Lanzhou is found in north west China and is the biggest city in Gansu province.
Although it is a little out of the way in comparison with some of China’s more accessible cities, its attractions are abundant and diverse. The Gansu Provincial Museum is a mere bus ride away from the centre so you could get off at Quilihe Qiao Station to visit one of Lanzhou’s most popular tourist spots. It contains troves of valuable ancient and cultural exhibits, from antique literature to the arcane bronze Galloping Horse model, uncovered in 1969.
Lanzhou sits on the banks of the Yellow River, and on the south side of this river one can view the 2.6 meter tall Yellow River Mother Sculpture. It depicts a mother and child and is one of Lanzhou’s greatest artistic gems. The Waterwheel Garden is another jewel in Lanzhou’s crown, a peaceful park to wander, displaying the lineage of the waterwheel.
The Five Springs Mountain Park should definitely be on the checklist; it contains many examples of antiquated architecture and is a local center for Buddhist enterprises. The interior of the Congquig Temple is home to giant bells weighing at 10 tons each, constructed more than 900 years prior. White Pagoda Park is named for the majestic octagonal White Pagoda at its heart, barring its accenting green pinnacle. It was built during the Ming Dynasty though the public have only been allowed to sojourn the site since 1958. At only two acres it is not a large site, though be sure to climb to the summit of the Pagoda; the vista is glorious to behold with White Pagoda Park’s stunning mountain backdrop.
The beautiful Bingling Temple Caves are a must, though located a short and scenic 35km trip away from Lanzhou by bus, to Liujiaxia Reservoir, then by river to the caves. Hollowed out into a cliff face are many antres, which hold residence to nearly 700 statues. The most magnificent of these is a 27m high Buddha (Maitreya) and the caves have been labored on for over a thousand years, starting in 420 AD. There has been much damage to the caves, both natural and human, though some 183 grottos still endure.
The Green Corridor, Blinhe Road, is the nucleus of Lanzhou. 20 km long, it is this stretch along the bank of Yellow River that one will find the River Mother statue, as well as others such as the Statue Bolang, the Waterwheel Garden and White Pagoda Hill. It also possesses artistically cultivated gardens and restaurants emanating mouth watering aromas amongst other quaint niches, so be sure to book a hotel adjacent to this pulchritudinous area.