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Guizhou Province Overview
Guizhou Province boasts its rich tourist resouces with its appealing picturesque landscapes, primeval vegetation and diverse ethnic cultures. The fantastic karst natural scenery is characterized by amazing mountains, waters, and caves. Guizhou is home to 49 out of 56 ethnic groups in China, of whom 17 are indigenous, including Han, and other ethnic groups such as Miao, Dong, Buyi, Ge, Hui, Yao, and Shui inhabiting on this piece of land. Their customs and life styles are simple and elegant. These make up the unique matural scenery and the sight of human culture of the province as well.

Guizhou‘s landscape can be grossly called the Guizhou Plateau and has relatively a high altitude, with an average elevation of more than 1,000 meters, and widely distributed with karst formation landscape. Most of the province belongs to subtropical and humid monsoon climate. Weather is mild neither cold in winter nor hot in summer.

Guizhou Province has some of the best tourism resources in China, or even in the world, earning it the name “Oriental Switzerland.” More than 90 per cent of the province is covered by mountains, of which two-thirds are karst landscape, featuring waterfalls, caves, and canyons. The Huangguoshu Falls, located 140 kilometers southwest of Guiyang, has become a symbol of Guizhou. The scenic area consists of a dozen waterfalls, the tallest is 74 meters, and a number of huge water caves and ethnic villages of the Buyi and Miaos. Some virgin forests and ancient plant species, including some from the Jurassic (of, belonging to, or designating the time and deposits of the second period of the Mesozoic era, characterized by the existence of dinosaurs and the appearance of primitive mammals and birds) Age, have survived in this underdeveloped corner of China. It was also the place where the Red Army took a decisive turn from defeat to victory during its 12,500-kilometer Long March from 1934 to 1935. The five out of the 12 months of voyages took place in the province, where Mao Zedong (founder of the new China in 1949) rose to the top position of the Communist Party of China.
Industrial sectors include mining, metallurgy, electric power, petrochemical, food, and cigarettes. There are 110 minerals found in the province. The reserves of mercury 汞, phosphor 磷,barite 重金石,aluminum 铝,and manganese 锰 top the other provinces in China. The mountainous forestry is one of China’s important timber plantation zones. Beside, other economic forest products are also available such as raw lacquer, tung oil, gallnut and fungus. The western province has long been called “sea of coal,” and its hydraulic resources are abundant.

Maotai, which is brewed in the province, is the first of China’s distilled wines. The brand won its reputation worldwide in 1915 at a Panama Exposition. And ever since, Maotai has been listed together with Scotish Whiskey, French Cognac Brand and Russian Vodka at a Panama Expo. The company achieved exports of US$14 million in 2002.

Of hundreds of thousands of mountains in Guizhou Province, Mount Wuling 武陵山,Mount Wumeng 乌蒙山,Mount Daloushan 大娄山,and Mount Miaoling 苗岭山 are the most famous. The amazing Huangguoshu Waterhalls. Famous Zunyi City and other colourful folk customs make tourists’ trip more rewarding and wonderful.

With a mild and humid climate, the province is home to 1,000 animals and 3,800 plants in the wild. It has ancient ferns that were around during the time of the dinosaurs 恐龙, and it houses the last tribe of 650 Guizhou Golden Monkeys that are more precious than the giant pandas. Agriculture, green food, pharmaceutical production with natural plants as raw materials, tourism and power generation will become pillar industries.
In Guizhou, state-level scenic spots have reached 18, accounting for 6.7 per cent of China’s 177 state-level scenic spots.

Guizhou is speeding up its development for tourism. Traffic and transportation have been greatly improved. Hotel facilities have been increased.

The March 3rd Festival 三月三节

The March 3rd Festival to commemorate the harvest is celebrated by the Buyi people. Originally, it is a ritual in which people cast cooked com on the ground to worship the harvest god. Today, it has developed into a grand gala of singing. On March 3 according to lunar calendar, the Buyi people in Guiyang and neighbouring counties flock to Xinpu Township, Wudang District. In the forests or by the streams, they sing songs to the accompaniment of a simple instrument made of leaves.

On June 6, according to the lunar calendar, is another important festival of the Buyi people. On that day, people gather on the Huaxi River. They sing songs and hold boat races. Music is an essential part of the daily life of the minority ethnic groups. The most popular instrument of the Miao people is the lusheng (a reed-pipe wind instrument, used by the Miao, Yao, and Dong ethnic groups). The instrument varies in terms of sizes and pipes. The largest is more than one meter and the smallest is less than one foot in length. One variety may be made up of six reed pipes, the others are constituted by 6 to 9 and even to 28 pipes. The lusheng is widely used as an accompanying instrument in dances, singing, martial art and acrobatics. With the increasing exchange among different ethnic groups, the lusheng is something the Dong, Shui, Buyi, Yao and Zhuang people have in common. The Miao people perform the dance, accompanied by the lusheng in a quick rhythm and passionate style. The dance has over 100 varieties with different steps and tunes. It is always performed between man and woman. The man plays lusheng and the woman dances, or vice versa. The lusheng dance has become a necessary part for the Miao festivals in Guiyang.

Bullfighting is also popular in the countryside near Guiyang. Unlike Spanish bullfighting, the activity features a fight between bulls, not a bull against a matador. Controlled by referees, the bulls fight fiercely. The referees separate the bulls when it looks like they are going to hurt each other.

The April 8th Festival 四月八节

Miao, Buyi, Tujia and other ethnic group people in Guizhou, West Hanan and North Guanxi commonly celebrate this festival. Howerer, the most spectacular event of the April 8 Festival is observed by the Miao people in Guiyang. On April 8 according to lunar calendar, the Miao people from Guiyang and neighbouring counties hold a big gathering at the Fountain Square in the central part of the city. Wearing festival finery, they sing folk songs and dance to the tune of flute (also called the horizontal flute) and lusheng, a reed-pine wind instrument popular in this area. Legend has it that the festival is observed to worship the Miao heroes buried near the square. The festival has now become a carnival and is also celebrated by the Buyi, Dong, Zhuang, Shui, Gelao and Han peoples. It is also an opportunity for youngsters to court each other. Boys and girls fall in love as they sing and dance to their favourite tunes.

Maotai Liquor 茅台酒

A long time ago, an ancient Chinese poet once said that 300 shots of drink would relieve him from thousands of years of sorrow. However, if he had downed Maotai, Chinese liquor, he would have discovered that only a few cups would do the job. In deed, Maotai is so good that it has become king of the Chinese spirits. Many people like to talk about it , but few know how the liquor is made in the town of Maotai in the northwestern part of Renhuai City, Guizhou Province. The town has a population of over 7,000 people almost half of whom work in the distillery, and many others have jobs in a small factories or shops related to it. The City of Renhuai was formally named the Capital of Wine in 2004.

The method of brewing Maotai has evolved from ancient times. Some experts believed that the first distilleries started production 2,100 years ago. Guojiang, a kind of liquor believed to be forerunner of Maotai, earned its name in the western Han Dynasty and was favoured by Emperor Wudi.
The brewing techniques of Maotai are very complicated. Local top quality sorghum and wheat are the raw materials. Cultivating yeast, fermenting and distilling are done at high temperatures (Other liquors are usually fermented at low or medium temperatures.) Whole and crushed kernels of grain in measured proportions are mixed, then steamed or cooked. Twice during the brewing, the grains are fed into fermenting pools; they also are soaked in spirits, fermented eight times (once a month), and distilled seven times. The liquor from each distillation is then aged in cellars for at least three years before being blended into Maotai, thus bringing out its characteristics delicious savour with its nutritious food value. Its alcoholic content is 53 proof. Ranking first among China’s most famous beverages. Maotai is said not to produce a hangover. At any rate, no banquet in China is complete without toasts drunk in this fiery liquor.
For years, mastering the Maotai favour has puzzled brewers from other cities. Distilleries in other parts of China have invited the best distillers from the town of Maotai to be their advisers. The distillers did all they could, but each time the product turned out a failure. People say that the secret is a combination of right temperature a misty climate and the eater and soil of the town. The distillation process is especially adapted to the exceptional advantages of natural environment. It can’t be made anywhere else.

In orde to untie the sophisticated knot of the Maotai flavour, some institutes have been applied to Maotai study, and quality and output have been raised greatly. In order to preserve Maotai’s unique characteristics, the key processes have yet been mechanized.

Maotai Liquor is one of the eight famous Chinese wines and spirits. It has been well known to the world market for a long time. At the Panama International Exhibition in 1915, it won recognition as the second be

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