Lijiang Travel Guide

Lijiang City, Lijiang Travel GuideLijiang, possibly the best preserved old town in China, is one of the last places where a visitor can witness and experience a historic, traditional urban culture. Lijiang lies 570 km north-west of Kunming in Yunnan Province. It consists of three old towns, namely Dayan, Baisha and shuhe. Remarkably, the old houses with stone foundations, plastered whitewashed brick walls, red wooden doors, shutters and balconies, and sloping tiled roofs, survived a recent earthquake without much damage, while the new concrete buildings were flattened. Due to the unique culture and comfortable climate, it has been classified as a World-class Cultural Legacy by UNESCO, 'National-level Scenic Zone 'and a 'National Town of History and Culture'.

Geographic location
Lijiang is located at the foot of the snow-capped Yulong Mountains, which is in the southeastern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as the 'roof of the world' and the northwestern part of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. There are two snow-capped Mountains, namely Yulong Mountain and Laojun Mountain. Besides, there are Jinsha and Lancang Rivers flowing though this area. There is the subtropical monsoon climate with the annual temperature of 12.6 Co and precipitation of 900 to 1,200 mm.

There are 306,000 people in Lijiang. It is home to people of more than 20 minority ethnic groups, the bulk of whom are the Naxi. Each of these ethnic groups has a unique culture and history, which match into the beauty of the land, setting an example of a harmonious relationship between man and nature. China's languages are classified into four major linguistic families, and the Naxi belong to the Sino-Tibetan group. It is not uncommon to find those among the Naxi who can fluently speak two or three languages.

The history of Lijiang dates back to the South Song period (1127-1279AD). In 1253, Kublai, in his expedition to conquer the state of Dali, came to what is now Lijiang after his troops crossed the Jinsha River by using inflated bags of animal hide. That explains why many names of places in the Naxi languages are transliterations of 'army camps,' 'drilling grounds,' etc. for the Mongolian language. In the early years of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368AD), there were about 1,000 families in Lijiang, which constantly grew in size during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Since the Qing Dynasty, Lijiang has been the distribution center for goods produced in northwest of Yunnan province. Tibetans send their woolen textiles and medicinal herbs here for shipment to other parts of China, and tea and articles for daily use from Xishuang Banna, Fengqing and Xiaguan of Yunnan province are sold to Tibetan areas via the town.