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Tianshui and Around


Tianshui is located in southeastern Gansu. As a vital post on the Silk Road in ancient times it has been designated by the state as a city of historical and cultural importance. Fuxi, one of the ancestors of the Chinese nation who was said to have been the first to use ropes to make nets for hunting and fishing, was born in Tianshui.

Tianshui was also the place where the Dadiwan tribes created China's oldest painted pottery culture in the Neolithic Age. During the rule of King Xiao of the Zhou Dynasty, a man called Feizi tended horses for the king in what is now Tianshui. He was given the family name "Ying" and the area in which he worked as his fief by the king in recognition of his excellent service. The area was named Qin and also referred to as Qinzhou. The man was none other than the progenitor of the royal family of the State of Qin which unified China in 206 B.C. The place was renamed Tianshui when Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty made it a prefecture more than two thousand years ago.

At an elevation of 1,100 meters, Tianshui has four distinctive seasons with a pleasant climate. Tianshui has many places of tourist interest. They include the Majishan Grottoes, Xianren (Immortals') Cliff, Fuxi Temple, and sites of the Yellow River, Silk Road, and Three Kingdoms cultures.

The Majishan Grottoes

The Majishan Grottoes are about 30 kilometers southeast of the center of Tianshui. One of China's four best cave temple groups, they are often referred to as the largest museum of sculpture in the East.

Buddhism and Buddhist art were introduce to China from India via the old Silk Road durin the first century A.D. Kexi'er Thousand Buddh Caves in Xinjiang and Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang appeared along the Silk Road, digging at the caves on Majishan began during the Sixteen States and Later Qin periods and continued over the dynasties for about 1,500 year: Majishan literally means "Wheat stack Mountain," a name derived from its shape.

The cliffs of Majishan were split into the eastern and western sections by an earthquake in 734 during the Tang Dynasty. They are no linked by walkways. There are in total 194 surviving caves on the cliffs, 54 on the eastern section and 140 on the western section. They contain more than 7,200 clay and stone statues wit the largest towering 15 meters and the smaller measuring only 20 centimeters high. In addition they also boast 1,300 square meters of murals.

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