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Jiuquan and Around

Located at the west end of the Hexi Corridor, Jiuquan was one of the four prefectures established in the area west of the Yellow River in Gansu during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - A.D. 24). Jiuquan, literally meaning wine spring, has a story behind its name. When he was stationed in what is present-day Jiuquan, General Huo Cubing who lived during the Western Han period received a jar of wine from the emperor. Because the wine was not enough to go round among his men, he poured it into a spring fountain so that one and all could have a share of it. Hence the name of Jiuquan. Jiuquan was known as Suzhou in the Sui Dynasty (581-618).

Measuring 680 kilometers from east to west and 550 kilometers from north to south, it boasts seven groups of grottoes including those at Mogao and Yulin, more than 27 sites of ancient towns and strongholds, 13 well-preserved sections of the Great Wall, 100 beacon towers, and over 30 ancient temple structures. The average annual temperature is between 3.9¢XC and 9.3¢XC. With the Sulei, Heihe, and Haleteng rivers running through the area, Jiuquan has a flourishing oasis agriculture.

The Yulin (Elm Forest) Grottoes in Anxi


They are located 68 kilometers south of Anxi in a deep valley where elms abound. Of the remaining 42 caves 32 are on the east cliff and 10 on the west. They were built and restored during the Tang (618-907), Five Dynasties (907-960), Song (960-1279), Western Xia (1038-1227), Yuan (1271-1368), and Qing (1644-1911) periods. They have 272 statues and 5,650 square meters of wall paintings including 10,826 pictures of Buddhist saints. The Yulin Grottoes are similar to those at Mogao in Dunhuang in contents and art form and are considered of importance to cave art in the world.

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