What is Gansu?

In the impression of many people

Gansu is a remote western province

There is a large area of dry land, full of wind and sand

And the desolate and chilling frontier

From the administrative division map of China

It seems to be trying to extend to the west

Gradually away from the hinterland of the East

(Map from @State Forestry Administration)

Other than that

You must still have an impression

That is, all the travel guides about Gansu will be introduced in full color

How to eat a bowl of authentic Lanzhou beef noodles

Since 1915, the Hui people Ma Baozi made the first bowl of noodles

Lanzhou beef noodles are only a hundred years old

Articles recommending beef noodles have already been plentiful

In contrast

There are very few articles that can deeply and comprehensively interpret Gansu

Because it's very difficult to tease out the context and think deeply from the vast amount of information

But inertial thinking

And it's easy to make guides that list information without thinking

Gansu in the eyes of the public

A remote and desolate ramen province

That's how it was formed

(Mabaozi ramen scene reappears, photographer @Wangdu88/123RF)

Gansu is the most diverse and all-encompassing province in China

A variety of very different natural scenery

Animals and plants that do not melt together are gathered here

Various histories, cultures, nationalities, religions

It's also where they all meet, conflict, merge

And the more diverse the more beautiful

It all starts with the formation of Gansu

By geographic division

Gansu can be divided into four regions

The formation of each region

Both originate from epics woven together by geography and history

Around 1960 BC

The ancestors of the Zhou people did not (bu zhu) due to the chaos of the Xia Dynasty

"Losing his official and running between the army and the emperor"

He led the Zhou tribe to avoid the chaotic Central Plains

Came to Qingyang, Gansu Province, which was regarded as the land of military and di at that time, to cultivate and reproduce

1st Geographical Region of Gansu

Longdong, Longzhong Loess Plateau

Here we go

(Cartography @Wind Melancholy/Planet Research Institute, click to zoom in. The bottom picture comes from @Gansu Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information)

This Loess Plateau contains

Today's Lanzhou, Dingxi, Qingyang and many other places

The ravines are vertical and fragmented

(Lanzhou Gaolan County Aerial Photography, Photographer @Freezing Eye)

The road can only meander on the ridge

(Dingxi Lujiagou Landform and Highway, photographer @Wang Hongbin)

The Yellow River also passes through here

Wander east

(Please watch the mobile phone horizontally, Liu Jiaxia of the Yellow River, photographer @Qiu Menghan)

Although there are thousands of ravines on the surface

The top is a big or small flat

Plus easy-to-cultivate loess with an average thickness of 50-80 meters

This place has long been a fertile field for "Wo Ye Miwang"

View from the air

Winding and stacking

(Please view your mobile phone horizontally. Qinglan Township, Dingxi Anding District, photographer @Wang Hongbin)

Even an ordinary hill

Can also be well organized

(Xifeng, Qingyang, Gansu, photographer @Chen Ming)


Thousands of trees twisting branches, hundreds of flowers blooming

Red, yellow, green, white

It's so colorful

(Xiyang Township, Kongtong District, Pingliang City, photographer @Wang Yaqin)


Longshan Mountain with an altitude of more than 800 to 2,000 meters

Blocked the water vapor from the east

Let it get relatively more precipitation here

The Loess Plateau is actually without "loess"

Completely covered in thick greenery

(Counterfeit products township, Huating County, Pingliang City, photographer @Wang Yaqin)


Earth make-up, snow-capped

The loess terraces gather round and round to the top of the mountain

Like the fingerprints of the earth

(Gaolan County, Lanzhou, photographer @Freezing Eye)

The Zhou tribe who migrated here

Brought advanced agricultural production technology


The Zhou tribe also gradually developed and grew

The first is to expand from Qingyang to Qishan, Shaanxi

After that, the prelude to Wu Wang's logging of Zhou was opened from the Weihe River Basin

The final full-fledged Zhou tribe

Established China's last hereditary slavery dynasty

Zhou Dynasty

It has been staged many times in Chinese history

Dynasty change at the center of fringe conquest

However, Gansu has more than one opportunity

Around 890 BC

Yingfeizi, the leader of the Ying tribe

Outstanding ability to raise horses

Assigned to "Qin" by King Xiao of Zhou

Specialized in raising horses for the royal family in "Qin"

The "Qin" at that time was not Shaanxi

It is located in today's Qingshui County, Tianshui City, Gansu Province

So far

2nd Geographical Region of Gansu

Longnan Mountains

Here we go

(Cartography @Wind Melancholy/Planet Research Institute, click to zoom in. The bottom picture comes from @Gansu Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information)

It roughly includes the south of Weishui

Mountains east of Lintan and Diebu line

Covering parts of Longnan City, Tianshui City and Gannan City

Here the Qinling Mountains come from the east

The Minshan Mountains come from the south

The mountains meet, the mountains are stacked, the mountains are high and the valleys are deep

Today, in this small area, there are

3 national and 1 provincial nature reserves

3 National Forest Parks and 2 National Wetland Parks

(Guanyenggou Waterfall, photographer @He Yixuan)

For example, Guangogou Tianchi

A pool of clear waves is like a mirror, two mountains face each other into a painting

Like a wonderland on earth

(Reflection of Guangogou Tianchi, photographer @Hu Weidong)

Longnan mountainous area has abundant rainfall and rich vegetation

Many rivers developed

Beautiful Bailongjiang

Flowing 450 kilometers in Gansu

It is the mother river of Longnan

(Photographer @Chen Haitao)

Another important river

Western Han water

Once separated a Qin couple from the two sides

Acacia turned into a famous sentence through the ages

"Jianjia is pale, white dew is frost

The so-called Yiren, on the water side "

(Photographer @direction)

When the river rushes out of the mountains

On both sides of the valley and in the gentle places of the mountains

Nourish lush grass

Qin people can raise good horses here

A good horse can equip a strong army

In addition, the Qin people have been fighting against Xirong for a long time

Gradually form an armed force stronger than the Central Plains

On the other hand

Longnan mountains are also rich in salt

As the most important economic resource at the time

Salt can provide great wealth for Qin

It is relying on the nurturing of Longnan Mountains

The Qin people for more than 600 years

Gradually expand the territory

Until the Liuhe is wiped out

Established China's first centralized dynasty


(Expansion map of the Qin people, mapping @Fengyu/Institute of Planet Research, the bottom map comes from @State Forestry Administration)

Qin established the prototype of the Chinese Empire

And the Han who inherited the territory of the Qin Dynasty

But has been facing the harassment of the powerful neighbors in the northwest, the Huns

After generations of emperors keeping a low profile

The increasingly powerful Han Empire began to attack and destroy the Huns

At this time, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty learned from the captives

The Huns have a sworn enemy in the Western Regions

Otsuki (da zhī)

He decided to recruit warriors to the Western Regions to unite Dayueji

"Break the right arm of the Xiongnu"

(From the perspective of sitting north and facing south, the Western Regions are located to the right of the Huns)

139 BC

Zhang Qian was called to

Historically known as "Clearing the Western Regions"

So the third geographic area of Gansu

Hexi Corridor

Here we go

(Cartography @Wind Melancholy/Planet Research Institute, click to zoom in. The bottom picture comes from @Gansu Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information)

It is located west of the Yellow River

The two deserts of Badain Jaran and Tengger

Waiting for an opportunity to go south on its north side

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with thin air and the arid Qaidam Basin

Then don't give an inch on the south side

In addition, the Qilian Mountains, Heli Mountains, Longshou Mountains and other north-south confrontations

Form this narrow corridor with a width ranging from several kilometers to nearly 100 kilometers

From the Central Plains to the Western Regions in the Han Dynasty

Except for this narrow corridor

Almost no way

(3D topographic map around the Hexi Corridor, mapping @Anton Balazh/123RF, planetary institute added annotations)

The Hexi Corridor has little rainfall and is very dry

View from the air

The earth is thirsty and cracked like a flame

(Zhang Ye Danxia aerial photography, photographer @Jiao Xiaoxiang)


On the south side of the corridor is the tall Qilian Mountains

(Qilian Mountains, taken on the plane from Dunhuang to Lanzhou, photographer @Jiang Hong)

Snow-capped mountains floating in the clouds

In stark contrast to the arid corridor

(Jingtie Mountain in Qilian Mountains, photographer @Qiu Jianjun)

The Qilian Mountains are 800 kilometers long

The average altitude is over 4000 meters

(Please view your mobile phone horizontally, Sunan Section of Qilian Mountains, photographer @Li Chun)

Tall mountains intercept water vapor-rich clouds

Rainfall is abundant in the eastern part of the Qilian Mountains

Lush forests grow on the mountains

(Yangshugou, Sunan County, photographer @Li Chun)

The northern foothills of the Qilian Mountains

It also has a total area of up to 24,000 square kilometers

Qilian Mountain Grassland

(Roads and Grasslands in Sunan County, Zhangye, photographer @Li Chun)

The meadows are vast

(Kangle Grassland, photographer @Zeng Jianjun)

Wildflowers everywhere

(Kangle Grassland, photographer @Yuan Bo)

The world's largest military horse farm

Sandan Military Horse Farm

Right here

It has been a huge military base since the Western Han Dynasty

(Shandan Military Horse Farm, photographer @Liu Zhongwen)

For this treasure

There have been countless wars here in history







More than 3,000 glaciers have also developed

Water storage is about 132 billion cubic meters

Equivalent to 100 Miyun Reservoirs in Beijing

(Suzhulian Glacier in Nanshan Corridor, photographer @Li Chun)

The snow peak is majestic and dangerous

The snow accumulation area is wide and vast

(Crossing the Qilian Mountains from Zhangye Dadu Ma, pay attention to the person at the bottom left, photographer @Li Chun)

The snowfields are endless

All you can see is a pure and white world

(July 1st Glacier, photographer @Li Zhaoqing)

Glacier meltwater plus mountain rainfall

Converge into a river among the valleys

Formed multiple water systems that flow to the Hexi Corridor

(Lenglongling Xidahe, photographer @Liu Zhongwen)

Or a trickle

(Qilian Mountains, photographer @Lin Beian)

Or flood

(Please view Justice Canyon, a red river formed by floods and sunlight, photographer @Li Chun)

Among them, Heihe, the largest river in the Hexi Corridor

It is the second largest inland river in China after the Tarim River

It is exactly what the ancients called "three thousand weak waters".

It was born from the Qilian Mountains

All the way through oases, Gobi, salt marshes, deserts

Until the Juyanhai Sea in Ejina, Inner Mongolia

So it is also called the Ejina River

(Heihe Evening Photo, photographer @Li Chun)

The Dang River is the only river that irrigates the Dunhuang Plain

Without it, there would be no Dunhuang culture

(Danghe, Frozen Water in Winter, Photographer @Jiang Hong)

Wuwa Pond in Dunhuang

Just on the edge of the desert Gobi

Create a water town

(The mountain in the distance is Al Jinshan, photographer @Jianghong)

Wafangcheng Reservoir

Snow-capped mountains reflected in lake water

Change into a charming and beautiful scenery

(Zhangye Wafangcheng Reservoir, photographer @Li Chun)

West Dahe Reservoir

Even more extreme

It can overlook the northern foot of Lenglongling in the Qilian Mountains



These water systems flow to the Hexi Corridor

A series of oases nourish the arid land

As you can see from this Google satellite image below

Wuwei, Jinchang, Zhangye, Jiuquan at the northern foot of Qilian Mountains

It is built on an oasis

(Please view your phone horizontally, the map comes from @Google)

The existence of a series of oases

Let Zhang Qian and his followers enter the Western Regions along the oasis

Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was also in these oases

Four Hexi counties were set up

Jiuquan County, Wuwei County, Zhangye County, Dunhuang County

Oasis also provides the survival basis of farming civilization for these counties

Under the long-term attack of nomads on the north and south sides

The four counties in Hexi have long been firmly controlled by the Central Plains Dynasty

Very closely related to this

Opened up the Hexi Corridor

The Central Plains Dynasty no longer curls up in a corner

Begin to communicate closely with the wider outside world

This exchange reached its peak in the Tang Dynasty

It has also driven the economic development of the Hexi Corridor

Liangzhou (Wuwei) at that time became the largest city in Hexi

The grain reserves in the entire Hexi region even account for 1/3 of the country's

Fujia National

(The ancient city of Yongtai in the Hexi area is a relic of the Ming Dynasty, photographer @Dreamland)

An open country

Created a splendid civilization

The Hexi Corridor at this time

Not the border, but the road

Not the wasteland but the ambitions of the empire

Hundreds of years have passed

The time has come on the eve of the establishment of the Yuan Dynasty

Ogutai's second son, Kouduan, came to Tubo from three sides

1247 AD

Kouduan invites Tibetan living Buddha Sakya Pandita to come to Liangzhou

After the talks, the two sides agreed that Tubo would be annexed to Mongolia

In exchange

Kuoduan converts to Tibetan Buddhism

Since then, Tibetan Buddhism has been able to walk out of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Began to expand to the Mongolian plateau and even the whole country

This alliance is called

"Liangzhou Association"

At this time

The 4th Geographical Region of Gansu

Gannan Plateau

Here we go

(Cartography @Wind Melancholy/Planet Research Institute, click to zoom in. The bottom picture comes from @Gansu Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information)

The Gannan Plateau belongs to the edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

During the Han and Tang Dynasties, only part of the counties became the counties of the Central Plains Dynasty

It was not until the Yuan Dynasty that it was brought under the jurisdiction of the central government as a whole

(Yeliguan, Lintan County, Gannan, photographer @Qiu Menghan)

Minshan, Xiqing Mountain, Jishi Mountain

Three mountains run through the entire Gannan Plateau

Makes there are many mountains here, and the mountain shape is unique

Gannan's Zhouqu, Diebu

The mountains are high and the gorge is deep, the climate is warm and the forests are dense

(The mountain near Zagana, Diebu, photographer @Li Chun)

There are many little-known villages hidden under the mountain

Such as Zagana

(Photographer @Hu Weidong)

It's always cloudy

Like a paradise

(Photographer @Lu Wei)

Gannan's mediocrity, Ma qu

On the northeastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

The climate is alpine and the grasslands are vast

Ma Qu means "Yellow River"

River bend on the grassland

Twists and turns, lingering

(Awancang Township, Maqu County, photographer @Zuo Xuelan)


The Yuan Dynasty was established under the names of Ganzhou (Zhangye) and Suzhou (Jiuquan)

Gansu Province

Gannan was officially included in Gansu in the Qing Dynasty

So far

Loess Plateau, Longnan Mountains

Hexi Corridor, Gannan Plateau

The main body of Gansu composed of four major regions is basically formed

In addition

If we look at Gansu from a broader perspective

Then its uniqueness in China will be clear at a glance





It is a "heart of China" that is accessible to all directions.

For example

China's Three Natural Regions

Eastern monsoon region, northwest arid region, Qinghai-Tibet alpine region

All meet in Gansu

(Three major natural zoning maps of China, Cartography @Wind Melancholy/Institute of Planet Research, the bottom map comes from @National Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information)

Four temperature bands

Medium temperate zone, warm temperate zone, subtropical zone, vertical temperature zone of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Also meet in Gansu

Five major vegetation divisions

Still meet in Gansu

(China Vegetation Zoning, Cartography @Wind Melancholy/Institute of Planet Research, according to China Map Publishing House "China Atlas", the bottom map comes from @State Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information)

From the golden Populus euphratica

(Jinbo Lake, Kinta County, photographer @Jiang Hong)

To green fir spruce

(Coniferous Forest in Kangle Grassland, photographer @Qiu Menghan)

And the low Gobi grass

(Gobi Desert outside Yumenguan, photographer @Yuan Bo)

There are also four major animal divisions

Also meet in Gansu

(China's animal geographic division map, the division method is based on Zhang Rongzu's "China Animal Geography", cartography @Fengshengyu/Institute of Planet Research, the bottom map is from @National Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information)

Even the national treasure giant panda

I also found a paradise in the "arid and desolate" Gansu

They are distributed in 7 nature reserves in Gansu

Including Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve

Hejianshan Giant Panda Reserve, etc

(The picture comes from @Gansu Wildlife Protection Administration)

The intersection of various natural divisions

Let the extremely rich landforms coexist in Gansu

(Distribution map of major landforms in Gansu, mapping @Wind Melancholy/Planet Research Institute, click to zoom in, the bottom image comes from @Google)

From the monotonous Dunhuang Yadan

(Dunhuang Yadan, photographer @Allen in the distance)

To the gorgeous Zhangye Danxia

(Photographer @Qiu Menghan)

From the mountains

(Sunan Flood Dam, photographer @Li Chun)

To the canyon

(Maying River Grand Canyon, photographer @Zeng Jianjun)

From the grasslands

(Kangle Grassland, photographer @Li Chun)

To the desert

(Dunhuang Mingsha Mountains, photographer @Jiang Hong)

Rich geographical environment

The channel connecting the square

It also makes Gansu a national corridor

Different way of life

Multiple ethnic groups with different customs

All coexist on the land of Gansu

(Cartography @Wind Melancholy/Institute of Planet Research, the bottom picture comes from @Gansu Bureau of Surveying, Mapping and Geographic Information)

Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Islam, etc

Many religions shine

Because there is no dominant religion

It also allows all factions to obtain a relatively relaxed environment

There is the first holy place of Taoism here

Kongtong Mountain

(Please view your phone horizontally, photographer @Wang Yaqin)

There is also one of the six major monasteries of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism

Labrang Temple

(Photographer @Mr Shu)

There are also Buddhist grottoes all over Gansu

Such as Mogao Grottoes, Maijishan Grottoes

There are four major grottoes in China, and Gansu occupies only two of them.

A dense mountain actually gathered

221 caves, 10,632 clay statues and stone carvings, more than 1,300 square meters of murals

Maybe it is so many gods and humans together

Created a diverse Gansu

(Maijishan Grottoes, photographer @Mr. Shu)


Since the Song Dynasty

The Central Plains Dynasty lost control of the Hexi Corridor

Navigation technology is also advancing rapidly at this time

The Maritime Silk Road gradually replaced the status of the land Silk Road

(Map of Silk Road Sea and Land Routes, Cartography @Windy Melancholy/Planetary Institute, bottom image sourced from @Michael Schmeling)

In the Ming Dynasty

The imperial court was in the vast north including Gansu

Build a "deluxe version" of the Great Wall

Its human and financial consumption far exceeds that of the Han and Tang Dynasties

However, the stronger the Great Wall

The more you try to prove the weakness of the country

Gansu is no longer a thoroughfare

But the border of chilling

The Middle Kingdom has also declined

(Jiayuguan Guancheng, photographer @Qiu Jianjun)

Former Gansu

Trapped in backwardness and poverty

Until modern times

Europeans came from the sea

China's maritime civilization reopens

Gansu's per capita GDP has been at the bottom of the country for many consecutive years

Where is the future of Gansu?

In today's opportunity

Because history has proven

The farther west the more beautiful

The more open the more beautiful

The more diverse the more beautiful

Source: National Human History