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Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area

Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area

A spectacular area stretching over more than 26,000 ha in China's Hunan Province, the site is dominated by more than 3,000 narrow sandstone pillars and peaks, many over 200 m high. Between the peaks lie ravines and gorges with streams, pools and waterfalls, some 40 caves, and two large natural bridges. In addition to the striking beauty of the landscape, the region is also noted for the fact that it is home to a number of endangered plant and animal species.

Région d'intérêt panoramique et historique de Wulingyuan

S'étendant sur plus de 26 000 ha dans la province du Hunan, le site est dominé par plus de 3 000 piliers et pics de grès à quartzite dont beaucoup ont plus de 200 m de haut. Il se caractérise aussi par la présence de torrents, de gorges, d'étangs et d'une quarantaine de grottes, ainsi que de deux très grands ponts naturels. À l'extraordinaire beauté des paysages s'ajoute le fait que la région abrite un certain nombre d'espèces végétales et animales menacées d'extinction.

منطقة ولينغيوان ذات الأهميّة الجماليّة والتاريخيّة

يمتد هذا الموقع على مساحة أكثر من 26000 هكتار في مقاطعة هونان ويعلوه أكثر من 3000 عمود وقمّة من الحجر الرملي ذات الحثّ الصواني التي يتعدى الكثير منها ارتفاع 200 متر. كما يمتاز بوجود السيول والمضائق والمستنقعات وحوالى أربعين كهفاً، إضافةً إلى جسرين طبيعيين كبيرين. يُضاف إلى جمال الموقع وجود العديد من الأصناف النباتيّة والحيوانيّة المهددة بالإنقراض في هذه المنطقة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

武陵源风景名胜区

武陵源景色奇丽壮观,位于中国湖南省境内,连绵26 000多公顷,景区内最独特的景观是3 000余座尖细的砂岩柱和砂岩峰,大部分都200余米高。在峰峦之间,沟壑、峡谷纵横,溪流、池塘和瀑布随处可见,景区内还有40多个石洞和两座天然形成的巨大石桥。除了迷人的自然景观,该地区还因庇护着大量濒临灭绝的动植物物种而引人注目。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Пейзажная достопримечательная зона Улинъюань

Живописная местность площадью более 26 тыс. га, находящаяся в провинции Хунань, украшена высокими песчаниковыми пиками, которых здесь более 3 тыс. Эти пики, высота которых превышает 200 м, разделены глубокими ущельями с горными потоками, озерами и водопадами. Здесь есть также около 40 пещер, а также два естественных каменных моста. В дополнение к исключительной экзотичности эта местность имеет значение и как убежище для исчезающих видов растений и животных.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Región de interés panorí¡mico e histórico de Wulingyuan

Este sitio de la provincia de Hunan se extiende por una superficie de mí¡s de 26.000 hectí¡reas. Posee mí¡s de 3.000 pilares y picos de arenisca de cuarzo, muchos de los cuales se yerguen a mí¡s de 200 metros de altura. Sus numerosos torrentes, barrancos, desfiladeros y grandes remansos de agua, así­ como la presencia de unas 40 grutas y dos inmensos puentes naturales, imprimen al paisaje una belleza extraordinaria. Ademí¡s, la región alberga numerosas especies vegetales y animales en peligro de extinción.

source: UNESCO/ERI

武陵源の自然景観と歴史地域

source: NFUAJ

Wulingyuan: gebied van landschappelijke en historische betekenis

Het gebied Wulingyuan ligt in de Hunan provincie en bestrijkt het stroomgebied van de rivier de Suoxi. Opmerkelijk zijn de ruim 3.000 smalle zandstenen pilaren en pieken op dit terrein, waarvan er veel een hoogte van meer dan 200 meter hebben. Tussen de pieken in bevinden zich ravijnen en kloven met beekjes, meertjes en watervallen, 40 grotten en twee grote natuurlijke bruggen. De regio is niet alleen bekend vanwege de uitzonderlijke schoonheid van het landschap, maar ook omdat Wulingyuan het leefgebied vormt van een groot aantal bedreigde planten- en diersoorten.

Source: unesco.nl

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Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area © Vincent Ko Hon Chiu
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Wulingyuan is an island of nature within a heavily populated agricultural region. A spectacular area stretching some 26,400ha in China’s Hunan Province, the site is dominated by more than 3,000 narrow quartz sandstone pillars, many over 200m high. Nestled within its towering peaks lie ravines and gorges with streams, pools and waterfalls, two large natural bridges, and some 40 caves. Impressive calcite deposits are a notable feature within these caves. In addition to the striking beauty of the landscape, including spectacular jagged stone peaks, luxuriant vegetation cover and clear lakes and streams, the region is also home to a number of endangered plant and animal species.

Criterion (vii): The huge number of sandstone columns and peaks—more than 3,000—are spectacular. These, coupled with other land forms (natural bridges, ravines, waterfalls, streams, pools and caves) and dense broadleaf forest, present an aesthetically beautiful landscape enhanced by the mists and clouds which frequently shroud the site. There are more than 40 caves and two huge natural stone bridges, one of which rises 357 m above the valley floor.

At time of evaluation it was also noted that with additional information there could also be justification for inscribing this property under criterion (x), as the site provides important habitat for a number of threatened plant and animal species such as dhole, Asiatic black bear and Chinese water deer.

Integrity

The property has within its boundaries all the necessary elements demonstrating the natural beauty for which it was inscribed, as well as a buffer zone. Integrity issues noted at time of inscription include human pressure from use of the reserve by people living in and around it, and the intense pressure from visitors. Numerous tourist facilities also have an aesthetic impact on the natural values of the property. However many measures have been and are still being undertaken to address these issues.

Protection and management requirements

Wulingyuan was approved and listed as a national key scenic area by the Chinese State Council in 1988, thus has a long history of protection under relevant national and provincial laws and regulations. In 1999, owing to the growing commercialization and loss of natural values, the local authorities declared the Decision of Protecting Wulingyuan World Natural Heritage Property, and began the demolition of houses in the scenic areas. The scenic area was expanded, settlement was reduced and ecological tourism was promoted. By the end of 2002, the adverse impacts on the aesthetic values of Wulingyuan scenic areas had been mitigated. In January 2001, the Hunan Provincial People’s Congress Standing Committee implemented the Regulations on Protection of Wulingyuan World Natural Heritage Property, providing a stronger legal basis for protection. The property is managed by the Administrative Bureau of Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area assisted by several other resource management agencies. The Office of Heritage Protection was established in 2000 as the operational agency for managing the property and subsequently the Zhangjiajie, Tianzishan, Suoxiyu and Yangjiajie Scenic Area Offices and Protection Stations were established. In total, there are approximately 500 management staff. Museums and visitor centres have been created for research, education and interpretation of the property’s natural values

In 2005, the Comprehensive Plan of Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area was revised and Wulingyuan World Natural Heritage protection regulations were established to ensure the long-term protection and conservation of the property. The quartz sandstone peaks, columns, karst landscapes, gorges, species, vegetation, ecology, and all other elements that contribute to be aesthetic value of Wulingyuan need to be strictly maintained and monitored. The number, seasonal distribution and activities of visitors is scientifically controlled and adjusted so that a dynamic balance between World Heritage, people and the economy is established. In order to deal with the challenges of tourism development and environment protection, special organizations have been established which monitor all the elements contributing to the aesthetic value of the property cited above as well as the numbers of visitors and their impact, air quality, water quality, environmental quality, electronic radiation, and noise in order to fulfil both the requirements of international conventions and national laws and regulations.
Long Description

The site lies in the Wulingyuan District of the city of Dayong and covers the entire drainage basin of the Suoxi Brook, which winds for 69 km through the site. The most notable feature, dominating about two-thirds of the site, are more than 3,000 quartzite sandstone pillars and peaks. Between the peaks are numerous ravines and gorges, many containing attractive streams, pools and waterfalls. The site also contains a number of karst features, notably some 40 caves which are concentrated on the banks of the Suoxiyu River and the south-east side of Tianzi Mountain. Huanglong or Yellow Dragon Cave is said to be one of the 10 largest caves in China. Spectacular calcite deposits are a major feature of many of these caves.

There are two spectacular natural bridges in the area: Xianrenqias (Bridge of the Immortals) and Tianqiashengkong (Bridge Across the Sky). It lies 357 m above the valley floor and may be the highest natural bridge in the world. The site is popularly known to have '800 brooks and streams' but in reality, there are far less, perhaps 60. Many drain into the Suoxi River which runs through the centre of the site. One of the side branches of this river has been dammed at one point, creating Baojeng Lake. This lake has been created for water supply, flood control and to enhance the habitat for the Chinese giant salamander as well as for recreation.

Wulingyuan lies in the Central China Botanic Region of the Sino-Japanese Botanic Zone, and was a refuge for many ancient species during the Quaternary glacial period. Below 700 m the community is predominantly evergreen broadleaf. Between 700 m and 950 m, there is a mixed community of evergreen and deciduous broadleaved trees. There are also some coniferous species including Chinese plum yew and pines. Above 950 m, there is a community of deciduous broadleaved trees, bushes and herbs; in some areas below 1,000 m, extensive communities are dominated by pine.

3,000 species of plant occur within the area, including some 600 species of woody plant; these are split fairly evenly between tropical/subtropical and temperate species. Many of the species are of value for timber, medical or ornamental purposes.

A number of faunal species are globally threatened with extinction: Chinese giant salamander, Asiatic wild dog, Asiatic black bear, clouded leopard, leopard and Chinese water deer. The clouded leopard population is likely to be very small, although tracks and others signs have been found they have never actually been seen.

Unlike many other areas of China, the site does not have a long human history. In ancient times it was regarded as remote and inaccessible. Local legends indicate that Zhangliang, a lord in the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), lived in seclusion in Wulingyuan and was buried below Qingyan (now Zhangjiajie) Mountain.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

Approved as a scenic and historic interest area by the State Council in 1988, and was placed under the authority of Wulingyuan District Government which was created in the same year. In ancient times, the site was remote, inaccessible and seldom visited: it thus remained almost untouched by man until the founding of People's Republic of China in 1949. Since that time it was under the administration of three county governments, until the Wulingyuan District was established and instructed to take great care to ensure protection, with the closure of some hills to facilitate afforestation. In 1992 the core zone was established as a natural World Heritage Site on the basis of criterion (iii).

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation