Located in the northwest of Sichuan Province and along the southeastern fringe of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, the Aha Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture has jurisdiction over 13 counties that are home to concentrated settlements of the two minorities. Aba Prefecture has rich tourism resources and is home to some of the few remaining giant pandas in the wild. The region also includes the Sleeping Dragon Nature Reserve, the mountaineer's paradise at Siguniang Mountains, the Miyaluo Maple Leaves Scenic Resort, Jiuzhai Gully, the Yellow Dragon Scenic Resort, and the Nuoergai Grasslands.
Jiuzhai Gully, situated some 450 kms from Chengdu, is named for the 9 Tibetan villages in the gully. The lake, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and virgin forests provide colorful views all year-round. Six scenic resorts have been opened in the gully. These are Baojingyan, Shuzheng, Rize, Jianyan, Changhai, and Zharu. In 1992, Jiuzhai Gully was listed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage.
Not far from Jiuzhai Gully, in Songpan County, the Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Scenic Resort is 340 kilometers from Chengdu. Along a milky-yellow slope at 3,000 to 3,558 meters above sea level, thousands of small lakes havc formed on the mountainside. The myriad colors, shapes, and sizes create a mysterious and fantastic impression. Included in the resort are the scenic districts of Huanglong, Mouni (Buddhism) Gully, Danyun (Red Cloud) Gorge. and Xuebao Pond. The UNESCO listed it as a World Natural Heritage in 1992.
Located at the juncture of Xiaojin, Lixian, and Liuchuan counties, the Siguniang Mountains (the Four Maidens Mountains) is the highest peak in the Qionglai Mountain System and lies on the eastern edge of the Hengduan Mountain Range. Four peaks span from the north to the south. Because Tibetans revere mountains as sacred and female, these peaks have been long regarded as four beautiful maidens, and their snow covering is thought of as a delicate white veil. The tallest peak is snow-capped year-round, and the second tallest is surrounded by a glacier-fed river.
Maoxian Count) is home to a large group of Qiang. The high watchtower are unique Qiang architecture. During the Qiang New Year and other native festivals, the locals enjoy horse racing, drinking locally-produced wines, and dancing. The Qiang women are known throughout China for their skill in embroidery.
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