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Home Travel in Gansu Pingliang--An Important Pass Linking the Inner Gansu
Pingliang--An Important Pass Linking the Inner Gansu
Travel in Gansu


Pingliang (píng liáng 平凉) is a prefecture-level city in eastern Gansu Province in China. It neighbors Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (níng xià huí zú zì zhì qū 宁夏回族自治区) in the north and Shaanxi Province (shǎn xī shěng 陕西省) in the south and east. Pingliang City, Located at the geometrical center of three capital cities of Xi'an (xī ān 西安), Lanzhou (lán zhōu 兰州) and Yinchuan (yín chuān 银川), is an important area at the eastern end of the northern branch of the ancient Silk Road and an important pass linking the inner Gansu with the east region of China.


PingliangPingliang has 1 district (Kongdong), 6 counties (Jingchuan, Lingtai, Chongxin, Huating, Zhuanglang, Jingning) with a total population of 2.3 million by the end of 2007. It covers an area of 11,325 square kilometers. Pingliang is famous for a local mountain range that includes Kongtong Mountain (kōng dòng shān 崆峒山), a site sacred to Taoism (dào jiā 道家) and mythical meeting place of the Yellow Emperor (huáng dì 皇帝) and Guangchengzi (guǎng chéng zǐ 广成子), Willow Lake Park (liǔ hú 柳湖), Queen Mother Palace Grottoes (wáng mǔ gōng shí kū 王母宫石窟) and Longquan Temple (lóng quán sì 龙泉寺).


PingliangPingliang is one of the important birthplaces of the Chinese nation and one of the cradles of Chinese civilization. Dating back 200,000 and even 300,000 years ago, Chinese ancestors lived and procreated there. More than 3,000 years ago, people prior to the Zhou Dynasty created advanced agro-farming culture in Jinghe River Valley, representing the beginning of agricultural civilization. In the year of 358, the name of Pingliang was first used for a shire.

Geographic Features and Climate

PingliangThe city is located in the hill and ravine region on Loess Plateau having rivers, valleys, mountains, plains and tablelands. Decumbence of the Liupan Mountain parts the city into the east dry and mountainous region and the east ravine area within the drainage area of the Jinghe River.

Pingliang enjoys temperate semi-dry continental monsoon climate. Average temperature of the city is between 8.5 Celsius. It is warmer and wetter in the eastern area of the city compared with the western. Average annual precipitation is 511 mm, while average annual evaporation amounts to 1430 mm. Monthly average temperatures range from −4.6°C (23.7°F) in January to 21.1°C (70.0°F) in July. Much of the annual rainfall occurs from June to September, and the annual mean temperature is 8.8°C (47.8°F).


Kongtong Mountain (kōng dòng shān 崆峒山)
Kongtong Mountain, the earliest famous mountain of Taoist under Heaven, lies 15km west of Pingliang City. The Mountain is in the national scenery zone, has long been known for its majesty and beauty endowed by its towering pines and cypresses, verdant bushes, grotesque peaks, countless caves and jagged rocks. It is well worth a stop for pilgrimage and Ecology tours.

PingliangKongtong Mountain is a branch of Liupan Mountain (liù pán shān 六盘山). Though located in the western plateau area, the mountain is endowed with the characteristics both of the magnificence of China's northern mountains and the beauty of southern mountains. Huge mountains stand one after another with vast patches of green forests as their clothes and ethereal mist as their white belt. Kongtong Mountain is abundant in stone caves and houses, many of which are located in the cliffs or dense forest where nobody sets foot. The famous ones include Guangcheng Cave, Zhaoyang Cave, Xuanhe Cave and Kongtong Cave. In addition, Kongtong Mountain is a rich water resource. The Yanzhi River flows from the north. Every spring, peach blossoms fall into the water and float on the current: a lovely sight. At the foot of the mountain, Tanzheng Lake (dàn zhēng hú 弹筝湖) flows calmly like a mirror, and its murmuring water sounds like a Chinese zither, giving the lake its name, Tanzheng Lake.

Location: 15km west of Pingliang City or 12km west of Kongtong District
Tel: 0933-8711212
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00 (Monday-Sunday)
Transportation: There are buses in Pingliang city bus station driving to Kongtong Mountain (about CNY15)
Admission Fee: CNY120

Willow Lake Park (liǔ hú 柳湖)
PingliangLying in Kongdong District, Willow Lake Park is a famous park in Pingliang City. Covering an area of 8.8 hectares, it is a natural park known for the unique sight of having willows in the lake and having lake in the willows. Every late spring, willow catkins dance everywhere around the lake and this wonderful sight is known as "Snow Flies in the Clear Day around the Willow Lake". The western part of the willow lake measures 4.9 feet deep and the eastern part measures 6.6 to 9.8 feet deep. Nuanquan, "Warm Spring" is the source of the willow lake. The spring remains at a high temperature all year round, no matter how the weather changes.

The lake originates from the Warm Spring, with a stone tablet standing beside, in which Zuo Zongtang (zuǒ zōng tang 左宗棠)(a famous Chinese general in Qing Dynasty) has inscribed above two big characters ’Warm Spring’ and below an epigraph that ‘Pingliang is cold for its height, and the same is true to the springs; while the spring here is warm, even in cold winter, it is not frozen.’.

Location: Kongtong District of Pingliang City, Gansu Province
Tel: 0933-4163081  
Opening Hours:  9:00-17:00
Transportation: The Willow Lake Park located in the urban area of Pingliang City. We can take bus or taxi there for its ideal location.
Admission Fee: Free
Recommended time for a visit: 2 hours

Queen Mother Palace Grottoes (wáng mǔ gōng shí kū 王母宫石窟)
PingliangLying some 75 kilometers to the southeast of the Pingliang City the Queen Mother Palace Grotto is located at the confluence of the Jing and Nei River and less than 1 kilometer away from the county seat in the precinct of Jingchuan County. The Wangmugong Mountain (王母宫山) is again called ‘Huizhoung mountain’. As legend has it that once King Mu of the Western Zhou Synasty and Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty ever made their tours here and Queen Mother ,the lady deity of Taoism had been here entertaining them in the fairy palace up on the mountain.

The Grotto of the Wangmu Palace was engraved according to the mountain's hypsography, and is rectangular with a pole of 12 meters high and 11 meters deep in the center. The stone statues of Buddha figures are inlaid on the central pole and the three walls of the Grotto, including the statues of the One Thousand Buddhas, Hercules, Bodhisattvas and a white elephant that carries a pagoda on its back. Over 200 statues are placed in the grotto in three layers and most of them were made after the 5th century. The palace has undergone some large-scale renovations, and many pavilions were constructed on the hillsides near the grotto.

Location: Lying some 75 kilometers to the southeast of the Pingliang City
Tel: 0933-8215830
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Transportation: There are non-stop buses in Pingliang city
Admission Fee: CNY5

Longquan Temple (lóng quán sì 龙泉寺)
The current from Feng Mountain leaks out from the cliffs and formed two springs, one is called Nonglu spring, another Guanzhu spring. The precipice of the latter stands an old cypress, almost thousands years old, taking the shape of a flying dragon with scare claws who winds with the precipice. The dragon coordinated with the spring embodies the mountains and water, thus the name of Longquan Temple.

PingliangLongquan Temple situated in low hills and ravines. The scene impresses the visitors with its small and exquisite: green hills, blue waters, creeks overflowing from the rocks, the spilling spring and dragon beads. All these are in the scenic area no more than 133 hectares away, which gathers the eight prime sights in loess plateau of east Long: the lotus flowers in the rising sun, the autumn breeze in the plateau, a concrete-made dragon crouching before the old cypress, the splashing beads from the dragon’s mouth, walking on the white bridge under the moon, the continuous heavy rain in the pond, mist and clouds in the groove.

Location: 2 km north of Chongxin County (chóng xìn xiàn 崇信县) in Pingliang City
Tel: 0933-6123648
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Transportation: Take the coach to Chongxin in Pingliang bus station, then transfer the tourist bus in Chongxin, or take a taxi to the destination.
Admission Fee: CNY60
Recommended time for a visit: 2 hours

Specialty Food

Pingliang Subing (píng liáng sū bǐng 平凉酥饼)
PingliangThe popular delicacy with local flavor, Pingliang Subing (a kind of crisp cakes), also called Sumo (sū mó 酥馍), whose name spreads over the three provinces of Shanxi, Gansu and Ningxia, was first made over one hundred year ago. Pingliang Sumo consists of three kinds, the Han’s Ansubing and Hui’s Mingsubing and Chesubing.

Stewed Pig Elbow (hóng mèn zhǒu zǐ 红焖肘子)

Stewed Pig Elbow is a famous dish in Pingliang, which is the perfect combination of color, aroma, taste and appearance, fat but not grease, yummy.

Jingning Roast Chicken
(píng liáng shāo jī 平凉烧鸡)
A famous food in Jingning County of Gansu Province enjoys an established fame in Silk Road for its fat body, golden color and luster and fresh, tender and mellow taste. It is delicious and unique.


Pingliang is about 350 kilometers from Lanzhou, and there are several buses go and from the two cities.
By Air:  There is no airport in Pingliang, the nearest airport is Xi’an airport and Lanzhou Zhongchuan airport.
By Train: Baozhong Railway pass through Pingliang city , there are trains go to Lanzhou, Shanghai, Yinchuan, the line 1 bus can reach the railway station.
By Bus: Pingliang has two principal bus stations. The west station is located in Gonglu Street, offering special line buses to the Kongtong Mountain. The east station is in No.68, Jiefang Road (North). Pingliang is about 350 kilometers (217 miles) from Lanzhou, and there are several buses in the bus stations daily shuttling between the two cities.

Travel Tips
The Best Time to Go: Spring and autumn
Seat of the City Government: No.141, West Street, Kongtong District
Useful Telephone Numbers
Tourist Complaints: 0933-4161376
Weather Forecast: 121
Zip Code Inquiry: 184