Zhongwei has only a limited number of Town Monuments, all of which are found in the Chengguan District, i.e. the old town section. It should be possible to see all landmarks of this old town district, as well as the train station and even the airport in one day, although the latter does require some form of motorized transport. Some more time is advised for exploring the main landmarks found outside of town, which are the Great Wall of China and the Yellow River (Huang He).
DRUM TOWER (GULOU):
As in many Chinese villages of the feudal past, a Drum Tower stood at the center of the city, marking out the rhytms of the day and serving as the stage for important ceremonies. Although, the original Drum Tower of Zhongwei was burned to a crisp a long time ago, the tower was rebuilt in the 19th century in the
A Full Google Earth Supported Map of Zhongwei and Zhongwei Prefecture in Ningxia AR by AsiaReport.com.
official style, leaving Zhongwei with a historic landmark to fit a small city with quite some history.
In more modern times the Drum Tower of Zhongwei retained much of its function, as the main road connecting all towns on the north bank of the Yellow River (S201 Provincial Road, named Gulou East and West Street within the old town section) runs right up to and past it. Much as a result of urbanization and a steady increase of tourist visitors to even this remote outpost, the drum tower and all surrounding monuments of the city have seen a considerable make over returning some of the ancient splendor to the twon center. In addition, a large shopping mall has popped up due south of the Drum Tower roundabout as have a small collection of modern hotels with all due facilties.
Find the Peoples Market just north of Gulou. Gao Miao a bit further at walking distance and the Sunny Business and Trade Plaza shopping mall to the south.
Read More in: "Shopping and Leisure in Zhongwei".
The peoples market is the main traditional market of Zhongwei City. As such it always has been the most important spot in town. It still retains much of its importance
as well as rural charm today.
Find the Peoples Market on Drum Tower North street, with its main gate along the west (left) side of the road when coming from the Drum Tower. It is ny well impossible to miss it as it leads directly back to the park found south- and in front of the majestic Gao Miao Temple and Monastery.
For those in search of a snack, they can follow the same route but instead turn right and eastward in order to find some street stalls selling among things smelly Tofu, and a number of small restaurants including some genuine and rather tasty Hui Kebab.
Although the "traditional market" of Zhongwei is by far not as interesting as those found elsewhere across China, among things in Dunhuang far to the west and Yinchuan, the regional Capital situated some 180 kilometers to the north, Zhongwei does not have to disappoint. More traditional shopping can be done not too far off.
For more information on things to se & do in the vicinity of Zhongwei Town, please refer to:
Apart from the scenery of the Yellow River meeting the Tengger Desert, and the obvious historic attraction of the remnants of the Great Wall of China of the Ming Dynasty in the vicinity of town, the main historic monument of the city of Zhongwei itself is the local Temple or Monastery. Interestingly this Temple, known as the Gao Miao, is not dedicated to but a single faith, but instead has "always" hosted a union of Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist flock. As a result of its truly special nature within Chinese lands, the priest-monks found the Temple are especially friendly and welcoming to outsiders. Especially when they have shown their respect for the Buddha (it is actually mainly a Buddhist Monastery today) and when they have shown their appreciation for the spectacular arts and crafts found inside its grounds and levels.
The Gao Miao Bao'An Monastery, as it is officially called, has its deities and Temple ceremonies arranged accordingly to its special nature. The exact origins of this mix of practices is quite unclear but what is clear is that today Gao Miao Temple holds the middle between a tourist venue (which it is to many ignorant visitors today) and a fairly large and very active Buddhist Temple. Although the Monks do not dress in red and the Monastery is by no means an official representative of the Tibetan variant of Buddhism and the available monks wear their own local uniform, clearly it is a Buddhist Temple and nothing much else today.
In addition to its more traditional and spiritual uses, it is also the home of a peculiar special attraction. This special attraction serves as a whapping and spectacular bonus to what is already a wonderful place to visit.
Although the Temple was closed and under threat of utter destruction during the Cultural Revolution -which may in large part have contributed to the Monastery diverting to the practice of a mix of traditional Chinese faiths-, in this very same Era a bomb shelter was dug out underneath the Temple Buildings. This most unusual Temple (actually an active Monastery) and its underground lair have since been converted back to Temple use, and the underground shelter with walls decorated with renditions of the Buddhist hell is now a well visited tourist attraction. It definitely is the most thrilling adventure found in town.
Thus, when in need of a bit of change from all the wild scenery found in the regions, one can always try for adventure down in the dungeons underneath the Temple.
ZHONGWEI CHRISTIAN CHURCH:
The Christian Church is found in the eastern section of the what can be dubbed central Zhongwei on a road that lies due north of Drum Tower East Street (Gulou Dong Dajie) and lies parallel to it.
Small, built low and recently surrounded by modern high-rise apartments blocks its can not be seen from afar. Cruise about while comparing your location to our Google Map of Zhongwei and wider regions to find it.
No additional information available.
Although in essence, there is nothing very special about the Mao Zedong statue in central Zhongwei Town, it is a brilliant copy of a standard form of the statue which -even today- can be seen in just about any antiques and curiosa market within the Nation, it would be terrible to miss out on visit to it.
It is not only the legacy of Mao Zedong, a man who assured many changes were made to every aspect of life in the Ningxia Region during his period as unsurpassed Leader of the Chinese people, it is also simply the scenery and goings on abou the statue that should interest anyone lucky enough to be passing through and being allowed the time for a look-see.
Head to Peoples Square to face Mao Zedong in the early morning in order to find the early birds practicing their
Sunday singing and socialising at the Statue of Mao Zedong the former Great Helmsman at Peoples Square in central Zhongwei in December of 2013.
morning tai chi, or more frequently seen; a dancing routine. Later in the day, the crowd changes. During the weekends, the crowd swells as everyone enjoys a visit to the park. At such times, people loiter around Peoples Square and especially seem to enjoy sitting underneath the statue of their late Great Helmsman. Old people sing songs, the children play about - others just pass by and have a peek at what is happening today.
Tradition is where one finds it in Zhongwei. Although the town is officially recognised as the center of a city prefecture, so far the fast modernizing city is but the center of a collection of dusty rural farming villages and many of the scenes now disappearing from the coastal cities can be seen there today. (Photo: December 2013).
ZHONGWEI MARKET STREET:
The modern and main market street of Zhongwei today is found just one street west of the central Drum Tower and roundabout . This street lies one housing block west and parallel to Gulou South Street (Gulou Nan Dajie which is also the location of the "Sunshine Hotel" when of the better and most conveniently located hotels in the entire town. The north end of this Market Street faces the Peoples Square which is the location of the (in)famous Mao Zedong Statue which still stands in the center of Town, ironically overlooking the elderly who have suffered under his rule in one way or another yet are still singing praise, and their 1st and 2nd generation offspring.
Although the modern town or rising city of Zhongwei has a striking abundance of modern Malls most of which sits spaced around the Drum Tower monument, the most busy shopping street still is Zhongwei's lively market street. It caters to everyone for everything the common household as well as the visiting tourist needs. Lined with stores and stalls, as well as a few small restaurants the most frequently seen product on offer are clothing items. T-Shirts, sweaters, hoodies, shoes and hats, they are all there in abundance and at bottom rates compared to larger Chinese cities and yes, even the regional Capital Yinchuan.
In addition to the Bonanza for ardent shoppers -who need not be bored by any means- the popular market street offers what might be expected, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. The much appreciated Uighur or Hui Kebabs, locally made traditional candies and any other food stuffs one might suddenly crave for. Along the south end of the market one may find a bookstore, which offers local maps, and a small supermarket which can supply such things as drinks, instant coffee of a terrible taste, western style cookies, a bit of chocolate and other articles for self soothing.
MAO ZEDONG STATUE:
The popular Mao Zedong statue of Zhongwei, by now one of the few such remaining in the Nation can be found almost in the center of Town. Situated at Peoples Square, it stands just south of the Gao Miao Monastery and temple complex. Given the fact, that Mao statues have become a scarcity in modern times (they were not in the past) the statue has become a must see landmark of town.
Conveniently, all distances within the center of Zhongwei are relatively small especially as compared to the large Chinese metropolises tourists generally visit. Thus, the statue can be included in any walk about the center of town.