Gansu is an important province in northwest China. Being abbreviated as ''Gan'' or ''Long'', it is situated as geographical center, on the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River and the Yangtze River, and at the juncture of the Loess Plateau, Inner Mongolia Plateau and the Qinghai Tibet Plateau. It faces Shaanxi Province in the east, boards Sichuan and Qinghai provinces on the south and southwest, and adjoins Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the northwest. It is bounded on the north by Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the People's Republic of Mongolia and joined by Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in the northeast. Being located between 92.13 and 108.46 degrees east and 32.31 and 42.57 degrees north, Gansu is about 1,520 kilometers long from east to west, 1,655 kilometers in its widest place and only 25 kilometers in the narrowest place.
The landforms in Gansu are complicated and varied. High mountains and deep valleys aloft on its southeastern part with peaks rising one higher than another. Covered by loess, a loess topography has formed in its eastern part. Hexi Corridor, the western fringe of the province has smooth terrain, oasis, dessert and Gobi desert. With cold climate and modern glacier, the terrain is highly situated in the southwestern part of the province.The highest peak of the province is Tuanjie Peak of Qilian Mountain with an altitude of 5,808 meters above sea level and its lowest point is the bottom of Bailongjiang River valley in the eastern part of Wenxian county with an altitude of only 550 meters above sea level. There are 450 rivers in Gansu, among which 78 rivers have a yearly runoff of over 100 million cubic meters each..
Gansu has a dry climate with plenty of sunshine, strong radiation and the temperature varies greatly from day to night. The annual average temperature is between 0 to 14 degrees Celsius dropping from the southeast to the northwest. It is 4 to 9 degrees Celsius in Hexi Corridor, 0 to 6 degrees in Qilian mountainous area, 5 to 9 degrees Celsius and 7 to 10 degrees Celsius in Longzhong and Longdong respectively. Its annual rainfall is about 300millimeters and differs greatly in different parts.
Gansu Population and Nationalities
Gansu has been a multi-ethnic province since ancient times. 54 nationalities have inhabited here. Among its total population of 26.0334 million, the minority population takes up 2.199 million. Hui nationality is the largest in all the minority nationalities with a population of 1.185 million. Ten ethnic groups of Hui. Tibet, Dongxiang, Tu, Yugu, Baoan, Mongolia, Sala, Hazak and Manchu have inhabited in Gansu for generations. Yugu, Dongxiang and Baoan are unique nationalities.
Its industrial structure has become rational day-by-day and the economic benefits have been raised continuously
Gansu is one of the birthplaces of the Chinese nation and ancient Chinese civilization. In history, the world famous Silk Road traverses the whole province, thus made the province the earliest place opening to the outside world for economic and cultural exchanges between the east and the west as well as exchanges between different nationalities.
What to see
Gansu has a developed tourist industry. The world-famous ancient Silk Road once passed through the province and left a great number of historic relics. The national major scenic areas include Mt.Maiji,Mt.Kongdong, Mingsha Hill-Yueya (crescent) Spring, and Jiayuguan Pass, etc. Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang were listed in the World Heritages in 1987 by UNESCO.Other Historic sites, such as Binglingsi Grottoes, Yulin Grottoes, Shuiliandong Grottoes, Labrang Temple. Haizang Temple etc, are all well-known to tourists.
Bailan melon, Chinese angelica, black melon-seeds and lily,etc, are all famous local products. The traditional handicraft articles, such as jade carving, are well-received by the vistiors.