Jiuzhaigou in brief
Jiuzhaigou, also known as the Jiuzhai Valley or the Nine Village Valley, is a natural reserve located in the North of the Sichuan Province. Ranked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, Jiuzhaigou is a high tourist area extremely famous for its mirror lake of an extreme blue color and its crystal clear waterfalls. This dreamlike place lies at about 330 kilometers (205 mi) from the provincial capital of Chengdu, in the southern end of the Minshan Mountains range. Besides, Jiuzhaigou natural reserve is also part of the Jiuzhaigou County situated in the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of the Sichuan Province. This fairyland picture possible thanks to the unique ecosystem of the place is also the location where lies a temperate climate making every tour really sweet! In depth, Jiuzhaigou is composed of three different valleys: the Rize Valley, the Zechawa Valley flowing into the third Shuzheng Valley as in a Y shape. Any traveler coming to this part of Sichuan is just filled with wonder by the grandiose scene of this natural reserve. A worth-visiting place in your China tour!
Jiuzhaigou features – A precious and unique ecosystem
Jiuzhaigou is a worldly known place especially for its unique geological and hydrological features praised by scientists. Located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plate and the Yangtze Plate with glacial and hydrological activities, this natural reserve extending over 50 kilometers is subject to many earthquakes like the 2008 Sichuan earthquake making dramatic loss in the local population. It is dotted with more than a hundred gorgeous lakes, which differ from others by having a high concentration of calcium carbonate, so that the lakebeds and embankments are all covered with crystals. The water is so clear that the bottom can be seen at depths of over several dozen meters. These specificities make of Jiuzhaigou a unique sight in the world! Indeed, anywhere in the world, the place is renowned for its turquoise, blue and green-colored lakes of crystal clear appearance each one depending on the depths, residues and surroundings. Called "haizi" in Chinese, the lakes are the pride of the native people living here and this also concerns the waterfalls bursting in many places in the area. While looking at them, you can totally see the water oozing through the tree trunks down into the falls. The primitive forest's trees are thick but full of leaves that block the sunlight. The height and temperature vary according to the surrounding features and variety of plants, broadleaf and coniferous forests reaching the top of the mountains. Another amazing period to enjoy the Jiuzhai Valley at its best point is autumn, when the mountains' tops are covered with white snow while the hill slopes and the valley are of a blaze color.
History of Jiuzhaigou – A legendary UNESCO ranked site
The Chinese government officially recognized Jiuzhaigou in 1972, but some ancient Chinese stories and legends assure that the place was already inhabited by Tibetan and Qiang ethnic minority people for many centuries, explaining the present amount of this joyful and friendly population in the area. According to a legend, a goddess called Semo is said to have accidentally smashed her mirror into pieces that finally felt down the mountains forming lakes, streams and waterfalls. Back to reality, the government understood the importance and uniqueness of the valley in 1982 by classifying it as a national park, and opened it to tourists two years later. All these efforts were not vain because the area had the extreme pleasure to enter in the worldly famous UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992. All the more preserved by the organism, Jiuzhaigou is also listed today as a World Biosphere Reserve, a TEMS (Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Site) and a WCMC (World Conservation Monitoring Centre). Four ranks which vouch for the marveling uniqueness of this Chinese natural reserve.
Jiuzhaigou nowadays – Ethnic minority people and lush sceneries
Located in northern Sichuan, Jiuzhaigou is inhabited by a great amount of Tibetan and Qiang ethnic minority people still living in a very traditional way far from our modern life. This beautiful valley also enjoys many other wildlife and historical places where travelers will be filled with emotions. Panda, monkey, bison, birds, fish and rich plantation and trees are everywhere, nestling amongst the pretty bamboo forest... a postcard-like scenery that will not let visitors untouched! Moreover, in comparison to other scenic spots, this highly tourist zone is not that easily served by land, as long hours of bus ride from Chengdu are required to every traveler. Nevertheless, this is now possible to take the highway or even to fly to Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport still followed by a bus ride, but the journey is worth a visit as everyone is rewarded by the sight finally displaying. Jiuzhaigou remains a surprisingly peaceful and traditional place where yaks, shrines and prayer wheels are all of common sights for the pleasure of travelers' sight!