Lanzhou, the geometry center of China, is famous for her long time history (2000 years), the special geometry position and her special local products. Lanzhou, the only city that the Yellow River goes through, is the capital of Gansu province, and has a population of 2.83 million (1.48 million in the city zone). She once functioned as a garrison of strategic importance on the Silk Road.
Main attractions in Lanzhou
Five Springs Park
Five Springs Park lies in the northwest part of Gaolan Mountain, which stands in the south part of the downtown area in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province. The park, the largest in Lanzhou, occupies 266,400 square meters (2,867,599.56 square feet) on Five Springs Mountain. The Middle Peak of the Five Springs Mountain, the highest point in the park, reaches 1,600 meters (5,294 feet). It serves as the park axis. Ganlu Spring, Juyue Spring, and Mozi Spring are distributed over the Middle Peak area. Meng Spring and Hui Spring are located on either side of Middle Peak. The five springs are not the only tourist magnet. This park is also a famous scenic religious spot. Wenchang Temple, Butterfly Pavilion, Golden Buddha Temple, Mahavira Hall, Wanyuan Pavilion, Thousand Buddha Temple, etc., are arranged along a passage on Five Springs Mountain. Corridors and stone steps, which add artistic atmosphere to the park, connect the buildings. The natural beauty of the five springs is enhanced by verdant groves while the temples make it a famous religious destination. Five Springs Park not only offers visitors a place to relax, but also provides a place to learn about Buddhism.
White Pagoda Hill Park
The mountain stands at the northern bank of the Yellow River and has its name after the white pagoda on top of it, the White Pagoda Hill Park is a large, It is a nice place for strolling, with green forests, scattered pavilions, teahouses and, from its heights, some good views of both the churning river and the city beyond. The nearby bridge, Zhongshan Bridge, was the old crossing point for travelers and merchants who were then to head north on the Silk Road.
The park was named after the White Pagoda Temple that crowns the summit of it's steeply terraced slopes. This temple was first constructed in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD), allegedly under orders from the despot Genghis Khan to commemorate a Tibetan lama. The temple was then rebuilt and expanded in the Ming (1368-1644 AD) and Qing (1644-1911 AD) Dynasties. Nowadays the center point of the temple is an octangular, The pagoda is structured in 7 terraces with an octagonal body in a height of 17 m. There are a few more sights that are worth visiting here.
The Bingling Grottoes, also known as the Bingling Temple, are a series of Buddhist caves that are situated on a not easily accessible cliff face, some 80km from Lanzhou. Bingling is a transliteration of Tibetan, which means Ten Thousand Buddha. At present, there are 183 caves, 694 stone statues, 82 clay sculptures, and 900 square meters of murals. All the statues, sculptures and murals exhibit superb craftsmanship, and have great artistic appeal. These caves, which stretch for 200 meters, include the caves of Western Qin, North Wei, Sui, Tang, and Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing dynasties. The first cave was built here in 420 AD, by daring Buddhists who descended from the cliff on ropes to carve their masterpieces. Although the cave complex was enlarged gradually over many centuries, it is the work of both the Song (960-1279 AD) and the Ming (1368-1644 AD) Dynasties that remains most impressive. The temple was, in-between these golden years, to become a Tibetan Monastery (in the Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368 AD).
Within and on the cliff are a series of winding walkways and stairs that will lead you around the site. The caves, carved out of the cliff's porous stone, contain over 700 statues, of both clay and porous rock, and hundreds of frescoes. Of the statues, the largest is a giant 27 meter-high seated Maitreya, the future Buddha, and the smallest is a miniscule 25 centimeters. It is the lower caves that are the most impressive. Cave 169 is considered to be one of China's oldest grottoes, housing a faded Buddha and 2 Boddhisattvas. This cave, in an area of 200 square meters, also holds the earliest epigraph of any of China's caves.
Besides the temple, the journey itself is impressive, especially within close proximity to the caves. The cliff face, 60 meters high, is part of the northern side of a gorge formed by the Yellow River. Below the caves themselves is the Liujiaxia Reservoir, that will take a good three hours to cross, allowing you to enjoy at your leisure the stunning scenes before you!
The 194 cave-shrines of this "Gallery of Oriental Sculpture" on a perpendicular mountain cliff southeast of Tianshui, provide shelters to 7,200 stone and clay figurines and 1,300 square meters of murais. The clay figures, fastidiously crafted to the minute detail, and blending lifelike imagery with spiritual resonance, are paragons of ancient Chinese clay sculpture. In addition to clay sculptures,there are more than 2,000 pieces of pottery, bronze ware,ironware, and jade articles,ancient books,documents,paintings,calligraphy and other cultural relics in the 194 grottoes. The highest figure is about 16 meters,and the smallest being only 10 centimeters. Its exquisite clay sculptures are well known not only in China but also abroad. The grottoes have applied to the United Nations’Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for admission onto the World Heritage List.