The Lijiang River Scenic Zone at Guilin

Date of Submission: 12/02/1996
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO
Coordinates: Long. 110°5' -- 110°40' East Lat. 24°40' -- 25°25' North
Ref.: 108


The Lijiang River Scenic Zone at Guilin (24°40'-25°25'N, 11 0O5'-11 0°40'E) is located in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The total area is two thousand square kilometers which covers the entire city of Guilin, Yangshuo County and certain parts of Lingui, Lingchuan and Yongfu counties. Lijiang River Scenic Zone at Guilin together with its natural resources is owned by the state. In 1982 the State Council listed the Lijiang River Scenic Zone at Guilin among the first group of the major places of scenic and historic interest, which is now in the charge of the Administrative Bureau of the Lijiang River Scenic Zone at Guilin. The landforms of Guilin can be divided into four categories but corrosion takes the main part of the four, that means the low-lying land of peaks and plains of peak forests are the landform features of Guilin; then the corrosion landforms of hillock and gentle slope hillock; eroding landforms of ridge, ravine; and accumulation landforms of every terrace. The stone mountains, mainly of limerocks, of Guilin are composed of marine biochemical sediments. Years of weathering and water erosion have given shape to the rich and varied patterns of its present peaks, either in isolation or in cluster, and magnificent karst caves. The Lijiang River starts from Mao'er Mountain. The section of the river from the confluence of the Darong River to Pingle is the Lijiang River. It flows through Guilin and Yangshuo with a total length of 116 kilometers and a catchment area at its upper reaches of 2,860 square kilometers. The Guilin Scenic Zone has a long history. As far back as seven or eight thousand years ago, primitive men lived here in the manner of matrilineal communes. In 214 B.C. Emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin Dynasty ordered people to hew the Lingqu Canal and linked up the route of the Xiangjiang River to the Lijiang River and set up Guilin Prefecture. Later in the Song Dynasty, Guilin had begun to be noted throughout the country for its extreme natural beauty and the saying "Among all the mountains and waters, Guilin is the best" came into being. Guilin is well-known for its unique mountains and beautiful rivers. It mainly consists of five scenic sites. There are about 157 rock hills (now under first-class or second-class state protection respectively), 21 major karst caves and several hundred smaller ones. Among the solitary hills and protruding rocks of Guilin, flows the tranquil Lijiang River and its tributaries, which produce most spectacular sight. Guilin is also famous for its Reed Flute Cave and Seven-Star Rocks. There are a lot of cultural relics in the scenic zone. More than two thousand stone carvings scatter all over its scenic sites. There is the Lingqu Canal of the Qin Dynasty, site of Guyanguan Pass of the Qin and Han periods and the Imperial City of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Huaping primitive forest area; home of Cathay Silver Fir known as the world's living fossil, is located within 70 kilometers radius of Guilin City. The People's Government of Guilin City has made a program for the preservation of this scenic zone. Both the state and the local governments allocate certain amount of money each year for the development and preservation of the area.