Jinli Street, located to the east of the Wuhou Memorial Temple of Chengdu (the most famous Three Kingdoms relic museum in China) is particularly representative of this city. It is recorded that as early as the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC), Jinli Street was the most famous place for baldachin – a rich, ornate cloth. And it was one of the busiest commercial areas during the Shu Kingdom (221-263). Hence, it is known as “First Street of the Shu Kingdom”. In order to reclaim its glory days, it was restored with contributions from the Wuhou Memorial Temple and opened to the public in 2004. Since then, visitors from all over China and abroad gather here to relax, admire traditional-style buildings, and taste local snacks.
Visitors strolling down the narrow street will find themselves surrounded by old-world stores selling Shu Embroidery, lacquer products, folk handicrafts, curios, calligraphies and paintings of celebrities. The stores all have one thing in common: no matter how busy they get, they always have a peaceful, relaxing ambience.
Jinli features theme activities on traditional festival days, Jinli has some theme activities, such as: Lantern exhibitions on Lantern Festival, zong zi (glutinous rice wrapped in pyramid-shaped bamboo leaves) eating competition on the Dragon Boat Festival, appreciating the glorious full moon on the Mid-Autumn Festival and others.
Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center
The giant pandas are not only a Chinese national treasure but are also beloved by people the world over. They are found only in the Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. There are fewer than 1,000 pandas, 80 percent of which are distributed within the Sichuan province. Little wonder that when domestic and international visitors come to Chengdu, uppermost on their list of attractions is to see the giant pandas.
Located just 10 km (6 miles) away from downtown Chengdu, the Panda Breeding Research Center was created to imitate the pandas’ natural habitat in order to give them the best possible environment for rearing and breeding. The 92-acre center also cares for other rare and endangered wild animals. Giant pandas, lesser pandas, black-necked cranes, white storks as well as more than 20 species of rare animals are fed and bred there throughout the year.
The Giant Panda Museum opened in 1993 to further research and improve public awareness of the need to protect wild animals and their environment. It’s the world’s only thematic museum for rare and endangered animal species. The three main exhibitions are in the Giant Panda Hall, the Butterfly Hall and the Vertebrate Hall. The exhibits include a comprehensive amount of pictures, more than 800 materials and showcase more than
2, 140 different samples gathered in Sichuan, including animals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects as well as fossils and models. The museum’s resources include up to 10,000 samples as well as a library of thousands of books and documents. This excellent and comprehensive museum provide a wonderful venue for all who are interested in seeing something of the propagation and protection of the region’s natural bio-diversity.
Three-Star Piles Museum (Sanxingdui Museum)
The Three-Star Piles Museum (Sanxingdui Museum) is located northeast of the Three-Star Piles archaeological site, west of the famous cultural city of Guanghan, on the bank of Jian River (commonly called Yazi River), 40 kilometers (about 24.9 miles) north of Chengdu City. Covering an exhibition area of 4,000 square meters (nearly 1 acre), and opened in 1997 this is an archeological museum with excellent modern facilities. The cultural relics preserved here were mostly unearthed from the Three-Star Piles site which gets its name from three earth mounds at the site. The site is a cultural relic of the ancient Shu (Sichuan). It is an important archaeological discovery which has changed people’s understanding of ancient history and culture.
For visitors who want to learn more about about Chinese Shu (Sichuan) culture, this is the place to go, for the civilization unveiled by the cultural relics here are a true wonder.
The Relic area stretches for about 12 square kilometers (about 4.6 square miles), and is the largest, oldest Shu cultural relic in Sichuan. According to myth, the Heavenly Emperor cast down three handfuls of earth which fell near the Jian River and became three earth mounds (the Three-Star Piles) on the Chengdu Plain. In reality, the three earth mounds are the southern wall of an ancient city that was built of earth, as confirmed by modern archaeology. There were two breaches in the city wall which after their collapse and subsequent erosion became the three mounds we see today.
The discovery of the Three-Star Piles Relic was pure luck. In the spring of 1929, a peasant found a piece of bright-colored jade while he was digging ditch. This led to discovery of a mysterious ancient kingdom; subsequently, more than 400 jade items were excavated. Subsequently, from 1933, systematic excavations and archaeological work continued for half a century. The relic site, with more than 3,000-year history might even be the capital of ancient Shu. Ultimately, Three-Star Piles Relic is the spiritual homeland of the ancient Shu people and the Museum is the place for modern people to meet the ancient Shu.
Jinsha Site Museum
After six years of construction, Jinsha Site Museum was finally completed in 2006. Covering a total area of about 38,000 square meters (9 acres), it mainly consists of Relics Hall, Exhibition Hall, Cultural Heritage Protection Center and Ecological Garden. It is a rare Chinese museum because of its combination of modern civilization and that of the ancient Shu State, as well as the combination of ecological environment and cultural evolution.
The Jinsha Site Museum was built to protect, study and display the archaeological finds of Jinsha Site, which was discovered by archaeologists in February 2001. Covering an area of about five square kilometers (1,236 acres), the Jinsha Site probably dates back to about 3,000 years ago during the time of the late Shang Dynasty(17th-11th century BC) to the early Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC). A total of 63 sacrificial spots, 6,000 pieces of precious relics, more than 70 building spots and three centralized cemeteries were unearthed here.
Jinsha Site has the world’s most concentrated ancient ivory of a wide range of shapes and sizes unearthed from this time period. Additionally, there are a small number of elephant skulls and molars. After further inspection, these ivories were considered to be from local Asian elephants. A significant amount of gold pieces (more than 200) and jade (more than 2,000 pieces) have also been unearthed at Jinsha.
Another unique feature of the Jinsha Site is its lifelike stone statues. Kneeling stone figures, stone tigers and stone snakes all make appearances from a canvas of red, black, white, other colors and smart techniques with flowing lines.
Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area
If wonderlands actually existed on earth, Jiuzhaigou Valley would be one of them, at least so goes a common saying in these parts. Nowhere else has the awe-inspiring, dreamlike beauty Jiuzhaigou radiates.
Jiuzhaigou Valley is located in Nanping County, 450 kilometers (about 280 miles) to the north of Chengdu City. Its name is derived from nine stockade villages of Tibetan origin, and it is always regarded as a holy mountain and watercourse by the Tibetan people.
Seeing is believing at Jiuzhaigou, it is a great masterpiece of nature with incredible scenery, combining spectacular blue lakes, waterfalls, verdant forests, snow-covered mountains, with the folk customs of the Tibetan and Qian peoples. Legend has it that the deity of a mountain named Dago had a crush on the goddess Semo, and he gave a mirror that was made from wind and cloud to the goddess. However, the devil appeared and troubled Semo who inadvertently, broke the mirror into 108 pieces, which fell down to the earth and then turned into 108 colorful lakes. The lake is also called Haizi by local people.
In addition to its dreamlike scenery, there are numerous flora and fauna in the scenic area. The natural forest covers an area of nearly 30,000 hectares (about 74,132 acres), including 2,576 higher plant species (24 species of national protected plants) and more than 400 lower plant species (212 species of algae). The diversity of flora has provided a good environment for wild animals. There are 170 species of vertebrates, 141 species of birds and 17 species of rare animals at Jiuzhaigou. Among them the first rank has giant pandas, takins, golden monkeys and the second rank has lesser pandas, marmots, and blue sheep.
Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area
‘World Wonder’ and ‘Fairy Land on Earth’ are nicknames for the Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area, which is well-known for its colorful lakes, snow clad mountains, valleys and virgin forest. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1992. The Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area is famous for its outstanding travertine (calcium carbonate) formations. With the virgin forest as its backdrop, the travertine scenery holds colorful ponds, beaches, lakes, springs, waterfalls, caves, etc.
The scenic area is located in Songpan County, in the northwest part of Sichuan Province and encompasses the Huanglong and Muni Valley. The major scenery is concentrated in the Huanglong Valley that includes snow-clad peaks and the easternmost glaciers in China. Due to its layered calcium carbonated deposit patterns, the valley resembles a golden dragon winding its way through the virgin forest, stone mountains and glaciers. Along the valley are numerous colorful ponds of different sizes and shapes, which are strewn with gold colored limestone deposit giving a shimmering golden hue to water, so in sunlight, a golden dragon seems to surge forth from the forest. Thus its name ‘Huanglong Valley’ (meaning Yellow Dragon Valley). In the Yellow Dragon Cave, there are three sitting Buddha figures whose bodies are encrusted with calc-sinter crystals. In winter, ice forest, bamboo shoots and waterfalls, form a magical icy scene.
Shitazhenhai is the most beautiful attraction of the scenic area. The calcium carbonate deposits give a myriad of different hues to the water, which is truly breath-taking. Zhuanhua Pond is crystal clear and the spring water never stops welling up. If one throws flowers or leaves into the pond, they will swirl rhythmically with flow of the water
Upon entering the scenic area, a group of exquisite, crystal clear ponds will immediately catch visitors’ eyes with their unparalleled aesthetic charm. These are the Yingbin (welcoming guests) Colored Ponds. In spring, the luxuriant trees, blooming flowers, butterflies and birdsong enhance their glamour even more. From the ponds, one can see the interwoven reflection of trees, mountains, clouds and sky, which is a veritable feast to the eyes.
Along the valley, you will see many attractions including Feipuliuhui (glowing waterfall), Xishen (washing body) Cave, Penjing Ponds, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Temple, Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Cave, Shitazhenhai and Zhuanhua (whirling flower) Pond, etc.
The Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area gained its fame for its magical landscape of limestone formations, as well as the forest ecosystems and animals on the brink of extinction, such as the giant panda and Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey.
Dujiangyan Irrigation Project
In China, Chengdu is always praised as the Tian Fu Zhi Guo, which means ‘Nature’s Storehouse’. Over 2,200 years ago, the city was threatened by the frequent floods caused by flooding of the Minjiang River (a tributary of the Yangtze River). Li Bing, a local official of Sichuan Province at that time, together with his son, decided to construct an irrigation system on the Minjiang River to prevent flooding. After a lengthy study and a lot of hard work by the local people, the great Dujiangyan Irrigation Project was completed. Since then, the Chengdu Plain has been freed of flooding and the people have been living peacefully and affluently. Now, the project is honored as the ‘Treasure of Sichuan’, which still plays a crucial role in draining off floodwater, irrigating farms and providing water resources for more than 50 cities in the province.
Dujiangyan is the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world; and a wonder in the development of Chinese science. The project consists of three important parts, namely Yuzui, Feishayan and Baopingkou scientifically designed to automatically control the water flow of the rivers from the mountains to the plains throughout the year.
Mount Qingcheng is located southwest of the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project of China in Sichuan Province and is one of the most famous Taoist mountains in China. Surrounded by numerous peaks it’s shaped like a city and is dubbed ‘the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven’ blending almost seamlessly with its evergreen scenery.
Visitors will find an array of spectacular cultural relics and historic temples at Mount Qingcheng, including Jianfu Palace, Shangqing Palace, and Tianshi Cave, which is the major temple here. The Laojun Pavilion is located on its highest peak, also known as Pengzu Peak, at an elevation of more than 4,100 feet. Other buildings to see are the Sanhuang Palace, the Sanqing Palace and the Huangdi Temple. The Shangqing Palace was originally built in the Jin Dynasty, however, only a part of the buildings constructed in the Qing Dynasty remain.