Sichuan Travel Guide

Sichuan Map, Sichuan Travel GuideGeographic location

Sichuan is surrounded on all sides by highlands. To the north, the Qinling Mountains extend from east to west, with an elevation between 11,000 and 13,000 feet above sea level. The limestone Daba Mountains rise to approximately 9,000 feet in the northeast, while the Dalou Mountains, a lower and less continuous mountain range with an average elevation of 5,000 to 7,000 feet, lie in the south. To the west, the Daxue, the Great Snowy Mountains or Azure Mountains of the Tibetan borderland, rise to an average elevation of 14,500 feet.

Sichuan Basin, also known as Red Basin, is an extensive depression where the land slopes toward the center of the basin from all directions. This basin was a gulf of the China Sea in the later Paleozoic Era from 225,000,000 to 570,000,000 years ago; most of it is underlain by soft sandstone and shale that ranges in color from red to purple. Toward the west there is a general horizontal rock structure, while to the east there is considerable discontinuity and deformation. The most impressive portion of the basin's surface is the Chengdu Plain, the only large continuous tract of relatively flat land in the whole province.

The landforms of western Sichuan include a plateau in the north and mountains in the south. The northern area is part of the edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which consists of highlands over 12,000 feet above sea level and higher mountain ranges.

To the south, the transverse mountain belt of eastern Tibet and western Yunnan Province rises to an average of between 9,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level. Trending from north to south is a series of parallel lofty ranges and canyons more than a mile deep. The Minya Konka in the Daxue Mountain is the highest peak in the province; it rises to a height of 24,900 feet (7,590 meters).

Climate

In the eastern basin area and the lower western valleys that are sheltered from cold polar air masses by the surrounding mountains, there are 350 frost-free days, and the growing season lasts nearly all year round. In the west, the sheltering effect of the mountains is evident from the contrast between the perennially snow-capped peaks and the mild weather prevailing in the valleys beneath them.

In July, the mean temperature is less than 20 degrees Centigrade in most parts of the west. During the winter, the mean temperature in the west decreases northward from 12 degrees Centigrade in Xichang to minus 8 degrees Centigrade in Qinning.

The eastern rainy season begins in April and reaches its peak during July and August. Annual precipitation reaches about 40 inches annually. Precipitation is lower in the west than in the east. The average total of about 20 inches falls mainly during the summer, and there is heavy snowfall in the mountains during the winter.

History and culture

Apart from the upper Yellow River Valley provinces, Sichuan was the first area of China to be settled by the Han people. The first organized Chinese migration took place in the 5th century BC.

Sichuan was known as BA Su territory during the Thou Dynasty (11th century-256 BC). During the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) the territory was incorporated into the Qin Empire and assumed considerable importance in China's national life. It was at this time that the Dujiangyan irrigation system was built to control the Minjiang River and to irrigate the Chengdu Plain. During the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220 to 264) the Sichuan region was part of the Shu Kingdom. From the end of this period until the 10th century, Sichuan was known by various names and administered through various political subdivisions. During the Song and Southern Song dynasties (AD 960-1279), it was named Sichuan Lu. Sichuan was established as a province during the Qing dynasty (AD 1644-1911).

People

Sichuan Province has one of the most diversified range of ethnic groups in China. They include Han, Yi, Tibetans, Miao, Hui and Qiang. The majority of these minority ethnic groups have maintained their traditional lifestyles, and in most cases, still practice a mixture of agriculture, animal husbandry, and hunting.

Sichuan is one of the most densely populated provinces in China, and its population is unevenly distributed. The number of persons per square mile of cultivated land varies from about 26,000 persons in the Chengdu Plain to fewer than 130 persons in the west.

Emei Mountain, Sichuan Travel GuideTravel suggestions

Sichuan boasts a number of tourist attractions. Some of them are listed as world natural and cultural heritages and some listed as state-level scenic spots. Sichuan might well be one of the most attractive tourist area in the world. Mt. Emei, Mt. Qingcheng, Huanglong - Jiuzhaigou Natural Park, Xing Wen Stone Forest and Cave Townships, Dujiangyan Irrigation System, Jianmen Pass, Leshan Giant Buddha, the Bamboo forest of Sourn Sichuan, Sanxingdui Museum, Du Fu Thatched Cottage, Wuhou Temple, and Tomb of Wang Jian in Chengdu City make a long list of interesting places to visit.

Sichuan ranks first among all Chinese provinces in the number of world heritage sites of nature and culture and state-rated key scenic spots and historic interest sites. In addition, there are 11 state-rated forest parks, 14 nature reserves, and 57 province-level scenic spots. Sichuan deserves the name of 'Scenic Province' because of its beautiful scenery and perfect eco-environment.

Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Travel GuideSichuan currently has 7 state-rated historical and cultural cities including Chengdu, Zigong, Leshan, Yibin, Luzhou, Langzhong and Dujiangyan. Sichuan Opera is famous for its 'faces changing', 'fire spitting and 'light rolling'. Hibiscus is Chengdu's city flower. Du Fu, well-known poet in the Tang Dynasty, lived in a thatched cottage which became a famous historic site in Chengdu. While living there Du Fu wrote the famous poem 'A welcome Rain One Spring Night.

The rare giant panda is known as the "national treasure" of China. More than 1,750 giant pandas are living in places around the world. Of them, over 1590 pandas are living in the wild and 161 pandas are being raised in captivity. Nearly 80% of the world's giant pandas live in Sichuan Province. The Giant panda is the logo of Sichuan province and the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund.