Lijiang 丽江

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YunnanLijiang: Located in the northwest part of Yunnan Province, Lijiang is composed of a new town and an old town. Most visitors traveling to Lijiang go there to visit the old town, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. However, after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in February 1996, the original old town was extensively renovated and most of the original buildings of Lijiang were restored.

Lijiang is one of China's most unique cities - culturally, ethnically, and architecturally. The city's Old Town, or "Dayan Old Town," is precious. Cobblestone streets, wooden homes and cafes practically spill out into narrow canals which wind past water wheels and under weeping willows. Lijiang presents a quaint, picturesque urban area - an increasingly rare sight in China.

The Naxi Kingdom makes its capital here in Lijiang. The ethnic minority number slightly less than 300,000, yet their small numbers belie their impact on Chinese history and legend. Until recently, groups within their culture were matriarchal - women ran the show; inheritances passed down from mother to eldest daughter; businesses were run by - if not owned and controlled by - women.

The Naxi written word is the only pictographic system still in regular use today, though used almost exclusively by a diminishing number of priests as they relate legends during ceremonial meetings.

More familiar to all Naxis - but no less unique - is their music. Many of China's distinctive, indigenous musical forms vanished over the centuries as new sounds and styles were adopted and adapted. But the Naxis' isolation preserved a musical style virtually unchanged, earning it the nickname "fossil music." Wind and percussive instruments predominate; the voices can be likened to melodious chants; the lyrics relate stories of the past.

Must-see Attractions:
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain玉龙雪山
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, located ten miles from Lijiang, has one of the closest glaciers to the equator. The mountain peaks at 18,000 feet above sea level at the Shanzidou peak which looks like a snow-covered dragon.

Tiger Leaping Gorge 虎跳峡
The Tiger Leaping Gorge, wedged between Jade Dragon Snow and Haba Mountains, can be considered the worlds deepest gorge if measured from the peak of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

Baisha Old Town 白沙古城
Baisha, one of the settlements built by ancestors of Naxi minority, is considered the birthplace of Naxi culture. It is also one of the oldest towns of Lijiang.

Lijiang Ancient Town 丽江古城
Currently there are about 6,000 families living in the ancient town of Lijiang which was built nearly 800 years ago during the late Song dynasty. The center of this delicate old town is the Market Square where the women would gather to gossip.

The First Bend of the Yangtze River 长江第一湾
The Yangtze River is the world’s third longest river and the vein of China, flows through the center of China from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Initially the river flows southeast to the Hengduan Mountains and at about 44 miles from Lijiang, due to the strange geography of this region, the Yangtze bends toward the northeast.
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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 June 2009 13:20 )  

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