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Guilin Introduction

Location: Guilin is located at latitude 24°15′N and longitude 109°36′E. It is located in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the south of China, and borders with Hunan Province to the north, Liuzhou city to the south and Wuzhou city to the east.

Area: Guilin Prefecture covers an area of 27.8 thousand square kilometers.

Climate: January, with an average temperature of 8.3℃, is the coldest month, and July, with an average temperature of 28.5℃, is the hottest month.

Name of the city: The name of “Guilin” is made up of two Chinese characters, the first word “gui” means “osmanthus” which is a kind of fragrant flower and blooming in mid autumn, the second word “lin” means “forest”, thus “Guilin” means the forest of osmanthus trees. Those evergreen osmanthus trees are standing on every corner of the city; hence the name of the city is “Guilin”.

City flower: Osmanthus

Population of prefecture: 4.94 million

Population of city proper: 720,000

Languages: Mandarin and the Guilin dialect

Guilin is one of the most popular and famous tourist destinations in the world. Situated in the northeast corner of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin is hailed by many as the most beautiful place in China and is one of the must-see destinations for most foreign tourists. According to a popular Chinese saying, “Guilin’s scenery bests all others in the world.” Its unique-shaped limestone hills and crystal-clear waters are often portrayed in Chinese artworks. The limestone karsts which jut from the lush green valley floor provide the perfect backdrop for the placid Li River which flows through the city and out into the countryside. Many fascinating caves can be easily found in this area. Guilin is always the best example of Karst formation.

The city of Guilin was founded in the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC as a small settlement on the Li River. In 214 BC, the Ling Canal was built here to connect two river systems( the Yangzi River system and the Pearl River system) by the order of Qin Shihuang (the first emperor of Qin Dynasty), the same emperor who created two miracles of the world – the Great Wall and the TerraCotta Warriors. Then Guilin became increasingly important after the construction of the Ling canal joining the Li River with another further north, providing a transport link with the Yangzi River. The imperial court could thus send food and provisions by water from the Yangzi plains to its armies in the far south. The town became the provincial capital of GuangXi province in the Ming Dynasty, and remained so until 1914, when the capital was moved to Nanning. 

Since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, Guilin has developed a fledging industry, producing a variety of products such as pharmaceutical goods, tires, machinery, fertilizers and silk. From its noted profusion of flowering cassia trees, which have a strong sweet scent, it produces a number of specialties including perfume, wine, tea, cinnamon, and herbal medicine. Tourism has been the most important industry since 1980’s.

The city of Guilin is very much like a basin surrounded by thousands of unique – shaped limestone hills. There are more than 30 noted scenic spots within the boundaries of Guilin. The peak standing in solitary loftiness in the center of the city is the Solitary Beauty Peak. The Elephant Trunk Hill which is the symbol of the city looks very much like a huge elephant sipping water from the Li River with its trunk. The Piled Festoon Hill that is broken here and there with its rock strata exposed on its sides like piles of fancy festoons; and the Crescent Hill is so named because of its moon-shaped cave opening. The city also boasts other beautiful hills, such as the Fubo Hill, which is supposed to restrain the waters of the Li River, and Nanxi Hill that stands magnificently like a huge screen. 

There are two fantastic caves in the area -- the Seven-Star-Cave, which derives its name from the arrangement of surrounding peaks resembling the pattern of the stars of the Great Bear constellation, and Reed-Flute Cave, named after the reeds growing around the cave entrance. They both contain spectacular stalactites and stalagmites inside. And both of them are good examples of the Karst formation.  

A boat trip from Guilin along the Li River presents one of the finest excursions on your tour of China. The journey downstream to Yangshuo offers 30 miles of breathtaking scenery.