It was an important city along the Silk Road that linked Chinese ancient capital - Xi'an with Central Asia and the Roman Empire. Branches of the Yellow River divide the city into several parts, giving Lanzhou a unique layout. Situated on the upper reaches of the Yellow River, Lanzhou has been important for thousands of years because of the Hexi Corridor (Corridor West of the Yellow River), in which early Chinese civilization began. About 3,000 years ago, in the Zhou Dynasty, agriculture began to take shape in the basins of the Jin and Wei Rivers that formed the corridor, marking the beginning of the great Yellow River basin civilization.
Just because Lanzhou was an important city in ancient time, there were many historical relics discovered from Lanzhou or surrounding, it is a famous tourist city in China too. There are dozen of attractions here, such as Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves, The Labrang Monastery, Water-wheel Park, Five Spring Park, Gansu Provincial Museum, White Pagoda Mountain, Liujiaxia Dam and so on.
Now, Lanzhou is a center in the northwest transportation, and has been a hub of communications between China's Central Plain and northwestern China. Lanzhou is the political, economic, and cultural center of Gansu Province. Its chief industries include oil refining, chemicals, machinery, and wool textiles. Lanzhou is connected with Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Yinchuan, Urumqi, Xining, and Jiuquan by air and has convenient railway communications as well.
The topography of Lanzhou is formed by three parts. They are valleys, basins, hilly land and Huangtumao ditch and gully area. The Yellow River is flowing through the whole city. Lanzhou abounds in coal. And also, there is gold, silver, zinc, nickel, manganese, clay and dolomite, etc. The resource of waterpower is abundant too. Amongst its major industries, especially the oil refinery, chemical, machinery and metallurgical industry, is in the first place in China. In agriculture, there is spring wheat, vegetables, beans, oil-boiling, melon, tobacco, drug and so on. Lanzhou is the important output place of roses and lilies Lanzhou. The reserve of rose-oil is in the first place. It can be about 80% of Chinese output. Lanzhou's fruits are famous too.