Guilin is one of China's best-known cities on account of its beautiful landscape of limestone mountains, likened in a Tang poem to jade hairpins. The city has been popular with sightseers for over 1,000 years, and many famous poets and painters have lived and worked there, celebrating its river and mountain scenery.
Once the capital of Guangxi Province (the capital was moved south to Nanning in 1914), Guilin has always been a prosperous commercial center, profiting from its proximity to the Ling Canal which links the two major river networks of the Pearl and the Yangzi. This canal was built in the second century BC, during the reign of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China, who used it to link the middle regions of his empire around the Yangzi with the far south. But central government control of Guangxi was only intermittent, and the province remained a frontier region of the Chinese empire until the time of the Tang dynasty (618-907). Many Guangxi people are not ethnic Chinese. Around 35 per cent of the population are Zhuang, the most populous minority group in China. However, the land they occupy covers over 60 per cent of the province, and thus the province has been designated a Zhuang Minority Autonomous Region.
Guilin lies along the west bank of the Li River, and was once a walled city. However, widespread destruction during the Japanese occupation in the Second World War, along with a recent modernization and industrialization programme, have left the city drab and undistinguished amidst its mountains. In the 1980s tourists began coming here in increasing numbers, both Chinese sightseers who had been made prosperous by the economic reforms, and foreign visitors encouraged by the expansion of hotels and air services. The city was inundated with tourists, with the result that prices rose higher and higher. So why come to Guilin at all? The answer is simple - its landscape of abrupt mountains amidst verdant river plains still has the ability to refresh and enchant all of ones senses.
[Geography] Standing at 109 16'111 30' east longitude and 24 16~26 24 north latitude in the northeastern of Guangxi Zhang Autonomous Region. The total area is 27809 square km and the city proper occupies 565 square km with 150m mean altitude.
[Administrative Division] Consisting of 5 urban districts ( Diecai, Xiufeng, Xiangshan, Qiuxing, Yanshan ) and 12 countries ( Longsheng, Ziyuan, Xiang'an, Quanzhou, Guangyang, Lingchaun, Yongfu, Lingui, Yangshuo, Lipu, Gongcheng and Pingle ).
[Population and Nationality] Total population of Guilin is 4,760,000, in which the city proper is 603,500, living tens of nationalities of Zhuang, Hui, Yao and Dong taking up 8.5%. The population of minority is 686,400.
[Climate] Because of subtropical region, the climate of Guilin is moderate. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 7.9C, July is the hottest with an average temperature of 28C. Yearly average rainfall is 1900mm. It is the best time for travel from April to October.
[River] Li River is the mother river of Guilin, belonging to the Pearl River system, original from Mao'er Mountain of Xing'an, a country of North Guilin. It is 160km long total through Lingchuan, Guilin, Yangshuo and Pingle.
[History] Humans lived in this region some 30,000 years ago. After Qin Shibuang, the first emperor of Qin Dynasty, unified China, a man-made Lingqu Canal connected Li River and Xiang River. In B.C111, Hanwu Emperor began to establish Shi'an county, which capital was set in today's Guilin. During the later 2000 years, Guilin had been the capital of state, prefecture or county set by each dynastic government. From Song dynasty, Guilin became the center of politics, military, economics and culture of Guangxi.
[Name Derivation] In B.C214£¬Qin Shihuang excavated the Ling Canal to connect Li River and Xiang River and established three prefectures of Guilin, Xiangjun and Nanhai. Guilin was the first time to appear in history, which became the seat of prefecture, state and government agency or country early or later. From 1949 to today, Guilin has been its name.
[Guilin Today] With the complete of reconstruction of Guilin, more and more changes took place in Guilin, especially the Two Rivers and Four Lakes Projects, which recovers the all-round-city water system, optimizing the ecological environment and widening the tourism range etc. Transportation is very convenient, anf Guilin has has a thriving transportation system. The Liangjiang International Airport is operating properly. Boasting over 40 national and international airlines directly towards over 30 cities and regions at home and abroad; trains directly connect Guilin with main cities all over China. Meanwhile, the traffic network composed by GuiHai Highway, Guihuang Road with Class I, Guiyang Road with class II etc to everywhere of Guangxi and the county; express coaches and buses with air-conditioners are available between Guilin and every county around. Furthermore, civil bus, taxi, civil bus for free and special bus route for AAAA scenic spots for free are of great help for you to travel around the downtown areas or to other attractions around the center.