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Zhangye was called "Jin Zhangye" in old times. Due to the strategic importance in its military and geographical location, Zhangye became the center of politics, economy, culture and diplomatic activities of every past dynasty in the north-western part of China. Zhangye was one of the four counties in Hexi Corridor (the Western River) in ancient times and was once known as Ganzhou.
Situated in the central part of Hexi Corridor in Gansu Province, Zhangye is adjacent to Wuwei area and Jinchang city to the east and connected with Jiuquan area to the west, which makes it the joint point that links the southern and northern routes of the Old Silk Road with the Juyan Old Path.
Zhangye witenesses a unique vision of lonely desert and flourishing oasis with the Qilian Mountain standing in the south, the Heli Hill and Longshou Hill lying in the north and the Black River running though the whole area. The plain land and fertile soil contribute a lot to its luxuriant forests, abundant grain and fragrant melon and fruit. Jokuls, grasslands, green waters and desserts reflect one anotherand stage a spectacle of particular interest with both charms of southland and amorous feelings of the Great Wall. There are such fine verses as "I' ll never forget the snow on the Qilian Mountain and I' ve miataken Ganzhou for Jiangnan (the prosperous part in south of the Changjiang River)" to describe it.
The city of Zhangye has a long history dating back to more than 2000 years ago. It was one of the four counties in Hexi (the Western River) and the center of politics, economy, culture and diplomatic activities of every past dynasty in the north-western part of central China.
Zhangye belongs to the second group of national and historic cities and open cities that were announced by the State Department in 1985.The city boasts numerous scenic spots and historical sites and possesses particular places of historic figures and cultural heritage. There are ancient buildings, such as the Great Buddha Temple, the Xilai Temple (West-coming Temple), the Earth Pagoda, the Zhenyuan Building, the Shanxi Assembly Hall and the Barn of Ming Dynasty, and also historical sites, such as the site of Black Water State, the Tombs Complex of Han Dynasty, the Ancient Rampart and Beacon Tower on the Great Wall.
There is gorgeous natural scenery which embodies beauty of southland and landscape of the Great Wall, such as the Sweet Spring Park, the Desert Park, the Black Water Village and Da Yekou Natural Beauty Spot, and also colorful folk customs featured by Han, Hui, Mongol, Tibet and Yugu.
The bus routes in South Gan are rather complete and perfect. They can lead you to everywhere you want to head for inside the city.
There are twenty-two highways across the city among which Ganxin Highway and Ganqing Highway are the main ones. No. 312 National Highway and No.227 National Highway also pass through Zhangye City.
There are about 10,000 taxi cars in Zhangye city. You are advised to go to the scenic spots where special tour lines are not opened by taking a taxi together with several other tourists. Here are the prices for reference: the starting price is 4 yuan for cars as Lingyang, Qianlima and Xiali and 3 yuan for micro buses. One yuan is added per km beyond 3 kilometers and 1.5yuan is added per km beyond 10 kilometers.
The Lanxin Railroad goes through the whole city starting from the Dongle Town of Shandan County in the east to the Shahe Town of Linze County in the west. There are trains to places as Beijing, Urumchi, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an and Jinan every day. The Zhangye Railway Station locates in the north-east of the city.