Lanzhou

Yellow RiverLanzhou is Gansu’s capital located in north-western China on the upper reaches of the famous Yellow River. Lanzhou has become to be a modern city and hub of Silk Road. Its beauty can be seen in the mountains to the north and south separated by the Yellow River than runs east to west. Its cultural and historical value lies in the caves and its artifacts.

For those seeking nature, Lanzhou is a great place to explore with its several natural parks scattered across the city including the Yan Tan Park and Shifogou National Forest Park. For a more in-depth understanding to Lanzhou’s cultural side, head to the White Pagoda Park and the Five Spring Mountain Park.

Furthering your cultural journey amongst nature, two sets of caves are located here that are some of the most notable in China. First there is the Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves found on Yishi Hill. Since being excavated many times, hundreds of statues and sculptures have been unearthed as well as large portions of murals that have been well preserved over the years. Within the Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves are two that are particularly worth seeking out; caves 169 and 125. Cave 169 for instance houses a delicate clay Dali Buddha sculpture. These sculptures are representations of customs and social interactions of ancient times.

The other set of caves are the Maiji Caves which rise up a massive 142 metres. Again, clay statues are the prime feature in various sizes from small 20cm statues to massive 15m statues. In total there are over 7,000 statues to gaze at, though getting to the caves is the tricky part. The only way to get to the caves is to venture along precarious plank roads on the edge of the cliff-face.

To experience all of what Lanzhou has to offer you will no doubt be inclined to stay a few days. In this case the city has plenty of options for hotels. If you are budget conscious then the Xilan International Hotel wont burn a hole in your wallet and is a good place to start looking. If cost is not a big issue then something like the Grand Solxe Hotel Gansu will likely suit you. Both these hotels are situated in the city centre making getting around the city much easier.

With the caves and Yellow River, Lanzhou offers a lot in the way of cultural adventure in addition to the accommodating locals, delicious restaurants and easy transport systems.

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