China Information

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Zhangye



Zhangye, a medium-size town about 450km northwest of Lanzhou and 150km southeast of Jiayuguan, has always been an important stopover for caravans and travelers on the Silk Road. Indeed, Marco Polo spent a whole year here. Today it's still worthwhile visiting, especially if you have time to visit the Buddhist Mati Temple, 60km south of the town.

During the Ming Dynasty, Zhangye was an important garrison town for soldiers guarding the Great Wall, and today the road from Wuwei to Zhangye is still a good place for seeing the Great Wall. Although Zhangye is not an attractive town, there are a number of places to visit all of which will cost you a day. The central town has its mark, as in many Chinese towns, a drum tower at a crossroad. The tower, built in 1507, has two floors and a massive bronze bell. The four streets radiating out from here, North Street, South Street, East Street and West Street, are named after their respective compass points, and most sights are in the southwest of the town near the Zhangye Hotel.

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