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Lijiang City

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Lijiang City

This article is about the Yunnan city. For other uses, see Lijiang (disambiguation).
Prefecture-level city

Location of Lijiang City jurisdiction in Yunnan
Location in China

Coordinates: 26°53′N 100°14′E / 26.883°N 100.233°E / 26.883; 100.233

Country People's Republic of China
Province Yunnan
Admin HQ Gucheng
 • Prefecture-level city 21,219 km2 (8,193 sq mi)
 • Urban 1,127 km2 (435 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,127 km2 (435 sq mi)
Elevation 2,400 m (7,900 ft)
Population (2010 census)
 • Prefecture-level city 1,244,769
 • Density 59/km2 (150/sq mi)
 • Urban 155,540
 • Urban density 140/km2 (360/sq mi)
 • Metro 155,540
 • Metro density 140/km2 (360/sq mi)
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 674100
Area code(s) 0888
Licence plate prefixes P

Lìjiāng (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ) is a prefecture-level city in the northwest of Yunnan province, People's Republic of China. It has an area of 21,219 square kilometres (8,193 sq mi) and a population of 1,244,769 as of 2010 census.


Lijiang City replaced the former administrative region of Lijiang Prefecture. It was under the rule of the Mu family (木氏) local commanders (土司) during the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty.[1]

The Baisha Old Town was the political, commercial and cultural center for the local Naxi people and other ethnic groups for 400 years from the year 658 AD to 1107 AD. The Dabaoji Palace of the Baisha Fresco, very close to the Baisha Naxi Hand-made Embroidery Institute, was built in the year 658 AD in the Tang Dynasty (618 AD to 960 AD).

In ancient times, the Baisha Old Town used to be the center of silk embroidery in the southwest of China and the most important place of the Ancient Southern Silk Road, also called the Ancient Tea and Horse Road or Ancient tea route.[2] The Ancient Southern Silk Road started from Burma, crossed Lijiang, Shangri-La County, Tibet, journeyed through Iran, the Fertile Crescent, and ultimately to the Mediterranean Sea.

Naxi women were well known for their hand-made embroidery before 1972 during the Great Cultural Revolution. The most famous Naxi masters were arrested and put in jail, some of them died in jail during the Cultural Revolution because they did hand-made embroidery only for the Naxi Emperors when they were young.

Administrative divisions

The government of Lijiang City sits in Gucheng District.

Lijiang City comprises one district and four counties:

# Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Population (2003 est.) Area (km²) Density (/km²)
1 Gucheng District 古城区 Gǔchéng Qū 140,000 1,127 124
2 Yongsheng County 永胜县 Yǒngshèng Xiàn 380,000 5,099 75
3 Huaping County 华坪县 Huápíng Xiàn 150,000 2,266 66
4 Yulong Nakhi Autonomous County 玉龙纳西族自治县 Yùlóng Nàxīzú Zìzhìxiàn 210,000 6,521 32
5 Ninglang Yi Autonomous County 宁蒗彝族自治县 Nínglàng Yízú Zìzhìxiàn 240,000 6,206 39


Lijiang is located in the northwestern portion of Yunnan and borders Sichuan. It is in a region where the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau converge.

Owing to its low latitude and high elevation, the city centre of Lijiang experiences a mild subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb). Winters are mild and very dry and sunny (>70% possible sunshine), although average lows in December and January are just below the freezing mark; January, the coolest month, has a 24-hour average temperature of 6.0 °C (42.8 °F). Spring begins early and remains dry and sunny until late May, when there is a dramatic uptick in frequency and amount of rainfall that lasts until late September. Summers are warm, rainy (more so than it is sunny) and damp, with June, the warmest month, averaging 18.4 °C (65.1 °F). Autumn sees an abrupt reduction in rainfall and return to sunniness. The annual mean temperature is 12.70 °C (54.9 °F), while precipitation averages 968 mm (38.1 in), around 80% of which occurs from June to September; there are 2,463 hours of bright sunshine annually.

Climate data for Lijiang, Yunnan (1971−2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.5
Average low °C (°F) −0.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 2.3
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1.9 3.9 6.6 7.9 11.7 20.3 24.2 22.3 20.8 11.5 4.3 1.5 136.9
 % humidity 46 46 49 54 59 73 81 83 83 73 62 53 63.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 259.9 229.7 248.4 233.4 225.1 156.7 134.2 155.0 138.8 195.2 226.6 260.3 2,463.3
Percent possible sunshine 79 73 67 61 54 38 32 38 38 55 70 80 56
Source: China Meteorological Administration


  • Lijiang Airport (LJG); Lijiang Airport is located in the south of Lijiang city, 28 km (17 mi) away from downtown. There is an airport shuttle bus service in downtown Lijiang. The airport was opened in July 1995 and has flights to Kunming, Chengdu, Xishuangbanna, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Xiamen via Chongqing and Guiyang. It also offers chartered airplane service. There are flights from Kunming to Lijiang every day and is about 30 minutes flight time.
  • There is a train service to Kunming with one overnight and two day trains, and one day train to Dali.

Old Town

The world famous Old Town of Lijiang is located in Lijiang City. It is a UNESCO Heritage Site.

The town has a history going back more than 800 years and was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road. The Lijiang old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges. The old town of Lijiang differs from other ancient Chinese cities in architecture, history and the culture of its traditional residents the Nakhi people, therefore people there are called 胖金哥 and 胖金妹 (pàng jīn gē, pàng jīn mèi, male and female respectively). The town was ruled by the Mu Family during the portions of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, a period of nearly 500 years.

Overlooking Lijiang Old Town is Lion Hill and at its summit is the Wangu Pavilion, which is a wooden building that stands 33 m (108 ft) tall and boasts 10,000 dragon carvings. The pavilion is constructed on 16 columns each of 22 m (72 ft) in height. The pavilion is a masterpiece of Qing Dynasty architecture that has been extensively restored following the designation of Lijiang Old Town as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

From Lion's Hill it is possible to view the entire Li River valley, including both the old city and new city of Lijiang. Looking Northwest, the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is dominates the horizon.

The Old Town is a maze of winding cobblestone streets. It is extremely easy to get lost as there is no grid, but each turn takes one to some new interesting spot, and it's not hard to eventually find one's way out of the maze and back to familiar territory. The layout of the town was established to conform to the flow of 3 streams in adherence to Feng Shui design, so there was water and waste disposal for the inhabitants. The Old Town has fast become a destination for young Chinese artists, students, and adventurers. Most recently, it has become a favored Spring Break destination for students. "Bar Street" is a line of clubs with live music, dancing, and revelry. The Old Town has a multitude of shops, some a bit tourist oriented, but several showcasing handcrafts, individual artists, and local manufacturers of interesting personal products.

There are dozens of restaurants, from snacks to high end dining, all very reasonably priced, cheap by Western standards.

Accommodations are varied, but the most interesting are the large number of boutique hotels run by individuals and families. These boutique hotels are in old traditional houses converted to rooms, courtyards, and gathering places, and designs all trend to traditional Chinese sensibilities. There are new high end hotel and condominium developments starting construction from 2011 forward, so there is a definite push to make the destination one for all tastes and not just young adventurers.


Some tens of miles north of Lijiang is the Baishui Terrace (白水台 Baishuitai, literally "White Water Terrace") is an area where spring water flows over a sinter terrace, leaving behind travertine. Lijiang is also close to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (玉龙雪山).

A few miles north of Lijiang is the village of Baisha, famous for the Baisha Fresco and the Naxi Hand-made Embroidery Institute.The Fresco was made in the Ming Dynasty 600 years ago, the Naxi Hand-made Embroidery Institute was built 800 years ago, it is the head quarter of the Naxi embroideries and also, it is like a school for the Naxi embroiderers. There are many Naxi embroidery masters, teachers, students and local farmers there. They are very nice and friendly, meanwhile, many gorgeous and incredible embroidery arts can be found there. It is a very special place.

Sister Cities

See also


External links

  • Lijiang City Official website

Coordinates: 26°53′N 100°14′E / 26.883°N 100.233°E / 26.883; 100.233

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