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Tag Archives: china

Canola Fields, Xinghua, China photo via amanda

Photo via amanda/flickr.

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1An endless chain of stone stairs called “The Heavenly Stairs” go up Mt. Hua Shan, inviting those not fearing hights. Eventually you’ll get to the world’s most dangerous trail, the Hua Shan plank path, safety gear is highly recommended.Today there’s 2 cable cars – one north, one west – going up but it still takes thousands of stairs connecting the different peaks. According to reviews on tripadvisor it’s definitely worth doing and you’ll be rewarded with many beaufiful sights & views from the top.




21Heaven's Gate stairs, Tian Men Shan, Zhangjiajie, ChinaTianmen Mountain is a mountain located within Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, in northwestern Hunan Province, China.A cablecar was constructed by the French company Poma from nearby Zhangjiajie railway station to the top of the mountain. Tianmen Mountain Cableway is claimed in tourist publications as the “longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world”, with 98 cars and a total length of 7,455 metres and ascent of 1,279 metres. The highest gradient is an unusual 37 degrees. Tourists can walk on kilometres of paths built onto the cliff face at the top of the mountain, including sections with glass floors. An 11 kilometres road with 99 bends also reaches the top of the mountain and takes visitors to Tianmen cave, a natural hole in the mountain of a height of 131.5 metres.A large temple is also located on the summit with chairlift or footpath access. The original temple here was built in the Tang Dynasty. Today a more recent construction with Tang dynasty architecture occupies the site and includes a vegetarian restaurant in the 10000 sq mi of setting.

songjiang-798x350Songjiang Shimao Hotel is currently under construction in Songjang, China. Only very recently, Atkins, a British engineering firm, propounded erection of a handsome building extending far downward into a 100-meter pit situated near the base of Tianmashan Mountain. The Shimao Wonderful Intercontinental Hotel which consists of 19 floors and 380 rooms is unique in its design as it is being built on the site of an abandoned and otherwise neglected open-pit mine.The design of this luxury hotel encompasses underwater lounges and guestrooms. The water of the quarry will be utilized to flood some portion of the hotel; giving it a look of submerged edifice in a beautiful lake. The images exhibit an artificial waterfall cascading down into the rock near the front part of the hotel. The main lounge, wreathed in green vegetation and natural rock, would be illuminated through sunlight. Moreover the hotel would have sports facilities; some of its additional features include rock climbing and bungee jumping and also an aquarium almost ten meters deep.One very interesting characteristic which deserves a special mention here is that the five-star hotel uses geothermal energy to fulfill its electrical and heating requirements. The surrounding rock provides good protection from heat and environment.Around 555 million US dollar have already been invested in the project by The Shanghai Shimao Property Group and the hotel is expected to start functioning between late 2014 and early 2015.

Zhechiang, ChinaZhejiang , formerly romanized as Chekiang, is an eastern coastal province of the People’s Republic of China. The word Zhejiang means zigzagging river and was the old name of the Qiantang River, which passes through Hangzhou, the provincial capital. The name of the province is often abbreviated to its first character. Zhejiang borders Jiangsu province and Shanghai municipality to the north, Anhui province to the northwest, Jiangxi province to the west, and Fujian province to the south; to the east is the East China Sea, beyond which lie the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.The area of modern Zhejiang was outside the major sphere of influence of early Chinese civilization during the Shang Dynasty (16th to 11th century BC). Instead, this area was populated by peoples collectively known as the Yue, such as the Dongyue and the Ouyue. In the Spring and Autumn Period, the state of Yue emerged in northern Zhejiang. The Yue state was heavily influenced by the Chinese civilization further north. Under King Goujian of Yue, Yue reached its zenith and was able to wipe out the powerful state of Wu to its immediate north, in 473 BC. Then, in 333 BC, Yue was in turn conquered by the state of Chu, which was to the west. In 221 BC, the state of Qin completed the conquest of the last of the formerly independent states of China, including the state of Chu. This conquest made what is now Zhejiang part of a unified Chinese empire.

16Moon Bridge Temple, China
You will find this photo via google/pinterest by the name of  Moon Bridge Temple,but this is Fuqing Temple, located on Cangyan Mountain who lies approximately 70 kms. southwest of Shijiazhuang. Its name loosely translates into ‘Pale Rock Mountain’ or ‘Green Cliff Mountain‘. The mountain is known for its peaks (1,000 meters above sea level), panoramic views, pagodas, temples and its natural foliage.
Cangyan Mountain has been the home for many Buddhist monks, dating back to the Sui Dynasty when the original monastery was constructed, and later in the Qing Dynasty when it was rebuilt. Fuqing Temple (Fuqing Si) is one of the famous temples here. It is said that Fuqing Temple is the place where Princess Nanyang, daughter of Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty practiced Buddhism. The main structure of the Fuqing Temple, the Qiaolou Hall (Qiaolou Dian), is situated on a stone arch bridge which spans the cliffs more than 70m above the ground. It is one of the three hanging temples in China and a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architectures.

Confluence of the Jialing and Yangtze Rivers in Chongqing, ChinaChaotianmen is located in the confluence  of Yangtze River and Jialing River. Its terrain is higher in the middle and downwards in its two sides. Dai Ding extended the old city of Chongqing in early Ming Dynasty. He constructed 17 city gates under the rule of “nine palaces and eight diagrams”, among which Chaotianmen is the biggest one. There were four Chinese characters: Gu-Yu-Xiong-Guan (in Chinese means impregnable pass of the city). It faces the capital city – Nanjing and the Yangtze River flows toward the east. People would be here to receive the imperial decree. Hence it was named Chaotianmen. Chongqing was opened as a trade port and established customs at Chaotianmen in 1981. The old city gate was dismantled for the construction of Chaotianmen Port in 1927. The “September 2″ fire disaster turned the areas about 2000 meters from Chaotianmen into a ruin. After that disaster, there were only broken base and blocks. Today, there is the newly built Chaotianmen Square in the Chaotianmen Port. It has become the best place for enjoy the landscape of the banks and overlook the meet of Yangtze River and Jialing River.Jialing River is in the left of Chaotianmen. It absorbs trickles and stretches 1119 kilometers. It falls into Yangtze River here. The clean water of Jialing River meets the brownish yellow water of Yangtze River. You could see the color difference of the water and torrential whirlpools like running horses, that looks really spectacular. Yangtze River is in the right of Chaotianmen. It becomes more powerful after it absorbed the water of Jialing River. It passes through Three Gorges and stretches thousands of miles. It has become the “gold watercourse” on Yangtze River.

The Terracotta Army or the “Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses“, is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.The figures, dating from 3rd century BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits near by Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum.Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in other pits and they include officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians.
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The Terracotta Army was discovered on 29 March 1974 to the east of Xi’an in Shaanxi province by a group of farmers when they were digging a water well around 1.6 km (1 mile) east of the Qin Emperor’s tomb mound at Mount Li (Lishan), a region riddled with underground springs and watercourses. For centuries, there had been occasional reports of pieces of terracotta figures and fragments of the Qin necropolis – roofing tiles, bricks, and chunks of masonry – having been dug up in the area. This most recent discovery prompted Chinese archaeologists to investigate, and they unearthed the largest pottery figurine group ever found in China.

In addition to the warriors, an entire man-made necropolis for the Emperor has also been found around the first Emperor’s tomb mound. The tomb mound is located at the foot of Mount Li as an earthen pyramid, and Qin Shi Huangdi’s necropolis complex was constructed as a microcosm of his imperial palace or compound. It consists of several offices, halls, stables and other structures placed around the tomb mound which is surrounded by two solidly built rammed earth walls with gateway entrances. Up to 5 metres (16 feet) of reddish, sandy soil had accumulated over the site in the two millennia following its construction, but archaeologists found evidence of earlier disturbances at the site. During the digs near the Mount Li burial mound, archaeologists found several graves dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, where diggers had apparently struck terracotta fragments which were then discarded as worthless back into the back-filled soil.

The Stone Forest or Shilin  is a notable set of limestone formations located in Shilin Yi Autonomous County, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China, near Shilin approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the provincial capital Kunming. The tall rocks seem to emanate from the ground in the manner of stalagmites, with many looking like petrified trees thereby creating the illusion of a forest made of stone.Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, enjoys great fame among tourists not only because the region features a consistently warm climate, but also thanks to its wonderful vistas and landscapes. Among the most dramatic of these attractions is the Stone Forest (Shilin), known since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) as the ‘First Wonder of the World.’

It is in Lunan Yi Nationality Autonomous County, which is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Kunming and requires only a three-hour drive. It covers an area of 400 square kilometers (96,000 acres) and includes both large and small stone forests, as well as many other scenic spots. An old local saying says that ‘If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time.’ Truly, the site is one of the most important attractions of Yunnan.Walking through the site, visitors marvel at the natural stone masterpieces and are bewitched by the intricate formations. The magnificent, strange and steep landscape creates countless labyrinthine vistas, including:Major Stone Forest, Minor Stone Forest and Naigu Stone Forest, all of which feature stones in various formations. Animals, plants, and even human figures can be found here. Some are elegant, some are rugged, and each is lifelike with its own distinguishing characteristics.Subterranean Stone Forest in Zhiyun Cave, distributed underground among several caves and occupying a total area of about three square kilometers (720 acres).


Manpupuner Rock Formations, Russia.
The Manpupuner rock formations or the Seven Strong Men Rock Formations or Poles of the Komi Republic are a set of 7 gigantic abnormally shaped stone pillars located north of the Ural mountains in the Troitsko-Pechorsky District of the Komi Republic.These monoliths are around 30 to 42 m (100-140 ft) high and jut out of a hilly plateau formed through the weathering effects of ice and winds.

Deemed one of the Seven Wonders of Russia, the Manpupuner rock formations are a very popular attraction in Russia, though not well known internationally and relatively unspoiled by tourism. Their height and abnormal shapes supposedly make the top of these rock giants inaccessible even to experienced rock-climbers.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China.
The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a unique national forest park located in Zhangjiajie City in northern Hunan Province in the People’s Republic of China. It is one of several national parks within the Wulingyuan Scenic Area.The most notable geographic features of the park are the pillar-like formations that are seen throughout the park. They are the result of many years of erosion. The weather is moist year round, and as a result, the foliage is very dense. Much of the erosion which forms these pillars are the result of expanding ice in the winter and the plants which grow on them. These formations are a distinct hallmark of Chinese landscape, and can be found in many ancient Chinese paintings.

In 1992, Wulingyuan was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the park’s quartz-sandstone pillars, the 3,544-foot (1,080 m) Southern Sky Column, had been officially renamed “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain” in honor of the eponymous film in January 2010.

Lena Pillars, Russia.
Lena Pillars is the name given to a natural rock formation along the banks of the Lena River in far eastern Siberia. The pillars are 150-300 m (490-985 ft) high and consists of the alternating horizons of limestone, marlstones, dolomites and slate. The Lena Pillars National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2012.The giant stone colonnades of Lena Pillars Nature Park line the banks of the Lena River in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia. Isolated from each other, the pillars soar to heights of 100 meters or more than 328 feet, and are also rich in fossils. They formed by freeze-thaw action over the millennia due to the area’s extreme changes in temperatures.

The site lies less than a day’s boat ride upriver (south) from the city of Yakutsk, the capital of the autonomous Sakha Republic. One may plan a river cruise by contacting a travel service in the city of Yakutsk.

Isimila Gorge in Iringa, Tanzania.
This Monument in Tanzania is found at Isimila, 20 km (12.5 mi) South of Iringa on the Mbeya road. Isimila date back some thousands years and contains ancient tools, weapons and dramatic sandstone columns that stand as mute sentinels to a bygone era.

Pillars standing in arrays along a 2 km (1.25 mi) gorge and the height of each is variable ranging between 20-30 feet (6-9 m) high from the basement of the eroded land. The site was discovered in 1951 by Mr. D.A.Maclennan of the St. Peters School in Johannesburg, South Africa who was on his way from Nairobi to Johannesburg.

Davolja Varos, Serbia.
Đavolja Varoš (meaning “Devil’s Town”) is a peculiar rock formation, located in south Serbia on the Radan Mountain near Kuršumlija. It features 202 exotic formations described as earth pyramids or “towers”, as the locals refer to them. They are 2-15 m (7-50 ft) tall and 4-6 m (13-20 ft) wide at the base.These formations were created by strong erosion of the soil that was scene of intense volcanic activity thousands of years ago. Most of the towers have “caps” or “heads” of andesite, which protect them from further erosion. Since 1959, Đavolja Varoš has been protected by the state and a 1995 decision of the Serbian Government declared it a major natural monument subject to category one protection.

A natural spring is located beneath the formations and has a high mineral concentration. There are two springs: Đavolja voda (Devil’s Water), with extremely acidic water (pH 1.5) and high mineral concentration (15 g/l of water), and Crveno vrelo (Red Well). Đavolja Varoš was a nominee in the New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar.
Tsingy de Bemaraha is one of Madagascar’s newest parks – it was opened to the public only in 1998. The 152,000 ha (587 sq mi) Bemaraha is best known for its tsingy sharp limestone pinnacles that may reach 150 feet (45 m) in height. Cut through the tsingy are canyons and gorges full of rich fauna and flora.

The Tsingys are karstic plateaus in which groundwater has undercut the elevated uplands, and has gouged caverns and fissures into the limestone. The word tsingy is indigenous to the Malagasy language as a description of the karst badlands of Madagascar. The word can be translated into English as where one cannot walk barefoot. This place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.

Needles (Black Hills), USA.
The Needles of the Black Hills of South Dakota are a region of fantastically eroded granite pillars, towers, and spires. Popular with rock climbers and tourists alike, the Needles are accessed from the Needles Highway, which is a part of Sylvan Lake Road (SD 87/89).The Cathedral Spires and Limber Pine Natural Area, a portion of the Needles containing six ridges of pillars as well as a disjunct stand of limber pine, was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1976.

The Needles were the original site proposed for the Mount Rushmore carvings. The location was rejected by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum owing to the poor quality of the granite and the fact that they were too thin to support the sculptures. The Needles attract approximately 300,000 people annually.

Meteora, Greece.
The Metéora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. Some of the pillars are high up to 400 meters.

The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII.

Pobiti Kamani, Bulgaria.
Pobiti Kamani is a rock phenomenon located in Varna Province, Bulgaria, on the road between Varna and Sofia around several villages just west of Varna. It consists of several groups of natural rock formations on a total area of 7 sq km.

The formations are mainly stone columns between 5 and 7 metres (16-23 ft) high and from 0.3 to 3 metres (1-10 ft) thick. The columns do not have solid foundations, but are instead hollow and filled with sand, and look like they are stuck into the surrounding sands, which gives the phenomenon its name. In order to be preserved, Pobiti Kamani was designated a natural landmark in 1937.

Cappadocia, Turkey.
The Cappadocian Region located in the center of the Anatolian Region of Turkey, with its valley, canyon, hills and unusual rock formation created as a result of the eroding rains and winds of thousands of years of the level, lava-covered plain located between the volcanic mountains Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan as well as its troglodyte dwellings carved out of the rock and cities dug out into underground, presents an otherworldly appearance.The eruptions of these mountains which were active volcanoes in geological times lasted until 4 thousands years ago. A soft tuff layer was formed, 150 m (500 ft) in thickness, by the issuing lavas in the valley surrounded by mountains. The rivers, flood water running down the hillsides of valleys and strong winds eroded the geological formations consisting of tuff on the plateau formed with tuff layers, thus creating bizarre shapes called fairy Chimneys. These take on the names of mushroom shaped, pinnacled, capped and conic shaped formations.

The area is a popular tourist destination, as it has many areas with unique geological, historic, and cultural features. Hot-air ballooning is very popular in Cappadocia and is available in Goreme. Trekking is enjoyed in Ihlara Valley, Monastery Valley (Guzelyurt), Urgup, and Goreme.


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