However, that there are relatively many members of ethnic minority groups in JiaYuGuan City does not mean that one will necessarily run into them on a walk through the City and a Tour of the Monuments. An easy way to encounter the Ethnic Minorities is to join one of the evening shows at one of the Main Hotels. Here one can enjoy an idealised version of the Culture, Costumes, Music and Dance of the local groups. Another option is to head to the Village of Local Customs that is part of the Larger UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site of The JiaYuGuan Fortress. It is a bit of a disappointment, but this Cultural Village and Venue is the main place for Ethnic Minorities to communicate their special Culture to Tourists and Travelers.
To Find the Ethnic Community Members elsewhere, best head on out of your Hotel onto the streets and side-streets of the City. Although JiaYuGuan is an industrial city with spacious avenues and seemingly empty streets, there are plenty of lively spots to be found off the main roads. Especially side-streets are the locations of daytime and evening markets abundant of fruit and other wares. Other than that there are many small restaurants in town, serving ethnic speciality dishes.
Beware of the Hygiene ! Although, it is probably pointless. Those who eat at small back-street restaurants and stalls in JiaYuGuan do so at their own risk. There are a multitude of dish varieties to chose from, and they often lead to surprising taste experiences. The facilities where they are served however, often look dusty, rusted and
One of the many neighborhood restaurants in JiaYuGuan's side-alleys. Its good food, but with some bad luck you might just get some kind of food poisening or infection ! In fact, this is fairly common for longer travels through the Chinese Provinces.
often plain greasy. But then, this is the true Silk Road experience, and West Gansu is among the poorest parts of the Nation. It is not unexpected.
Those especially visiting JiaYuGuan and the Silk Road for its ethnic minorities and rare cultures do best to come to town during the Melon Festival, a time when everyone from agricultural communities far around comes to Town to Celebrate, enjoy, and ofcourse compete for the pride of the Town. A browse through Town at this Time can lead to interesting encounters with colorful minority members from the surrounding countryside. Everyone dresses at their best and is in good spirits.
For an encounter with the Rare Yugur Ethnic Minority group travelers must arrange their own transport and head out into the Gobi Desert some distance North-East of JiaYuGuan. The easiest route is to travel East on the new Lanzhou-Xinjiang Highway to twin city JiuQuan, then turn up North towards JiuQuan Huangnibao Autonomous Township of the Yugur Nationality.
The Yugur Nationality originally derives from a Nomadic Tribe that was allied with the Chinese Han during the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD). When this Dynasty went into decline, the original Yugurs came under attack from Kirgiz Tribes and were forced to leave their homelands in Erhun River Valley of Central Asia, to retreat down the Silk Road path and end up in the vicinity of JiaYuGuan. After that the Yugurs split into three distinct groups living in various regions of Gansu Province which then developed various degrees of cultural adaptations. By the End of China's Long Revolutionary struggle, in the 1950's, the National Government held a National census among the Minorities, finding that the Yugur nearly perished. Due to wartime hardships, disease and impoverishment only some 3000 Yugurs remained in the Nation. A Government Policy to support the Minorities was immediately made operational.
Since 1954 AD, a group of Yugur known as the Hexi Yugurs has been recognized with their own autonomous township, officially known as the JiuQuan Huangnibao Yugur Autonomous Township of the Yugur Nationality. It is the second largest Yugur Nationality Township in the Nation, after Sunan Yugur Autonomous County (Banner) which is located further to the South-East on the Border of Qinghai Province and Gansu Province.
During the Ming Dynasty Era, the Yugurs were heavily influenced by Tibetan Culture and have adopted many of the Tibetan ways, such as the Buddhist-Lamaist Religion and a Tibetan-styled diet. Contrary to the Sunan Yugurs, the Huangnibao Area/ JiuGuan Yugurs have not retained their own language and all speak the Chinese Language.
Travel around the small village to enjoy whatever sights may be seen that day. Many Yugurs have adopted to modern day times but those who cling to authentic dress look flamboyant in their colorful ware. Enjoy the rough agricultural lifestyle of the Hexi Yugurs, visit the small village cultural museum and explore the community before heading back to Base.
More backgrounds on the Hexi Yugurs will have to follow after a thorough scouting of the JiuQuan Yugur Nationality Township by China Report Staff.
A Full and complete Map of China (PRC) identifying all Language Areas big and small in all Provinces and Autonomous Regions of China.
Map includes Turkic Languages (Uygur, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Salar & Uzbek), Mongolian Language and Sub-Divisions (Mongol, Tu, Daur and Dongxian), Tungusic Peoples (Oroqen, Evenki and Xibe) and Languages, Korean, Tajik (Tadzhik), Mon-Khmer (Kawa + Puman (or Pulang)), Hui, Uygur (Uighur), Tibeto-Bhurman Languages, Tai and Miao, Yao and She' Language Area's and Borders. Main Area's and sub-divisions of Han Languages (Northern Mandarin, Eastern Mandarin, South-Western Mandarin and Cantonese) further included. This color-coded ethno-linguistic Map (of 1967 AD) identifies at a glance most ethnic minority regions in China
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