Guilin is one of China's most picturesque cities in southern part of China, with a population 4,760,000, and urban population of 603,500, Zhuang, Yao, Hui, Miao, Han, and Dong 12 ethnic groups, situated in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China on the west bank of the Lijiang River (also called the Li River). Its name means "forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. Guilin today is a tidy tourist city.Guilin is well known for its unique Karst scenery; therefore, the highlights in Guilin are its beautiful hills and elegant water. Its scenery is reputed by many Chinese to be "Guilin's scenery is best among all under Heaven". Most karst peaks are under 650 ft (198m) high. Dotted throughout the city, they are particulary concentrated along the Li River to the south of town. Explore Li River by boat to experience the real mean of "Gallery of Hills and Waters. Other scenic spots such as Reed Flute Cave and Seven-Star Cave - feel the fantastic karst, Camel Mountain, Elephant Trunk Hill - the symbol of Guilin, Piled Festoon Hill, Crescent Hill, Fubo Hill, Nanxi Hill in Guilin, West Street, Moon Hill, in Yangshuo, as well as the Terrace World - Longsheng Terrace in Longsheng. The Jingjiang Princes City is a royal complex dating from the Ming Dynasty that lies near the center of modern Guilin.
Guilin today is a tidy tourist city, but have local industry, such as pharmaceutical goods, tires, machinery, fertilizer, perfume, wine, tea, cinnamon, herbal medicine. Surranding urban part is agricultural area; local agricultural products such as Shatian Pomelo, summer orange, ginkgo, moon persimmon are grown.
In 314 BC, a small settlement was established along the banks of the Li River.
In 111 BC, during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Shi An County was established, which could be regarded as the beginning of the city.
In 507 AD, the town was renamed Guizhou.
Guilin prospered in the Tang and Song dynasties but remained a county. The city was also a nexus between the central government and the southwest border, and it was where regular armies were placed to guard that border. Canals were built through the city so that food supplies could be directly transported from the food-productive Yangtze plain to the farthest southwestern point of the empire.
In 1921, Guilin became one of the headquarters of the Northern Expeditionary Army led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
In 1940, the city acquired its present name. In 1981, this ancient city was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities (the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project.