Gansu Province Briefing
The Yellow River is refereed to as the Mother River of China. Lanzhou is the only provincial capital city that the river runs through. As a tribute to their mother river, the people of Lanzhou have erected this statue. It is a photographic must for any tourist, from China and abroad, who visits Lanzhou.
The rafts made of sheepskin, used by previous generations of people who lived along the Yellow River in China, have now become rare. Their occasional presence renders a stroke of ancient colour to this modern city. Drifting down the river on the raft, you will see the Zhongshan Bridge, which is referred to as 'the first bridge over the Yellow River.' This iron bridge, which stretches for 240 meters across the river was built in 1909 and has witnessed all the changes along the Yellow River in the last century, most of which are about the water of Yellow River. The restless Yellow River runs through Gansu Province. In the past, the people here used this kind of waterwheel to draw water for irrigation. Erected in 1952, this waterwheel has 252 wheels and the largest two of which are 16.5 meters in diameter. This waterwheel sits just in Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province.
Lanzhou is the capital of Gansu Province. Gansu is a long thin region located in the middle of western China. From end to end Gansu is 1,655 kms long, which is the same as the distance from Warsaw to London. But at its narrowest point, Gansu is only 25 kms wide. If you drove a car across this point it would only take about 1/2 hour. It's the Hexi Corridor that accounts for the province's unusually elongated shape;the corridor that the silk road caravans once came down, and which was once the only link between the west and China.
The Silk Road served as an international link for the political, economic and cultural communication between ancient China and the West. Opening up before 200BC, the Silk Road boasted nearly ten centuries prosperity. Due to its position, Gansu at the forefront of China was one of the first Chinese regions to accept material and spiritual influence from the West. The integration of Chinese and Western culture in Gansu has lasted from the past into the present. Situated in along the upper reaches of the Yellow River, Gansu offers a variety of landforms. Mountains, and deserts including the Gobi respectively take up 1/3 of the total area of the province. Though they seem rather barren, many places are rich in underground resources, and 145 natural minerals are found in the area. The abundant water resources have also been utilized. Gansu is one of the major pastoral areas in China.
Gansu has a long history and spectacular scenery. The various ethnic groups and diverse cultural heritage found in Gansu indicate the origins of the Chinese nation. The Mogaoku Cave Temple in Dunhuang, one of the three examples of cave temple art found in China, is one of the oldest, richest and best-preserved cultural and art treasures in the world It is referred to as a ' wonder of the world.' Nowadays, this lavish historical and cultural heritage improve people's prosperity, providing a pivot for tourism economic growth.
2000 years ago Lanzhou was an important city for commercial trade along the ancient Silk Road. It played a central role in commerce between China, central Asia and Europe. For 1000 years camel teams carried silk, porcelain and fresh produce to the west, returning with pearls and medicine. Today Lanzhou is still the center for commercial trade and primary produce in northwest China.
There are few Chinese people coming to Gansu, but the typical Lanzhou stretched noodle is well known throughout China. This stretched noodle contains basic ingredients and though its production method looks simple, it requires some skill. The result is truly delicious and as people's rhythm of life gets faster and faster, it continues to be a popular fast food in China, as McDonald's is in the west, used in established restaurants throughout the country.
Created in about 1875, the beef noodle, a flavor typically enjoyed in the west, needs skill to cook and enjoys a wide popularity. When the people in Gansu are savouring the tasty beef noodle, they have not forgotten the challenges they face.
Gansu is both blessed and cursed by nature. The province has fertile yellow earth that the Yellow River runs through, but the boundless Gobi desert also expands across other parts of the region. As one of the major plateau areas in China, Gansu is troubled by the lack of forestation and severe soil erosion. The ecological environment here is rather weak. The annual rainfall in Gansu is only about 300ml.These factors have attributed to the poverty and Gansu is seen as one of the poorer areas of China