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General overview of Lijiang

Lijiang is a beautiful shining jewel on the Northwest Yunnan Plateau neighboring the southeast side of the Tibetan Plateau which is considered to be the "Roof of the World". It is impressive because of its scenery and lush vegetation. All the natural sceneries and cultural treasures of the minority peoples have been continuously drawing tourists from all over the world and have recently vote Lijiang as one of the favorite destinations in China.

一: History of Lijiang

The Old Town of Lijiang is also known as Dayan Town in Lijiangba. It is an intact ancient city inhabited mostly by Naxi ethnic people and covers an area of 1.5 square kilometers.

It was first built in Southern Song Dynasty and in 1253, Kublai (the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty) was stationed here on hismarch into the south. In Ming and Qing dynasties, it became much larger. Lijiang is world renowned as an ancient city built in a simple and artistic style and scientifically laid out. There is a square in its center. It was listed as a national historical and cultural city in 1986.

Geography

Lijiang City is located in the northwestern portion of Yunnan and borders Sichuan. It is in a region where the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (青藏高原) and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau (云贵高原/雲貴高原) converge.

Climate

Owing to its low latitude and high elevation, the city centre of Lijiang enjoys a subtropical highland climate (Koppen Cwb). Winters are normally mild, dry, and the sunniest time time of the year, with a highs of 13.7 to 14.8 °C (56.7 to 58.6 °F), but due to the aridity this time of year, lows often fall to around the freezing mark. Spring lasts from March to early June and begins relatively dry and sunny, but conditions progressively get moister and more overcast. Summers are warm and damp, with June and July means of 19 °C (66.2 °F), much cooler than lowland areas. Autumn lasts from late September to early December, progressively drying out. Annual precipitation is around 970 millimetres (38.2 in), almost all of it falling from May to October

Transport

Lijiang Airport is located in the south of Lijiang city, 28 km away from downtown. There is an airport shuttle bus service in downtown Lijiang. The airport was opened in July 1995 and has flights to Kunming, Chengdu, Xishuangbanna, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Guiyang. It also offers chartered airplane service. There are flights from Kunming to Lijiang every day and is about 30 minutes flight time.

There are bus services to, amongst others, Kunming City (8 hrs), Dali City (3 hrs), the Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shangri-La.

There is a train service to Kunming with one overnight and two day trains, and one day train to Dali.

二: PLACES OF INTEREST

The town has a history going back more than 800 years and was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road. The Lijiang old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town of Lijiang differs from other ancient Chinese cities in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents the Nakhi people, therefore people there are called 胖金哥 and 胖金妹 (pàng jīn gē, pàng jīn mèi, male and female respectively. THE OLD TOWN

This town was built about 800 years ago during the Southern Song Dynasty. Owing to it's unique ethnic culture and urban layout, this old town (including Baisha and Shuhe housing clusters) was enlisted to be one of World Cultural Heritage in 1997. This ancient town has an area of 3.8 square km with about 30,000 residents living in it. Two major families resides in this town: the Mu Family (the former ruling family) and the He Family. There are three entrance to the Old Town. Strolling causally along the Old Town, you can find beautiful cobbles stone path across the narrow streets. Most of the Naxi's houses were errected along the fast flowing streams in the old town. NAXI HOUSES

There are two basic types of Naxi houses in the Old Town. The first type has a courtyard enclosed by three sets of apartment and a wall. The second type has a big courtyard enclosed by four sets of apartment. There are also smaller courtyards at the four corners of the of house, one of which is the entrance.

THE CLEAR WATER STREAM

The crystal water that flows into the Old town originated from the spring in the Black Dragon Pool. When it reaches the Jade Bridge in front of the main entrance of the Old town, it splits into three different streams: the western, middle and eastern stream. These three streams of water are then further divided into other smaller streams to provide the Town with water.

BLACK DRAGON POOL

This site is situated just at the foot of the Elephant Hill, which is about a mile north of the Old Town. It is also called Jade Spring Park. In this park, you can find several traditional structures with their own unique and fascinating stories. To the south of the pool is a small waterfall where the water also flows into the Old Town. On a clear day, you could take many scenic pictures with the beautiful Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the background in this park. You can also enjoy the traditional Naxi music at the Opera Platform.

These pools are situated along the mountain ranges reaching a height of 3,500 meters above sea level. The best time of the year to hike up to this mountain is from April to July. During these months, the beautiful Azalea flowers will be blooming all over the mountain and dons the whole place with its magnificent colors.

三:Tourism development

The development of Lijiang's tourism is based on the realities and follows a road with Lijiang characteristics. It combines the beautiful natural landscape with the colorful ethnic culture and focuses on developing cultural tourism. The city has made good use of its unique culture to boost the development of its tourism industry, which has in turn promoted the development of its cultural industry. In this way, the two industries have maintained a coordinated and sustainable development.

The development of Lijiang's tourism started in the 1990s and after the development during

the Ninth Five Year Plan, the 10th Five Year Plan, and the 11th Five Year Plan, the number of domestic and foreign visitors to Lijiang increased 8-fold from 840,000 in 1995 to 7.6 million in 2009, with an average annual growth rate of 17 percent. The total revenue of tourism also increased from 326 million yuan in 1995 to nearly 8.9 billion yuan in 2009, an increase of 23 times with an average annual growth rate of nearly 26 percent.

Furthermore, the added value of the cultural industry increased from 235 million yuan in 2001 to 1.3 billion yuan in 2009, increasing 5.6 times. Now, tourism is the pillar industry in Lijiang, and the tertiary industry led by tourism accounts for half of the whole national economy. Lijiang's economic and social development cannot be separated from the promotion of the tourism.

The city has developed some well-known cultural brands such as the Dongba Culture, Naxi Ancient Music, and Mosuo Culture, and tourists can appreciate excellent performances such as the magnificent outdoor show "Impression Lijiang" and a type of folk dance named "Lishui Jinsha," which has greatly increased the cultural value of this tourist city. Fourth, stick to the principle of being market-oriented. Any product in China's socialist market economy should follow the laws of market economy.

On December 4, 1997 Old Town of Lijiang with a long history, unique style, splendid culture heritage by the United Nations Organization World Heritage List, became the first responsibility to protect shared by all mankind of the world heritage city .

五.Evaluation of the World Heritage Committee:

The ancient city of Lijiang, the economic and strategic powerhouse with the rugged terrain skillfully together, true, perfect preservation and reproduction of the ancient style. After numerous ancient dynasties building the baptism of vicissitudes, which integrate the cultural characteristics of each nation and famous. Lijiang also has the old water supply system, the system criss-cross, delicate unique, still play a role effectively.