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Sichuan Province | Population: 2,484,000
Guangyuan is a lovely city located in the Sichuan Province of China. Well-known for its ancient relics and tombs, it would be a pity to leave the city without seeing its countless treasures. From magnificent landscapes to ancient temples and from war memorials to parks; there are a large number of tourist attractions around the city of Guangyuan. Archaeological findings near the city have shown that the place was once a famous city during the Three Kingdoms period in China (25AD to 220AD). Consequently, there is no dearth of tourist attractions near Guangyuan City.
The city of Guangyuan played a key role between 770BC and 221BC during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, when it was the Ju Kingdom capital. Guangyuan City is also known as the birthplace of Empress Wu Zetian, the only female emperor who actually ruled over China. It was a prosperous city in ancient times and its agriculture, mining (jade from the riverbeds), commerce, and trade were beyond compare.
Today, Guangyuan City is a bustling urban area with skyscrapers, industrial and commercial zones, modern infrastructure, shopping area, recreational centers, bars, nightclubs, night markets (food streets), and more. The city is famous for Baihua art which is also called White Flower art in consists of exquisite jade carvings.
The tourist attractions around Guangyuan City range from ancient temples and relics to magnificent scenic areas. One such scenic spot is the Jianmen Shu Road (Jianmen Shudao) which is an ancient plank road near the Jianmen Pass. The government has applied for the World Natural and Cultural Heritage status for this tourist attraction. In ancient times, this road was the main connection between southwestern and central China. This is a 450Kms long road built more than 2,000 years ago and provides a wonderful view of the scenery around the city.
Just 5Kms away from the Ancient Plank Road is another spectacular scenic area and tourist attraction called the Thousand-Buddha Cliff. The Buddha statues and caves (grottoes) in this spot were carved out of the cliff face nearly 1,500 years ago. The Dayun Cave is the large grotto and consists of 234 Buddhist statues.
A tourist attraction that has both religious and historical significance is the Huangze Temple near Guangyuan. This temple was built by the sects who were in favor of the Empress Wu Zetian as the ruler of the kingdom. This attraction has a magnificent collection of stone carvings in its caves.
Other cultural, topographical, and historical attractions in the region are the Ancient Town of Zhaohua, Yuntai Scenic Area, Tiantai National Forest Park, Gucheng Mountain, Cuiyun Corridor (breeding ground of the Giant Panda), Bright Moon Gorge, Cangxi Red Army River crossing Site, Red Army battles site, Mumen Temple meeting site, and Donghekou Earthquake Ruins Park.
Food and Dining
The air, soil, and water conditions in Guangyuan City is very suitable for large-scale agriculture. Therefore, the city has abundant natural and organic produce and consequently, the local cuisine is not only tasty and colorful but is also very healthy. There are vast fruit orchards in the surrounding regions of the city. In fact, Guangyuan is famous for its “seven treasures” which consist of the Micangshan green tea, pears, red kiwi, tofu, edible black fungus, walnuts, and olives. Other local dishes are typically spicy like the usual Sichuan cuisine.
A few of their popular dishes are pork or beef hotpot, stir-fried tofu, beef with hot peanut sauce, stir-fried chicken chili, steamed rabbit with chilies, lentil (mung) jelly with spicy sauce, pork and noodles in hot and sour sauce, hot fish soup, double-steamed pork belly, and more.
Where To Stay
Being a well-planned urban area with excellent infrastructure and modern amenities, Guangyuan City boasts of the best in hotel accommodation. There are choices to suit different budgets and everyone is welcome. There are 3, 4, 5-star hotels and boutique hotels that have aesthetically designed rooms, classy décor, in-house multi-cuisine restaurants, swimming pools, excellent views, housekeeping, airport shuttle service, etc.
For tourists traveling on a smaller budget, the city has several inns, guesthouses, youth hostels, etc. The accommodation is usually clean but the amenities they provide are limited and the staff may not understand English. So it is always prudent to have an English-Chinese dictionary at hand.