The ancient city of Lijiang is situated in the northwest of Young Province, south of the Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain, and at the upper reaches of the Jinsha River. This is also the first bend on the Changjiang River, better known as Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Here, at the very heart of the ancient Naxi Kingdom, "Dongba" culture still exists today. Lijiang is incredibly rich in cultural resources, home to the Baisha Frescoes (a national historical relic) and "Naxi Dongjing Music" being living examples of Tang and Song Dynasty art, and also Dongba hieroglyphs, the only existing pictographs in the world.
Dayan Town, the capital of Lijiang, was first built at the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty. This town is known as "Oriental Venice", or "Suzhou on the Plateau", with water flowing past almost every household, and every home surrounded by picturesque willow trees.
Lijiang abounds in water resources. The Jinsha River winds its way through this area for 447 km. Lijiang is also rich in flora and fauna with over 20 virgin forests, over 800 species of medical plant, almost 3000 species of seed plant, and over 20 species of animal.
The nicest aspect of life in Lijiang however, is the feeling that this was, and in many respects still is, a vitally important historical center. Although tourism has taken over the town, the effects of this have not really been too detrimental and the wealth of historical treasures here is incredibly rich. The locals are also very friendly, welcoming visitors to their city, allowing outsiders to get a unique glimpse of an intriguing and rich ancient culture.
There are direct flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Lijiang.
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