Top 10 attractions, what you must visit in a Gansu Trip

Morgen Mo
1465 Words/6 Minutes, By Morgen Mo, Updated March 03, 2023

Dunhuang's Mogao Caves

A UNESCO World Heritage site featuring thousands of Buddhist cave temples and mural paintings dating back to the 4th century.

The Mogao Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes, are a series of ancient Buddhist cave temples located near the city of Dunhuang, containing some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning over a thousand years, with over 700 caves housing murals, sculptures, and manuscripts that provide insights into the history, religion, art, and culture of China and Central Asia along the Silk Road. More about Mogao Grottoes >>

Labrang Monastery

Labrang Monastery, also known as Labuleng Monastery, is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is located in Xiahe County of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The monastery was founded in 1709 and covers an area of over 1.7 million square meters, featuring numerous halls, chapels, and stupas, as well as a vast collection of Buddhist scriptures, murals, and Tibetan artifacts. It is considered one of the most important centers of Tibetan Buddhist learning and practice outside of Tibet and attracts numerous pilgrims and tourists every year.

More about the Labrang Monastery >>

Jiayuguan Fort

Jiayuguan Fort is a historic fortress located in the city of Jiayuguan. It is known as the "First Pass Under Heaven" because it was the westernmost fortress of the Great Wall of China in ancient times.

The fort was built during the Ming dynasty in the early 14th century and served as a key military stronghold guarding the western end of the Great Wall. It was strategically located at the narrowest point of the Hexi Corridor, a vital trade and military route that connected China with Central Asia.

The fort consists of an inner city, an outer city, and a moat. It is surrounded by a high wall with watchtowers, cannons, and gates. The fort was equipped with various defense systems, including a drawbridge, a moat, and a watchtower.

Today, Jiayuguan Fort is a popular tourist attraction and an important historical site in China. Visitors can explore the fort and learn about its history and significance in protecting China's borders during ancient times. The fort also hosts cultural performances and events that showcase traditional Chinese art and music.

Zhangye Danxia Landform

The Zhangye Danxia Landform is a unique geological formation located in Gansu. It is characterized by its colorful rock formations, which have been shaped over millions of years through erosion, wind and water.

The unique colors of the rocks are the result of red sandstone and mineral deposits that have been exposed through erosion. The layers of different colors create a stunning and picturesque landscape that attracts visitors from all over the world.

The Zhangye Danxia Landform is located in the Zhangye National Geopark, which covers an area of 322 square kilometers. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009, and it has since become a popular tourist destination.

Visitors to the Zhangye Danxia Landform can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and sightseeing. There are also several viewing platforms and walking trails that offer stunning views of the landscape.

The best time to visit the Zhangye Danxia Landform is from June to September, when the weather is warm and dry. However, the park can get crowded during this time, so it's best to plan ahead and book accommodations and tours in advance.

Maiji Mountain Grottoes

The Maiji Mountain Grottoes, also known as Maijishan Grottoes, is a series of Buddhist cave temples located in Tianshui. The grottoes are carved into a cliff face on Maiji Mountain and contain thousands of Buddhist statues, murals, and sculptures.

The grottoes were first constructed in the late Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) and were continuously expanded and renovated over the next 1,500 years. Today, there are 194 caves in total, containing over 7,000 sculptures and 1,000 square meters of murals.

The sculptures and murals at the Maiji Mountain Grottoes are highly valued for their artistic and historical significance. They represent a fusion of Buddhist art from various periods and regions, and provide important insights into the evolution of Buddhist art in China.

The grottoes are open to the public and can be reached via a steep climb up the mountain. Visitors can explore the caves and admire the intricate artwork, including depictions of Buddha, bodhisattvas, and other Buddhist figures. The Maiji Mountain Grottoes are a UNESCO World Heritage site and are considered one of the most important examples of Chinese Buddhist art.

Leitai Han Tomb

The Leitai Han Tomb is an ancient burial site located in Wuwei City. It was built during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE-9 CE) and is known for its unique and well-preserved bronze artifacts.

The tomb was discovered in 1969 and is believed to have belonged to a high-ranking Han Dynasty official. The tomb chamber contains a large number of bronze objects, including weapons, musical instruments, and domestic items such as mirrors, lamps, and pots. The most famous artifact is the Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow, a bronze sculpture of a horse that is considered one of the finest examples of Han Dynasty art.

The tomb and its artifacts are important not only for their artistic and historical significance, but also for what they reveal about Han Dynasty culture and technology. The bronze objects are highly sophisticated, indicating advanced metallurgical techniques and a deep understanding of the properties of bronze.

Today, the Leitai Han Tomb is open to the public and is considered a national treasure. Visitors can see the tomb chamber and view the bronze artifacts on display in the nearby museum. The site is an important attraction for those interested in ancient Chinese history and art.

White Pagoda Mountain

White Pagoda Mountain is a scenic area located in Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu. The mountain is named after a white pagoda that sits on its summit, and it is a popular tourist destination for its beautiful natural scenery and cultural landmarks.

The White Pagoda is a seven-story octagonal tower that was built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). It is made of white marble and stands at a height of 17 meters. The pagoda is considered an important historical landmark in Lanzhou and is surrounded by a beautiful park and gardens.

In addition to the pagoda, White Pagoda Mountain is known for its stunning natural scenery. The mountain is covered with lush forests and is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, deer, and wild boars. There are also several hiking trails that wind through the mountain, providing visitors with panoramic views of the city and the Yellow River.

The mountain is also home to several other cultural landmarks, including the Xiguan Mosque, a beautiful example of traditional Islamic architecture, and the Five-Spring Temple, which is known for its beautiful frescoes and statues.

The best time to visit White Pagoda Mountain is during the spring and summer months when the weather is mild and the mountain is in full bloom. Visitors can enjoy hiking, sightseeing, and exploring the cultural landmarks of this beautiful area.

Bingling Temple Grottoes

Bingling Temple Grottoes, also known as Thousand Buddha Caves, is a complex of Buddhist grottoes located near Yongjing County in Gansu. The grottoes were built during the Western Jin Dynasty (265-316 AD) and expanded during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD), Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), and Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD).

The grottoes consist of 183 caves, with the most notable being the Wooden Pagoda Cave, which houses a wooden pagoda that is over 900 years old. The pagoda is an impressive structure made entirely of wood, with no nails or screws used in its construction.

The grottoes also contain numerous Buddhist statues and murals, many of which date back to the Tang and Song dynasties. These works of art provide valuable insights into the history and culture of ancient China.

Today, the Bingling Temple Grottoes are a popular tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can explore the caves and admire the intricate sculptures and frescoes while learning about the history and significance of this important cultural site.

Morgen Mo

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