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Travel in Yunnan

The Weishan Yi and Hui Autonomous County (wēi shān yí zú huí zú zì zhì xiàn 巍山彝族回族自治县) is located in the south of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture (dà lǐ bái zú zì zhì zhōu 大理白族自治州) in the west of Yunnan Province (yún nán shěng 云南省). Lying in the upper section of Ailao Mountain (āi láo shān 哀牢山) and Wuliang Mountain (wú liàng shān 无量山), Weishan is more than 54 kilometers from Kunming (kūn míng 昆明), the provincial capital of Yunnan, and 54 kilometers from Dali City, the seat of the prefectural government. It has under its jurisdiction nine villages, two towns and 82 village offices.


weishan2Weishan County enjoys a northern subtropical plateau monsoon climate, with obvious vertical changes. The annual average temperature is 15.6°C while the mean monthly temperature is 22.9°C. The total amount of precipitation during a whole year is 772 mm, and the sunshine duration lasts 1998.5 hours every year. So it is comfortable to travel to Weishan County all the year round. However, when visiting Weishan County in winter, the north wind is relatively cold and some delicious local snacks cannot be tasted, leading to some disadvantages of winter.

Weishan has a long history and numerous historic sites and scenic spots. Sixteen sites of the Neolithic Era have been discovered in Weishan. The county has preserved more than 2,100 cultural relics in museums at different levels, and boasts 30 plus cultural relics sites under province, prefecture and county level protection. Since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the place has turned out more than 20 successful candidates in the highest imperial examinations, and over 200 successful candidates in the provincial level imperial examinations, who left many precious calligraphic works here. In the reign of Emperor Qianlong (qián lóng 乾隆) in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Weishan was conferred the title of Famous State of Literature by the emperor. As the birthplace of Nanzhao (nán zhào 南诏), a local regime in ancient China, there are a lot of relics and stories of Nanzhao in Weishan County. The Weishan ancient county, built in the 23rd year of the Hongwu (hóng wǔ 洪武) reign in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), has ancient buildings here and there.

weishan3Weishan is a place inhabited by ethnic minorities and takes on dense ethic folk art of primitive simplicity. There are altogether 23 ethnic groups in Weishan County, among which 6 ethnic groups have settled there for more than 100 years, including Han ethnic group, Yi ethnic group, Hui ethnic group, Bai (bái 白) ethnic group, Miao (miáo 苗) ethnic group and Lisu (lì sù 傈僳) ethnic group. The Dage (dǎ gē 打歌) collective dance of the Yi ethnic minority is very elegant accompanied by a kind of a reed pipe wind instrument that makes sound pleasant to listen to. The Firebrand Festival (huǒ bǎ jié 火把节) is a festive day after a bumper harvest.

The area of Weishan abounds in natural resources, and you can find some virgin forest within the border. The county is also a famous hometown of overseas Chinese, with more than 1,400 Chinese sojourning in different countries in Europe, America and the Asia-Pacific Region.

In 1944, Weishan County was listed as the national historical and cultural city. It is one of the four counties which have been celebrated as “literature of the state”.


weishan4There are 30 important heritage sites under province and prefecture protection. Among them, there is an ancient city which was built in the 22nd year during Zhu Yuanzhang’ (zhū yuán zhāng 朱元璋) reign (Zhu Yuanzhang is the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty), a national forest park and Weibao Mountain (wēi bǎo shān 巍宝山) which is one of the 14 famous mountains in Taoism. During the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty, Weishan got the name of “literature of the state”. The large numbers of historical sites and ancient buildings, which are all worth visiting, are of great historical significance and researching value. Dong Lianhua Village (dōng lián huā cūn 东莲花村), or the East Village of Lotus, was a post house of the horse caravans in the Ming and Qing dynasties. They have been perfectly conserved until now, becoming quite precious nowadays. The mosques in Weishan are also very famous, with altogether 22 mosques in Weishan County, which are all in huge scale and quite magnificent. The mosques boast rich characteristics of the ethnic groups in Weishan, whose most typical feature is the western region style.

The Ancient City of Weishan

weishan5With a history of more than 600 years, the ancient city of Weishan conserved now was firstly built in the 22nd year during Zhu Yuanzhang’ reign. The ancient city of Weishan is also known as Menghua City (méng huà chéng 蒙化城), which used to be the birthplace of the ancient Nanzhao Kingdom. Around the ancient city of Weishan, there built solid walls, with four gates on each direct (including the East Gate, the West Gate, the South Gate and the North Gate). In the center of the city, there is a Xinggong Tower (xīng gǒng lóu 星拱楼), meaning a tower surrounded by stars. The shape of the ancient city is like a square seal. Inside the city, all the roads are arranged according to the chessboard type, with 24 streets and 18 lanes crossing each other.

The imposing Xinggong Tower and Gongchen Tower (gǒng chén lóu 拱辰楼) are the landmarks of the ancient city of Weishan. The houses in the ancient city were built according to the structure of the ancient Chinese style which was popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties. There are many ancient buildings dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties both inside and outside the ancient city, such as the Confucius’s Temple, Wen Hua School (wén huá shū yuàn 文华书院), Yu Huang Pavilion (yù huáng gé 玉皇阁), and Dong Yue Palace (dōng yuè gōng 东岳宫). “Yu Huang” means the pavilion of the Jade Emperor who is the Supreme Deity of Taoism. “Dong Yue” means the palace of the east mountain.

weishan6The north gate tower of Weishan is Gongchen Tower (gǒng chén lóu 拱辰楼), which was built during the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. On the tall walls, there is an ancient building in the style of double-hipped roof with Xie roof (zhòng yán xiē dǐng 重檐歇顶), covering an area of five rooms. On the south wall of the gate tower hangs a horizontal tablet inscribed with four Chinese characters “Kui Xiong Liu Zhao” (kuí xióng liù zhào 魁雄六诏), while on the north wall hangs a horizontal tablet inscribed with “Wan Li Zhan Tian” (wàn lǐ zhān tiān 万里瞻天). The walls and the tablets are all imposing and powerful. The ancient tower is 23.5 meters tall, with the bottom wall of 8.3 meters tall. The structure of the tower is supported by 28 pillars. Climbing along the steps from the two small gates in the east or the gate in the west to the top of the tower and look around, tourists can see four main streets stretching respectively towards the directions of the east, the west, the south and the north. The houses are neatly arranged. From the top of the tower, tourists can have a panoramic view of the whole Weishan County, with magnificent scenery.

Weibao Mountain

weishan7Weibao Mountain is one of the 14 famous mountains in Taoism, combining the beauty of the nature, the origin of Nanzhao culture and the Taoist culture harmoniously. Weibao Mountain is located 11 kilometers (about 6.84 miles) southeast of the county town of Weishan, covering an area of 19 square kilometers (or 1900 hectares), with the main peak measuring 2,569 meters in height. It is said that there was splendor coming out of the mountain, and this is why Weibao Mountain got its name.

Weibao Mountain Scenic Spot consists of two parts, including the front mountain and the back mountain. There are altogether more than 30 scenic spots for tourists to visit, such as Xixin Room (xǐ xīn jiān 洗心间), Yinsu Spring (yín sù quán 银粟泉) and Qixing Well (qī xīng jǐng 七星井). These sights are all related to the local legends, which is a unique feature in Weishan County. In addition, Weibao Mountain is also the birthplace of Nanzhao culture and a famous mountain in Taoism as well.

Special Local Products

The local agricultural products in Weishan County mainly includes flue-cured tobacco, tea, walnut seed, beef cattle, black goat, white kidney bean, beer barley, fruits and medicinal materials. Besides, there are also many other kinds of local products, such as bandhnu cloth, unique local snacks, glazed fruits (mì jiàn 蜜饯), pickles, preserved beef and green bean cake. The glazed fruits in Weishan are famous even out of Yuannan Province.

weishan8The bandhnu cloth in Weishan County has strong characteristics of traditional craft which are unique to the ethnic groups there. Weishan County was once given the name of “the land of Chinese Bandhnu Art” by the Ministry of Culture. The bandhnu cloth produced in Weishan County is exported to Janpan, the US, the European counties, the Southeast Asia countries and many other countries.