Also called Dian or Yun for short, the southwest Chinese province of Yunnan covers an area of over 380000 square kilometers. During the Warring States Period (475BC-221BC), the region belonged to the State of Dian. In the Tang and Song Dynasties, it was under the jurisdiction of the State of Nanzhao and Dali. During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Yunnan Province was installed. The province has a population of 42.88 million; it is the home to compact communities of 26 ethic peoples including Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Dai, Miao, Hui, Lahu, and others. The population of minority nationalities makes up one third of the province's total population or one seventh of the China's, making Yunnan a province with most ethic minority in China. Kunming is the Provincial capital.
Yunnan is situated on the Yungui Plateau, and mountains account for 94 per cent of the province's total area. Its complicated and varied climates make it a best home to thousands of thirds, animals and plants, which win it a reputation of "the Kingdom of Plants and Animals". Yunnan is rich in resources of tourist for its favorable conditions of geography, rich resources of nature and countless cultural relics and historical sites. Old Town of Lijiang and the Three Parallel Rivers are world heritage sites, and Kunming, Dali and Lijiang are all national famous historical and cultural cities. Dianchi Lake, Stone Forest of Lunan, Xishuang Banna, and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain are listed as National Important Scenic Resorts. Other attractions are Yuantong Temple, Grand View Pavilion, Emerald Lake Park, Black Dragon Pool, Site of the World Horticultural Exposition of Kunming, Manfeilong Pagoda, Three Pagodas at Dali, Butterfly Spring, Cangshan Mountain, Erhai Lake, Lugu Lake, and so on. Among the original folk festivals held here are the Torch Festival in Lunan, Water-Splashing Festival in Olive Dam and the Third Month Street Fair of Dali.
Old Town of Lijiang
As a state-level ancient cultural town, Lijiang is located in the northwest of Yunnan Province, and covers an area of 3.8 square kilometers. The town has a history of 800 years. At the end of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), the Naxi (also spelt Nakhi or Nahi) ethnic group moved here and built the town. The town is famous for its unique layout. Combining the architecture styles of Han, Tibetan, Bai, and other ethnic groups, the old town still preserves in its overall structure, the traditional natural aesthetics of the Naxi people and their interest in life. And the Dangba Culture, Naxi Ancient Music and Baisha Frescos are the testimonies of the long and rich traditional culture of the town. It was inscribed on the List of World Heritage by the UNESCO in 1997
Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas.
Consisting of eight geographical clusters of protected areas within the boundaries of the Three Parallel Rivers National Park, in the mountains northwest of Yunnan province, the 40000-square-kilomtere region features sections of the upper reaches of three great rivers of Asia: the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween—namely, the Jinsha, Lancang an Nu rivers—run roughly parallel about 400 kilometers, north to south, through steep gorges of the Hengduan Mountains. The site is an epicenter of Chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest temperate regions of the world, in term of biodiversity. In 2330, UNESCO inscribed the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas on the World Heritage List.
Yulong Snow Mountain
Yulong (Jade-Dragon) Snow Mountain, located 15 kilometers north of Lijiang, is the highest mountain on the southern bank of the Yangtze River. It has a total of 13 peaks extending 35 kilometers from south to north, like a huge flying jade dragon, hence the name. The main peak with an altitude of 5596 meters above sea level, is snow-capped nearly 365 days per year.
Stone Forest in Kunming
Covering a total area of 350 square kilometers, the Stone Forest, a topographical turmoil wrought by a jungle a 100 or so groups of monoliths in shapes ranging from overhanging cliffs to grotesque boulders, is situated in Shilin Autonomous County of the Yi Nationality. It consists of seven scenic areas—the Big and Small Stone Forests, Naigu Stone Forest, Dadieshui Waterfall, Moon Lake, Subterranean Stone Forest in Zhiyun Cave, and Cave of Magical Wind. Thousands of stone peaks and stone pillars, taking in various shapes such as pagoda, spears, animals of human being figures, are scattered here and there. It is reputed as "the most fantastic scenery under heaven". The natural spectacle is made all the more alluring by its inhabits and customs never fail to keep the visitors mesmerized. Grand celebrations are held during the Torch Festival, which falls on the 24th day of the 6th lunar month.
Three Pagodas in Dali
The three Pagodas arise on the Mt. Cangshan slopes overlooking the Erlai Lake. They are also called the Three Pagodas of Saintly Worship for their location in front of the former monastery with the same name. Qianxun Pagoda, the tallest of the three, has 16 tiers and reaches a height of 69.13 meters. It is a close-evade square brick pagoda built in an architectural typical style of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The two smaller octagonal pagodas, each 42 meters high with 10 tiers, have a luxurious appearance with their exquisite carving. They were built in the Five Dynasties (907-960). Many precious relics of the Tang and Song dynasties were discovered in the Three Pagodas during the 1978 reconstruction, which make them even more famous.
Just as its name implies, the Erahi (Ear Lake, literally), a fresh-water lake two kilometers northwest of Dali, is similar in form of that of an ear. Covering 250 square kilometers, the blue, rippling lake and the snow-covered Mt. Cangshan, located on the western shore, add radiance and beauty to each other. The scene is, therefore, described as "Silver Mt. Cangshan and Jade Erlai".
The Lugu Lake is located on the border of Ninglang Autonomous County of the Yi Nationality, Yunnan Province and Yanyuan County, Sichuan Province. The lake occupies an area of almost 50 square kilometers, with an altitude of 2685 meters. The water is green and clear, and the surrounding environment is well preserved. The lake shore is inhabited by Mosuo People, a branch of Naxi group, who lives in log cabins and retains the vestiges of a matriarchal society.
Also called the Bamboo Shoot Pagoda for its shape, the Manfeilong Pagoda lies in Damenglong Village in Jinghong City. It was built in 1204. The pagoda building on an octagonal basement actually consists of nine stupas, with the primary stupa in the center while the eight small stupas clustering to its base. The primary stupa rises 16.29 meters, and each small stupa has a height of about 9 meters. Niches are carved in the body of stupas. The Manfeilong Pagoda has a typical Dai style of architecture.