Archive for the ‘Yinchuan Travel’ Category

How to Visit Western Xia Imperial Tombs

Friday, July 10th, 2015
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If you are going to visit Yinchuan on your Ningxia Tour, you are highly recommended to visit the original site of the Western Xia Imperial Tombs, the most important sight in Ningxia. The complex of imperial tombs is located 35 km west of the city of Yinchuan, the capital city of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and on the eastern slopes in the middle section of Helan Mountains.

The Western Xia Imperial Tombs are the burial site of the 9 emperor mausoleums, 254 subordinate tombs in Western Xia Dynasty. Western Xia Dynasty was founded by Tangut ethnic group in 1038 and destroyed in 1227 by the Mongols which later established Yuan Dynasty ( 1279 – 1368 ).

The imperial tombs are now on the tentative lists of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The Tombs are the best-preserved historic cultural heritage representing the Tangut civilization at the largest scale and in the highest rank.

How to get to Western Xia Imperial Tombs from Yinchuan?

1) Take a bus from Beimen Tourist Bus Station: Leaving from Yinchuan at 8:30 and 9:30; back from 13:30 and 15:30
2) During tourist peak season ( late April – late October ), a special tour bus is operated at Crescent Square ( Xinyue Guangchang ) to the tombs at 09:00 every day.
3) Share a taxi from Yinchuan
4) Using a local travel agency
People often combine the three sites on a day trip outside Yinchuang including Western Xia Imperial Tombs, Western China Film Studio and Rock Art at Helanshan Mountain.

Entrance Fee: RMB 60 including the fee for electric car
Opening Hours: 8:00 – 18:00

Now follow me to have a glimpse of the Western Xia Imperial Tombs.

The South Entrance to the tombs

The South Entrance to the tombs

The South Entrance to the tombs

First take an electric car from the gate to the museum in the compound.

First take an electric car from the gate to the museum in the compound.

First take an electric car from the gate to the museum in the compound.

Visitors are arranged to visit Western Xia Museum. The museum displays the impressive artifacts related to Western Xia culture.

Western Xia Museum

Western Xia Museum

Visitors are briefed on the layout model of the Western Xia Dynasty and the location of the tombs and Helan Mountain.  Of the 9 imperial tombs, the Tomb No.03 is the largest one , which was attributed to the founder of Western Xia Dynasty – Mr.Li Yuanhao.

The tomb was originally constructed in an octagonal pagoda style with outer wooden structure and rammed earth inside. The tomb was built within an inner city. Now you have a brief introduction to the tomb construction.

The tomb was originally constructed in an Octagonal pavilion style

The tomb was originally constructed in an Octagonal pavilion style

The layout model of the Western Xia Dynasty

the layout model of the Western Xia Dynasty

the layout model of the Western Xia Dynasty

The stone pedestal of a figure excavated from the No.08′ emperor’s tomb 1972.

The stone pedestal of a figure

The stone pedestal of a figure

Move from Western Xia Dynasty Museum, and walk on the path leading to the Tomb No.03.

Enter the complex of the Western Xia Tombs

Enter the complex of the Western Xia Tombs

The Tomb no.03’s imperial burial site was composed of the tomb itself, the inner city and the moon city. Below is the ruins of the rammed walls of the former moon city in front of the inner city.

Walking toward the Tomb No.03.

Walking toward the Tomb No.03.

Walking toward the Tomb No.03.

The former moon city in front of the inner city.

The former moon city in front of the inner city

The former moon city in front of the inner city

The inner city in a rectangle layout is the symbol of the imperial palace in the real world. Four gates were built as well as four towers on the four corners. The walls were rammed with plank, which is 3.5 meters wide and painted in red. The wall was decorated with projecting eaves covered with tiles.

The ruins of the rammed wall of the inneer city

The ruins of the rammed wall of the inneer city

The ruins of the rammed wall of the inneer city

North of the Tomb No.03 is the imperial sacred way. North of the imperial sacred way is the Sacrifice Temple. Today the temple has disappeared and only the foundation is still discernable.

the ruined Sacrifice Temple.

the ruined Sacrifice Temple.

After the ruined Sacrifice Temple is the imperial path or the Tomb Gallery. The gallery is 46 meters long and 24 degree of inclination.

the Tomb Gallery

the Tomb Gallery

The Tomb Tower (Tomb No.03) is the main structure in the imperial tomb complex. The main body of the tower or pagoda was constructed with earth and covered with wooden structure of seven storeys. The current base of the tomb is 36 meters in diameters and 24 meters in height.

he Tomb Tower (Tomb No.03)

The Tomb Tower (Tomb No.03)

Tip:  Hassle-free Yinchuan Guided Tours
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If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Yinchuan Guided Tours:

Yinchuan One Day Excursion Tour  from US$ 95 p/p
Yinchuan 3 Day Tour   from US$ 235 p/p
Yinchuan Car Rental with Driver

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Yinchuan
How to Visit Yinchuan in 2 Days
Western Xia Imperial Tombs
Helan Mountain Rock Art
Great Wall at Shuidonggou
West Film Studio
Yinchuan Taxi

Any questions, just drop a line.

 

How to Visit Helan Mountain Rock Art

Friday, July 10th, 2015
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Helan Mountain, or Helan Shan is an natural barrier extending for 250km from north to south, which divides Inner Mongolia and Ningxia. The west slopes of Helan Shan are gentle and smooth, connecting Alashan Plateau while the east slopes are rugged and steep, overlooking at Yinchuan Plain.

On the over-30 passes in the east slopes of Helan Shan and the wild grasslands on the alluvial fan, exist some 6,000 images and graphs, pictographs of rock carvings. The rock engravings at Helan Shan mainly depict animals, plants, hunting scenes, faces and figures. They are the last remnants of the nomadic tribes living on the steppes.

The rock carvings at Helan Mountain date back to some 10,000 years, predating any dynasties that once appeared in the area. The Helan Shan rock art belongs to China north rock art system with various animal images – domestic animals: cattle, horse, donkey, camel and wild animals: tiger, wolf, leopard. Sheep is widely used in the Helan Shan including bharal, antelopes and sheep.

The rock carvings in one pass or valley in the east slope of Helan Mountain is selected and built into a rock art park known as “Rock Art of Helan Mountain “贺兰山岩画” open to the public, one of the most magnificent sights in Ningxia. The Rock Art Park is located about 56 km to the northwest of Yinchun city proper.

There is no direct bus service between the rock art park and the city of Yinchuan. You may take the public bus No.17 from Yinchuan Railway Station to China West Film Studio (RMB 5) where you hire a taxi to the rock art park (RMB 100); or you may hire a taxi to visit both China West Film Studio and Helan Shan Rock Art Park (RMB 200-300); or you may hire a taxi to visit the three sites – West Xia Imperial Tombs, China West Film Studio and Helan Shan Rock Art Park (300-400RMB).

Entrance fee: RMB 70 ( including the entry to World Rock Art Museum and a gold-car to the valley holding the rock carvings.
Enquiry: 0951 – 6010049

Now follow me to have a glimpse of the impressive rock art of Helan Shan on your Ningxia tour.

The rock park is located on the east foot of Helan Shan. The wide entrance leads first to Yinchuan World Rock Art Museum

The rock park is located on the east foot of Helan Shan

The rock park is located on the east foot of Helan Shan

Yinchuan World Rock Art Museum displays the exhibits and pictures of the rock carvings from all over the world. Rock art are images or graphs carved or painted on rocks left by our primitive people. It is a world cultural phenomenon.

Yinchuan World Rock Art Museum

Yinchuan World Rock Art Museum

You need to take an electric car going from the rock art museum to the site of the valley holding the rock carvings. The ticket for the electric car service is included in your entrance fee for the rock art mseum.

The rock art museum is the only rock art themed museum in the world. Various kinds of rock art forms are distributed in 70 countries and 150 regions.

the only rock art themed museum in the world.

the only rock art themed museum in the world.

the only rock art themed museum in the world.

You need to take an electric car going from the rock art museum to the site of the valley.

 take an electric car going from the rock art museum to the site

take an electric car going from the rock art museum to the site

Along the foot of the valley is carved with numerous images and graphs carved by the nomadic tribes 6,000 years back.  A wooden path winds along the edge of the valley.

A wooden path winds along the edge of the valley

A wooden path winds along the edge of the valley

Viewing the rock art at the valley.

More rock engravings at the valley.

More rock engravings at the valley.

 

More rock engravings at the valley.

Stroll along the boardwalks around the edges of the valley for more rock carvings. Basically it takes 2-3 hours to cover the major sites of rock carvings.

Basically it takes 2-3 hours

Basically it takes 2-3 hours

 

Tip:  Hassle-free Yinchuan Guided Tours
06611
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Yinchuan Guided Tours:

Yinchuan One Day Excursion Tour  from US$ 95 p/p
Yinchuan 3 Day Tour   from US$ 235 p/p
Yinchuan Car Rental with Driver

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Yinchuan
How to Visit Yinchuan in 2 Days
Western Xia Imperial Tombs
Helan Mountain Rock Art
Great Wall at Shuidonggou
West Film Studio
Yinchuan Taxi

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Yinchuan in 2 Days

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
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Yinchuan (银川)  is the capital city of Ningxia ( Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region ) in the northwest of China.  If you are planning Yinchuan tour Yichuan is your jumping-off point to other places in Ningxia and Alxa (Alashan) League in Inner Monglia as well with its plentiful flights and trains connecting the major cities in China.

Yichuan itself is worth your exploration for 1-2 days with its unique landscape and historical sites. Sandwiched by Helan Mountains on the west and Yellow River on the east, Yichuan basin is a livable and beautiful place. It has survived the barren plains and stark mountains that characterize most of the areas in Ningxia.

Yinchuan is the ancient capital of Western Xia Dynasty (1038 – 1227 ), a state established by Tanguts.  Yinchuan was also the frontier of Chinese empires in the past 2000 years. Yinchuan boasts quite a few historical sites that bring you back in time and place to its splendid past.

How to plan your 2-day Yinchuan tour?  We’ve listed some essential places to visit for a 2-day travel plan that may help plan your own Yinchuan 2-day trip.

First Day
Yichuan is divided into three districts – Xingqing District (兴庆区), Jinfeng District (金凤区) and Xixia District (西夏区). Xingqing District is the former old city with some remaining historical sites,  the most commercial area in Yinchuan; Jinfeng District is a new zone designed for the government offices, a political center in Yinchuan; Xixia District is an education and economic center in Yichuan with many colleges and universities  and economic  development zones.

It is preferable to book your hotel in Xingqing District to have a better feel of the authentic Yinchuan’s local common life. Jiefang Road (解放路) and Minzu Road (民族路) are the main East-West and North-South axis streets in Yinchuan.

Now walk from East Jiefang Road to the west direction and start your morning stroll of the city highlights in Yinchuan.

Soon you will see a massive traditional building at the crossroad of East Jiefeng Road (解放东路) and Yuhuangge Road (玉皇阁路)  which is known as “Jade Emperor Pavilion Tower”,  the only ancient high wooden structure built in Qing Dynasty with a height of 22 meters.

Jade Emperor Pavilion

Jade Emperor Pavilio

Continue to stroll along East Jiefang Road, you soon come across another huge traditional building known as “Drum Tower”  standing on the crossroad of West Jiefang Road (解放西路) and Gulou Nanbei Street 鼓楼南北街(Drum Tower South North Road ). It was originally built in 1821 in Qing Dynasty, a square structure with a  height of 36 meters

Yinchuan Drum Tower

Yinchuan Drum Tower

Turn left and follow Gulou Nanjie also known as Gulou Pedestrian Street (鼓楼步行街), a vehicle-free shopping street south of the Drum Tower. The over 200 meters walking street is packed with department stores  and even vendors, a good place to see the commercial aspect of Yinchuan.

Gulou Pedestrian Street

Gulou Pedestrian Street

At the south end of the Walking Street is the east-west Xinhua Street(新华东街). You turn right on East Xinhua Street and soon you come across the north-south Minzu South Street (民族南街). Minzu Street is the north-south axis of the old city of Yinchuan ( Xingqing District).

At the crossroad of Minzu South Street and East Xinhua Street

At the crossroad of Minzu South Street and Xinhua Street

Continue to move on along West Xinhua Street (新华西街), you soon will come to a crossroad intersected by West Xinhua Street and South Jinning Street(进宁南街). A high pagoda surrounded by a red wall on the southwest corner of the crossroad. The red wall surrounded pagoda is Chengtian Temple (承天寺).

Chengtian Temple Pagoda was originally built in 1050 AD in Xixia Dynasty (1038 – 1227 ). It was later reconstructed for several times due to the earthquakes, fires and wars. The pagoda is 63.5 meters high,  an 11-storey pavilion-style octagonal  brick pagoda.

Chengtian Temple Pagoda

Chengtian Temple Pagoda

After visiting Chengtian Temple, you may continue to walk or take a taxi to Nanguan Mosque (南关清真寺). Nanguan Mosque is located at the crossroad by Changcheng Road (长城路)  and South Yuhuangge Street (城隍阁南街). Nanguan Mosque was first built in late Ming Dynasty. The present Nanguan Mosque was rebuilt in 1980 with an area of 2074 square meters.

Nanguan Mosque

Nanguan Mosque

Your afternoon trip will be focused on Shuidongguo Site, about 25 km east of Yinchuan City, adjacent to the border of Inner Mongolia. Shuidonggou is the site of he Paleolithic  Age with a history of over  30,000 year. In Shuidonggou, you can see  the remnants of the rammed earth Great Wall  in Ming Dynasty. Shuidonggou’s developer has built the site into a huge leisure park infused with recreational elements such as boating, camel riding, horse cart riding and so on. A through ticket costs RMB 140.

Shuidonggou literally means “Water Valley Caves”. The zigzag valleys were formed by the digging for the earth needed to build the rammed earth Great Wall in Ming Dynasty. In some of the valleys, caves or tunnels were dug to for soldiers to hide defending the Great Wall in Ming Dynasty. Some valleys are now dammed to contain water, becoming a limpid lake for leisure boating, hence the name of Shuidonggou.

Your visit begins with a special museum introducing the history of Shuidonggou in the Paleolithic period.

Shuidonggou Prehistory Museum

Shuidonggou Prehistory Museum

Next walk past the ancient Shuidonggou Village giving you an impression of the village and people living 30,000 years ago. Shuidonggou Site was first discovered and researched by French Paleontologists Emile Licent and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in 1923 (Licent& Teilhard de Chardin 1925). There are several excavation sites in Shuidonggou.

The replica of the  Shuidonggou Village

The replica of the Shuidonggou Village

The replica of the Shuidonggou Village

The wild and unrestored rammed earth Great Wall in Ming Dynasty is one of your highlights in Shuidonggou.

 Unrestored rammed earth Great Wall in Ming Dynasty

Unrestored rammed earth Great Wall in Ming Dynasty

Reed Valley is a beautiful place with a wooden path allowing you walking in the valley lined with reeds waving in the wind.

Reed Valley

Reed Valley

East of the Reed Valley is Hongshan Lake ( Red Earth Hill Lake ), one of the valleys formed by the earth digging for the construction of the rammed earth Great Wall in Ming Dynasty. The 5-minute boating offers a chance to see the gorgeous valleys and the wild Great Wall snaking beyond the northern side valley.

 Hongshan Lake

Hongshan Lake

Visiting the valleys in Shuidonggou is just like running relay races . After cruising along the valley, you will be arranged to get on a horse cart for a romantic tour of the red-willow valley.

horse cart for a romantic tour of the red-willow valley.

horse cart for a romantic tour of the red-willow valley.

After the horse cart, you will jump on a camel cart for an intrigue tour of the valley.

Camel carts

Camel carts

At the end of the camel cart ride, you start to explore the caves in the valleys which were onced used as sodiers’s hiding caves, as a kind of dimentional millittary denfense system  including the Great Wall

sodiers's hiding caves

sodiers’s hiding caves (Tunnels)

After finishing the exploration of the caves (Tunnels), you will get on a truck for your final transfer back to the main entrance and end your trip to Shuidonggou.

Second Day
A full day excursion to the two most important attractions in Yinchuan – West Xia Imperial Tombs  and Rock Art at Helan Mountains plus the site of West China Film Studio. The travel route of the three sites combined is a classical itinerary, a must see for first time visitors coming to Yinchuan.

There are no public buses linking the three sites on a day trip. Basically you have to use a local travel agency for an organized day trip including the three sites.  It costs about RMB 320 per person for a shared group tour including the entrance fees.

West Xia Dynasty was founded in 1038 and destroyed in 1227 by the Mongols which later established Yuan Dynasty ( 1279 – 1368 ). West Xia is a powerful state in the northwest of China and  rivaled Song Dynasty and Liao Dynasty.  The West Xia Mausoleum was the burial site of the 9 emperors and over 253 accompanying tombs  in Western Xia’s history.

The site of  the West Xia Imperial Tombs is located 35 km west of Yinchuan and on the eastern slopes in the middle section of  Helan Mountains. The largest tomb ( Tomb No.03 )  houses Li Yuanhao, the  founder of Western Xia Dynasty. The tomb used to an earth core covered by a traditional wooden structure octagonal in shape. Now only the earth core is left, resembling a wheat stack,

Tomb No.03 of Western Xia Tombs

Tomb No.03 of Western Xia Tombs

After visiting Western Xia Tombs, continue to drive northwards about 40 km along National Highway No.G110, passing by Western China Studio and Suyukou National Forest Park , reaching the site where  a large  amount of rock art discovered at Helan Mountain.

Helan Mountain is a natural shield in the northwest of Yinchuan Plain. The rock engravings display abundant motif of  animals, plant, human face, life scene, symbols and patterns.

 rock art discovered at Helan Mountain.

rock art discovered at Helan Mountain.

Explore the rock art dotted on the slopes on the eastern side of Helan Mountain.

Explore the rock art dotted on the slopes on the eastern side of Helan Mountain.

Explore the rock art dotted on the slopes on the eastern side of Helan Mountain.

At the end of your exploration of the rock art, continue to drive back about 17 km, passing by Suyukou National Forest Park and reaching the Western China Studio.

The famous studio was originally built based on two ancient fortresses – Qing Dynasty Castle and Ming Dynasty Castle. It showcases the vivid  scenes of  Cultural Revolutions, People’s Commune, old Yinchuan city and more scenes for film making. Many films and TV have been produced using the scenes here.

The main entrance to the Western China Studio

The main entrance to the Western China Studio

The main entrance to the Western China Studio

Reproduction of the old Yinchuan streets

Reproduction of the old Yinchuan streets

Reproduction of the old Yinchuan streets

An Office of  Zhen  Nan Bao Production Brigade of People’s Commune

A brigade of People's Commune

A brigade of People’s Commune

The Ming Dynasty Castle

The Ming Dynasty Castle

The Ming Dynasty Castle

Qing Dynasty Castle

Qing Dynasty Castle

Qing Dynasty Castle

Tip:  Hassle-free Yinchuan Guided Tours
06611
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Yinchuan Guided Tours:

Yinchuan One Day Excursion Tour  from US$ 95 p/p
Yinchuan 3 Day Tour   from US$ 235 p/p
Yinchuan Car Rental with Driver

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Yinchuan
How to Visit Yinchuan in 2 Days
Western Xia Imperial Tombs
Helan Mountain Rock Art
Great Wall at Shuidonggou
West Film Studio
Yinchuan Taxi

Any questions, just drop a line.