Known to possess some of the world's most
surreal natural beauty, Guilin is one of China's cherished
treasures. The city of Guilin lies mostly within the
confines of two serenely picturesque rivers surrounded
by a backdrop of forested mountain peaks in the south
of China. It's geographical location west of the Nan
Mountains makes Guilin's natural landscape unique from
that of central China. Some of Guilin's finest scenic
attributes include geological wonders like the Red Flute
Cave and Elephant Trunk Hill, as well as the tranquil
waters of the Li River. An equally fascinating element
of this region's Landscape are the Longji Terraces lining
the dramatic mountain range known as 'Dragon's Backbone'.
The region is also home to 12 different ethnic minority
groups, all possessing unique traditional customs and
dress, as well as intriguing architectural styles.
Under Emperor Qin Shihuang the Ling Canal
was constructed to connect the Li River to the Xiang
River, uniting the southern city of Guilin with the
Middle Kingdom. During the Ming Dynasty Guilin prospered
economically along the Ling Canal as trade routes and
farming practices powered the growth and development
of the region.
Prior to the start of World War II, Guilin's
population swelled to an impressive 2 million, but the
city was entirely decimated during the war. Post-war
reconstruction efforts included the establishment of
factories in order to increase the population and renew
Guilin's economy. Although these efforts were successful
in reviving the City, the current population lingers
somewhere close to 1.3 million residents. The fairly
recent growth of Guilin has in turn made it accessible
by multiple forms of transportation including air, rail,
and bus. Once in the city the easiest and cheapest way
to get around is by using the public busses.
In recent years the city's industrial efforts
have shifted towards a focus on tourism, capitalizing
on the natural splendor of the region in a gracious
gesture to share its fascinatingly unique beauty with
all who venture to this southern oasis.