Bronze wine vessel Photo: VCG
The 27th Sanmenxia Yellow River Cultural Tourism Festival took place Wednesday through Saturday in Sanmenxia, central China’s Henan Province. The event featured a variety of tourist attractions in nine provinces through which the Yellow River flows, including north China’s Shanxi Province, northwest China’s Gansu Province and central China’s Henan Province.
The festival aimed to boost the economy of these provinces through the development of various tourism sectors such as ecotourism, which has increased in recent years.
The Yellow River, the second longest river in the country, is also known as the “mother river of China”. Many of China’s earliest civilizations emerged on the banks of this river and have been a cornerstone of culture for the past 5,000 years of Chinese history.
In September 2019, the government of Sanmenxia started a project to restore the wetlands on the river and to build an ecological corridor to improve the Yellow River Basin (Sanmenxia Reach) over three years. These measures have had a positive impact on the region as a long green corridor full of flowers now runs along the 108-kilometer road that follows the Yellow River east to the Sanmenxia Dam.
While the Yellow River got its name due to the large amount of sediment in its waters, the formation of which would often lead to flooding, this section of the river is now dark clear green and grass cover in the basin due to the construction of reservoirs and the increase in forest has led to the sediment content of the Yellow River falling sharply in recent years.
Many white swans from Siberia live in the numerous wetlands of Sanmenxia every winter. These birds fly thousands of kilometers into the city every year to spend their winters in harmony with people.
In addition to natural landscapes, Henan Province is also home to a rich historical and cultural heritage. Various cultural relics and ruins have been discovered throughout the province, ranging from China’s First Dynasty, the Xia Dynasty (around 2070 – around 1600 BC) to the wealthy Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the people across the province have amazed land and even the world.
The discovery of the Erlitou ruins was a great moment for studying the 5,000 year history of Chinese civilization as it was identified as the location of the capital of the Xia dynasty.
With an area of 3.75 square kilometers, the Erlitou cultural site is considered by many archaeologists to be the ruins of the capital of the Xia dynasty, as the remains of a large palace complex were discovered there.
An important highlight of the collections in the Erlitou Cultural Ruins Museum is a bronze jue (wine vessel). Often used during special religious ceremonies, jue has two small nail-like protrusions in front of the spout from which the wine was poured. It is believed that ancient Chinese would hang a small piece of cloth from these protrusions to act as a net to filter out any scabies in ancient Chinese wines.
A very small sculpture of a monkey (2.2 centimeters tall) made of bone is another precious item in the museum’s collection. The boned monkey was originally discovered on a child’s neck in a grave from the Xia dynasty and is believed to have been part of a necklace.
Yingtian Gate in Luoyang Photo: VCG
The city of Luoyang in Henan Province was once the capital of 13 Chinese dynasties. Besides the Xia dynasty, people love to talk about Wu Zetian from the Tang dynasty, China’s first and only empress.
Although the palace that Wu referred to as home was lost for the time being, the local government is trying to restore parts of the large complex that once stood in the city. For example, the Yingtian Gate, the palace’s largest gate, was rebuilt on top of the ruins of the original gate.
Dikengyuan in the central Chinese province of Henan Photo: VCG
The royal culture is definitely an attractive tourist attraction, but the wisdom of the common people also has its charm.
Dikengyuan is an example of this wisdom. This square courtyard apartment is a unique type of people’s residence in that it was built underground without the use of a single brick or tile.
The residents dug deep pits and built small wooden houses below. The advantage of these underground dwellings was that they stayed cool in summer and warm in winter and were also earthquake-proof.
“Henan aims to become a tourist destination with international influence and an important window for exploring and experiencing China’s Yellow River culture. We hope, together with other provinces, to open a new chapter in the history of the high-quality development of cultural tourism on the Yellow River write. “Huang Dongsheng, Deputy Secretary General of Henan Provincial Government, said at the event.