China Travel Guide
Guilin is a prefecture-level city in China, situated in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on the west bank of the Li River. Its name means "forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city. The city has long been renowned for its unique scenery.
In 314 BC, a small settlement was established along the banks of the Li River.
In 111 BC, during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Shi An County was established, which could be regarded as the beginning of the city.
In 507 AD, the town was renamed Guizhou.
Guilin prospered in the Tang and Song dynasties but remained a county. The city was also a nexus between the central government and the southwest border, and it was where regular armies were placed to guard that border. Canals were built through the city so that food supplies could be directly transported from the food-productive Yangtze plain to the farthest southwestern point of the empire.
In 1921, Guilin became one of the headquarters of the Northern Expeditionary Army led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.
In 1940, the city acquired its present name.
In 1981, this ancient city was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities (the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project.
- Area: 27,809 km²
- Subtropical region
- Typical karst formation
- Mountains: Diecai Hill, Elephant Trunk Hill, Seven-Star Cave, Wave-Subduing Hill, Lipu Mountains, The Cat Mountains and Yaoshan Mountains
- Rivers: Lijiang
- Cave: Reed Flute Cave
Guilin administers 17 county-level divisions:
- Five city districts: Xiufeng District , Xiangshan District , Diecai District , Qixing District , Yanshan District .
- Ten counties: Lingui County , Yangshuo County , Lingchuan County , Xing'an County , Quanzhou County , Yongfu County , Ziyuan County, Guanyang County, Pingle County , Lipu County .
- Two autonomous counties: Gongcheng Yao Autonomous County, Longsheng Various Nationalities Autonomous County.
- Population: 1.34 million
- Urban population: 620,000
- Ethnic groups: Zhuang, Yao, Hui, Miao, Han and Dong
- Damp monsoon climate
- Warm and rainy
- Plenty of sunshine and clear division of the four seasons
- Warm winters
- Average temperature: 19 °C (66 °F) annually
Guilin cuisine is known for its snacks and the use of spices, especially chili. The famous Guilin chili sauce, Guìlín làjiāojiàng, used widely in cooking by locals, is made of fresh chili, garlic, and fermented soybeans, and is considered one of the city's Three Treasures . The other two of the Three Treasures are Guilin Sanhua Jiu, a variety of rice baijiu, or liquor distilled from rice; and Guilin pickled tofu.
Guilin rice noodles have been the local breakfast staple since the Qin dynasty and are renowned for their delicate taste. Legend has it that when Qin troops suffering from diarrhea entered this region, a cook created the Guilin rice noodles for the army because they had trouble eating the local food. Specifically, the local specialty is noodles with horse meat, but this dish can also be ordered without the horse meat. Zongzi, a dumpling made from glutinous rice and mung bean paste wrapped in a bamboo or banana leaf) is another popular delicacy in Guilin.
In popular culture
- Guilin was used as the planet Kashyyyk in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
- Many scenes from the film The Painted Veil, adapted from the 1925 W. Somerset Maugham novel The Painted Veil were filmed in Guilin and the surrounding area.
- The scenery from the twenty Yuan bill is that of the Li River.
- Guilin is the final area of the video game Shenmue II and the home of Shenhua.
- Guilin was mentioned in the novel The Joy Luck Club as the original home of Suyuan Woo, the mother of the primary narrator of the story, Jing-mei Woo.
- This city was featured in The Amazing Race Season 14, Leg 9.