As described in the main text, today's Jiayuguan, although developing, is still a remote and relatively small city which is mainly focused on mining and the regional Jiuquan Steel Works. Now that Jiayuguan has finally been connected to the central Chinese provinces by means of improved road, rail- and air-connections more and more tourist reach this far corner of Gansu Province. The majority of them however are Chinese tourists.
Economic development has increased the size of the City and recent Government investments in the western regions have transformed the old dusty and run down town of Jiayuguan into a more modern city of high rise apartments with ambitions as a center for leisure tourism. Unfortunately, increasing problems with falling ground-water levels and diminishing precipitation thoroughly contradict the towns ambitions.
In effect, Jiayuguan remains a dusty Town, which, although face-lifted into modernity with the latest Chinese architectural styles, is an industrial center with little to offer in terms of entertainment. Apart from what the higher end Hotels offer, the Town is quite dead. Tourists do not come to Jiayuguan for long stays but still mainly seek to experience some sort of remnant of its ancient silk road charms. Still apart from the Great Wall of China, the Jiayuguan Fortress and various smaller historic attractions there is a bit more to the Town of Jiayuguan.
New China SouthRoad- Main Street
Yingbin east road, although not yet as spectacular is a growingly succesful extension of Xiongguan Plaza, the showpiece public space of the City. With its wide-pedestrian walkways, bicyle path and stylish storesvand shops Yingbin East Road forms the second part of the Modern Ceremonial Gateway to the Steel City of Jiayuguan. Browse around this hottest piece of real estate in JiaYuGuan to entertain yourselves in between visits to various landmarks. DVDs, music , food and other useful items available to make a longer stay in Jiayuguan more attractive.
Wei- & Jin Dynasty Tombs
Modernity has nothing to do with the Tombs of Nobles from both the Wei Dynasty and the Jing Dynasty Era left in the vicinity of JiaYuGuan, or it would have to be that these Tombs have been turned into a commercial tourist site. Even during the Han Dynasty, the far Western Hexi Corridor was vital to prosperity and the Silk Road. Hence, through the Ages nobility Families of the Area left rich grave-sites and Tombs, of which East outside of JiaYuGuan between Farm & Desert Lie some beautiful and well preserved examples that are open to the public as a museum. No Photography allowed !
Shi Guan - Extended Arm Great Wall
Praised in poetry, the Extended Arm Great Wall of China - Shi Guan, is a small, short but nevertheless spectacular section located due North of JiaYuGuan and the Fortress of JiaYuGuan Pass in Gansu Province. Sealing off a small side-entrance to the central valley of the Hexi Corridor, the extended arm matches the badaling sections with drops of over 40% inclination. It is a steep hike at reasonably high altitude which awards an overview of the entire valley and industrial town of JiaYuGuan with the white snowcaps of Qilian Shan behind.
JiaYuGuan - No.1 Beacon Tower
The steep TaoLai River Gorge is fed by melting waters from the Qilian Shan and provides an impressive natural barrier that became part of the fortifications of the JiaYuGuan Pass Great Wall of China. Looking down into the Gorge, the Number 1 Beacon Tower of the Ming Dynasty Era guards the southernmost point of the defenses at JiaYuGuan. Together with the Fortress and the Suspended Arm Great Wall it is one of the major tourist attractions of the small and polluted industrial town in the Desert.
JiaYuGuan Ming Dynasty Fortress
The stop plug inside the Mouth of China and last bastion in protection of the Silk Road. First Constructed around the year 1372 AD, the large and complex Fortress of JiaYuGuan marks the Final End of the Great Wall of China defenses of the Ming Dynasty Era, a time during which the Mongols were a constant threat, reinvigorated already after having been driven out by the Brutal Ming. Constructed in the Middle of the narrowest point of the Hexi Corridor, the Fortress sits at the Center of a web of Defenses built across this vital Pass on the Route into Central China.
"Gansu - Grottoes o/t Ancient Silk Road"
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For a proper impression of the new Jiayuguan, a natural location to start is at the cities south-western entrance where the main railway station (of the Lanxin Railway) is situated. Traditionally the main station (Jiayuguan Zhan) is the most important facility travel to and from Town. This is by the way also the section of Town where the Christian Church of Jiayuguan is located.
Although the railway line between Lanzhou and Urumqi was upgraded to support faster and more modern trains, you will find the main station of Jiayuguan still a post-revolutionary construction which is mainly functional and nothing more.
There are no modern neon-radiating Hotels at this location and the modern sections of town lie at beyond at quite some distance. There is usually no other option than to take a Cab or opt for the cheap busride into Town.
From the Station follow the main boulevard into Town, which is Yingbin West Road, to find the cities wonderful
XiongGuan Plaza - Main Square
The Modern Main Square of JiaYuGuan is large and spacious, and an obvious showpiece of the City. Located between the Railway Station in the South and the less Glamorous Parts of JiaYuGuan, the Main Square is part of the Modern Ceremonial Gateway to the Steel City. Browse around this hottest piece of real estate in JiaYuGuan to marvel at the Blinking Steel Needle Modern Art Piece, see the Bronze Horse stepping on a Swallow or head to one of the Huge Hotels here. Nearby are the JiaYuGuan Steel and Concrete Modern Sports Stadium and the Main City Boulevard Yingbin East Road.
AttemptsatamoderncityofJiayuguan:modernartandarchitectureandat the futurustic showpiece Xiongguan Plaza.
Yingbinhu Lake and park. Although advertized as a green getaway from the usual sweltering desert heat, the park usually is brown and dusty, and the lake only reaches half its expected water-level. It is hardly the glory of Town.
After passing the Yingbinhu Lake Yingbin West road passes through a so far empty section and ends up at the giant roundabout known as Xiongguan Plaza, which clearly announces a completely new section of Jiayuguan. In the middle of the roundabout sits a giant metalic needle which points skyward in an obvious attempt to express the cities new-found pride and economic confidence. Several other slighty less obvious but equally modern creations were added for effect.
A choice of high end hotels attempt to out-class eachother in radiant neon decorations. Around the square are the usual banks and even several large department stores. Down the street beyond a huge fountain (which is usually dry) stand a variety of recently built resedential appartment buildings which are home to the cities new middle-class. On the South-eastern end the Plaza extends a large park with a unusual theme-park like gate beyond which is the Jiayuguan Sports Stadium. The Xiongguan Plaza is where things happen in Jiayuguan.
Beyond Xiongguan Plaza lies the second part of what is by now the new and emerging city center of Jiayuguan, its main commercial boulevard of New China South Road. New China South Road is where people go for their leisure time and so it seems their shopping. With its broad and smoothly paved surfaces pleasantly lit with large colored lamps, a variety of small stores offers a resemblance of life in a well-connected and modern city or rather town.
Although clearly emerging as the new way of life in town, it must be said that more traditional Jiayuguan is not that far away. In fact wherever one turns off the boulevard one finds that
immediatly behind the facade there are nothing but old brick hutong and concrete residential appartments, the majority of whom seem drab and paintless. This is the old Jiayuguan, much of which is still very much alive behind the facade. This is the domain of the ordinary citizens many of whom go without a higher education.
The best way to pass the Time in and around Jiayuguan therefor is still to visit one of the various historical relics and monuments within the City Prefecture.
Xuanbi (Lou) Great Wall of China
The Xuanbi or Xuanbi Lou Great Wall of China in Jiayuguan is an ill-defined line of mud built Great Wall of China ruins and remnants found due north of the city center of Jiayuguan itself. Running from the mountains in the west in the direction of the airport, there has been an official site designated by the local Government as Xuanbi Site (see Google Maps). This site (location) is however very difficult to find as it is part of an industrialized landscape. More on this section when available !