Xingwen Geopark in Sichuan Province
Sichuan Xingwen Stone Sea is the first and only internationally recognized geopark—a site of special geological interest.
A key national scenic spot, stretching to nearly 121 square kilometer, includes a central area of 14 square kilometers.
Located in Xingwen County of Yibin City, stone forests in various shapes,
huge pits on its surface and the largest underground karst caves in China are all to be found in the geopark.
In addition, the geopark is a perfect place to research and experience ethnic customs and culture typical of the region.
The geopark is where the Bo ethnic group, an ancient tribe native to the country’s southwest lived until becoming extinct during the Ming Dynasty.
Historical data indicates the Bo’s ancestry dated back to the Qin Dynasty, the first centralized Chinese feudal dynasty.
They were regarded as the most valiant and kindest among the ancient ethnic groups of the region.
As a land inhabited by the Bo’s for centuries, the geopark is full of the vestiges of the vanished ethnic group,
and not surprisingly an area much valued by historians. One custom of particular interest is Xuanguan, the funeral rites of the Bo,
in which the coffins of the dead are placed in tree forks or stone slits in the towering and steep cliffs.
The region where the geopark is located is also the largest dwelling place of the Miao ethnic group in the province, whose population numbers about 40,000.
Miao tradition costumes, wedding and funeral customs, religious beliefs, folk arts and crafts, oral literature and folk music have all survived
and have remained much the same for countless ages in the region Grand landscapes, rich geological remains and the unique legacy of the Bo
and Miao cultures make the peopark a jewel in terms of scientific and folk custom research. Currently, there are 33 world geoparks,
of which 112 such geoparks are in China.