU
Wuwei
A Brief Survey
During the Han Dynasty (206 BC--220 AD),after the nomadic Xiongnu were driven out (121 BC),the rulers of that time deemed that victory had shown their military pro/vess, in memory of this, they named the newly estab-lished prefecture "Wuwei" "military prowess".
Wuwei is the first large city encountered along the Silk
Road when entering the Hexi Corridor from the east. Bor-
dered bY the Tengger Desert on the east,the Qilian Maun-
tains on the south, the Uygur Autonomous County on the

west,and Minqin County on the north,the prefecture has a east- west distance of 122 kilometers,a north- south dis-tance of 90 kilometers, and a total land area of 5,080. 97 square kilometers. It is 1,600 to 1,800 meters in elevation. Wuwei has a typical continental climate and long hours of sunshine. The coldest month is January; the average low temperature being --15.4~C. July is the hottest month;the average high temperature is 29~C. The average annual tem-perature is 7.8~C but the difference between day and night is very large. With average annual precipitation of only 159.2mm against the evaporation rate of 2,090mm ,the cli-mate of Wuwei is obviously dry.
With a population of 820,000,Wuwei is the most popu-lous prefecture city in Gansu Province. The residents are mainly Han; minorities include: Hui, Tibetan, Uygur, Salar and Manchu.
Being a fertile land,rich in natural resources, Wuwei centers on animal ,coal, chemical ,and textile industries. The main crops are wheat, millet, corn,Chinese sorghum,pota-
toes; cash crops are flax rapeseed, vegetables beets, and to- bacco. Wuwei also produces some rare species of Chinese drugs such as. pilose anthler, musk, angelica polyclada,
rhubarb, radix igentianae macrophyllae, licorice root, and herba (Ephedrae). Mineral resources within the district are

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

primarily coal,gypsum and flourite.
Historical Narrative.
As early as the time of the clan communes ,there were people hunting and living in this area showing that Wuwei has a very long history indeed. During the Han Dynasty (206 BC--220 AD),after General Huo Qubing (140--117 BC), sent by Emporer Wudi (reign dates 140--88 BC),drove out the nomadic Xiongnu in 121 BC,the prefecture of Wuwei was established encompassing ten counties, The headquar-ters was set in Guzang (around today's city of Wuwei),one of the ten counties,hence the place was called Guzang. Lat-er,the Former Liang (Qianliang: 317--376 AD),the Later I.iang (Houliang: 386--403 AD),the Southern Liang (397 --414 AD) and the Northern Liang (401--439 AD) and some other dynasties all had their capitals here,therefore , the town of Wuwei got another name "Liangzhou"o Scenic Spots.
Since the city used to be the political and commercial center of the Hexi Corridor and on the old Silk Road,
Wuwei has more than 160 reminders of the past, such as Leitai Terrace,Wenmiao Temple,Haisang Temple,Kumar-

primarily coal,gypsum and flourite.
Historical Narrative.
As early as the time of the clan communes ,there were people hunting and living in this area showing that Wuwei has a very long history indeed. During the Han Dynasty (206 BC--220 AD),after General Huo Qubing (140--117 BC), sent by Emporer Wudi (reign dates 140--88 BC),drove out the nomadic Xiongnu in 121 BC,the prefecture of Wuwei was established encompassing ten counties, The headquar-ters was set in Guzang (around today's city of Wuwei),one of the ten counties,hence the place was called Guzang. Lat-er,the Former Liang (Qianliang: 317--376 AD),the Later I.iang (Houliang: 386--403 AD),the Southern Liang (397 --414 AD) and the Northern Liang (401--439 AD) and some other dynasties all had their capitals here,therefore , the town of Wuwei got another name "Liangzhou"o Scenic Spots. Since the city used to be the political and commercial
center of the Hexi Corridor and on the old Silk Road, Wuwei has more than 160 reminders of the past, such as
Leitai Terrace,Wenmiao Temple,Haisang Temple,Kumar-

jiva Pogada (Loushi Si Ta) and other ancient buldings, relics,tombs and inscribed stone tablets ;well over eighty of which are listed among monuments selected for special preservation. The city itself is listed among the second group of National Historical Cultural Cities of China. The first desert park in China is located in Wuwei. The best time to visit Wuwei is between May and October.
Leitai Terrace
Located only one kilometer north of the city,Leitai, an 8.5 meter high,106 by 60 meter loess terrace is named after a temple which was built on it—Leishen Temple. Below the terrace,a tomb of the Eastern Hah Dynasty was excavat-ed in 1969,more than 300 relics were found in it, among them, the most famous were the national treasure "Flying Horse of Gansu"and a set of parading bronze was chariots. Research reveals that the "Flying Horse"was created during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25--220 AD)by an un-known artisan. With one leg on the back of a dragon swal-low (the god of the wind )and the other three poised in the air ,the horse gallops proudly as if flying. The appearance of speed ,the obvious strength, the balance, the beauty, and the noble bearing of the horse are impressive. The bronze "Fly-ing Horse of Gansu" has become the symbol of China Tourism.

Wenmiao (Cultural Temple)
Built in AD 1437,Wenmiao lies in the southeast of the city. In its grounds stand other huge temples with carved beams, painted rafters, and towering, age- old trees. It is a magnificent complex of palatial architecture covering an area of 1,500 square meters and is the largest and best preserved Confucian Temple in Gansu Province. The Xixia Tablet is kept here;it is listed among the national treasures of China. Kumarajiva Pagoda(Luoshi Si Ta) Situated on the western side of Beida Street,Kumaraji-va Pagoda was first erected in the Tang Dynasty in memory of an eminent monk Kumarajiva (344--414 AD). Being a master of Buddhist sutras and having a good command of Chinese,Kumarajiva was invited to preach in Guzang (to-day's Wuwei)from 386--401 AD. In 401 AD,he was wel-comed to Changfan ,where he translated about 300 volumes of Mahayana scriptures from Sanskrit to Chinese. The hollow,octagonal pagoda of twelve floors is 32 me-ters high;its spire is gourd- shaped. On the top floor,in a small niche, is an exquisite image of the Buddha. On every floor,aeolian bells are hung on all the eave corners.

Haizang Temple
Haizang Temple is located two kilometers northwest of the city and is the largest complex of ancient buildings in

Wuwei. In 1986,the temple was opened to the people as a park. The main buildings are gateways, archways, pavil-ions, and temples; most of them were constructed in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Huang Niangniang Tai Relics
Two and a half kilometers northwest of the city are the Huang Niangniang Tai Relics (Yifuren Relics), which are up to 4,000 years old and have an area of 500 by 250 m. Re-search shows they are traces of "Qijia Culture". As of now , nine houses, sixty—five caves, and more than eingty graves have been excavated and stone artifacts, pottery,bronze arti-cles and bone objects unearthed.

Desert Park
Twenty kilometers southeast of the city, at the edge of the Tengger Desert, is the first Desert Park in China. It not only contains undulating sand dunes and various desert plants but also luxuriant plants from the south, such as mao bamboo, pan peach, and others. Even though the park has a very short histoty, the man - made lake, the newly - built pavilions and the flouristing plants in it have earned it the name "Desert Oasis".
Folk Customs

Desert Lore
Since Wuwei neighbors the Tengger Desert, people
have a special feeling towards the desert. During the slack

season, they drive their carts or lead their camels to collect brushwood and dried animal dung for fire and camp in the vast expanse of desert. Interestingly, some unique customs have emerged which show their dependence on each other for surveval, their courage in wrestling with difficulties of the harsh life, and the simple honesty of the people in Northwest China.
Lizhao Zi (Erecting Route Markers)
When people stop to set up a camp site, what they do first is to place an entire Chinese ephedra or other plant on the most prominent sand dunes as location markers. The lo-cal people call this "Lizhao Zi". Thus, even though they get disoriented while gathering fuel, they can find their way back to the camp site as long as they can find the route markers.

No Theft on the Desert
The collection of brushwood and dried animal dung for fire, generally speaking, requires the people to be away from their campsite for days ;nevertheless,during this peri-od of absence,no matter how long it is , they never worry about their belongings at the site for tradition has it that anyone who steals will be severely punished by Heaven. Therefore,there isno theft on the desert at all . The one ex-
ception to this rule is that anyone who gets lost is allowed to drink the water,eat the food and even make use of another's
firewood to cook when they come across another's camp

site,but still they have no right to take anythng away from it.

Native Products
Zhutou Pear (Pig's Head Pear)
This tapered, rough—skinned, juicy, sweet pear with a slightly dry taste is also called Guitou (Ghost's Head)Pear. It is one of the best produced in the Hexi Corridor. Bopi Walnut (Thin—Shell Walnut)
The thin,easily cracked shell opens to reveal a plump, moist ,large kernel. Bopi Walnut ,also called,Luren Walnut, has a high oil content and is good for eating or oil extrac-tion.
Ruan Er Pear(Soft Pear) (See page 16)
Red Pepper
Shaped like a Chinese lantern, this pepper has thick,tasty flesh with a mildly hot flavor.
Huangtai Spirits
Huangtai Spirits is the most famous liquor produced by the Liangzhou Brewery. Crystal clear,fragrant,and peculiar-ly sweet and soft, it has won praise both at home and abroad.