“Seeing it once is better than being told 100 times…” - Zhou Chongguo'
Day 04: 25 May 2013
LANZHOU – DUN HUANG
|(Old painting of Lanzhou city)|
Lanzhou is the capital city of Northwest China's Gansu province with a large Muslim population. A prefecture-level city, it is a key regional transportation hub allowing areas further west to maintain railroad connections to the eastern half of the country.
|(The Xiguan Mosque - modern and strategic)|
|(A welcoming committee of Imams and scholars)|
After breakfast we visited the largest mosque in Lanzhou, the Xiguan Mosque which was recently renovated according to traditional Arabic style. The Mosque was first built in Wanli Period, Ming Dynasty. The existing constructions were rebuilt in 1990. It is a domical architecture of Arabic Islam style, solemn and forceful, which is one of the grandest mosques in China.
|(Praying behind a pillar)|
|(Photo shots around Xiguan Mosque)|
The mosque covers an area of 467 square meters. The prayer hall is a building combining the Chinese classical and Arabic architectural style. Every year, the mosque will receive hundreds of foreign Muslim scholars. When we arrived we were greeted with a warm welcome by the imam and the young scholars. After a brief orientation, we performed our prayers in the mosque.
|(The main prayer hall)|
|(Gentlemen group photo)|
After lunch the group visited the Nanguan Mosque. Again we were given a warm welcome by the imam and the community there. It was recorded that the Nanguan Mosque is one of the six most famous mosques in Lanzhou. It was first built in the Hongwu Period of Ming Dynasty.
|(The main entrance of Nanguan Mosque)|
|(Getting to know the muslim community)|
|(The intricate mimbar)|
|(An imam taking a rest after prayer)|
|(A large clock structure)|
|(A few of the many water wheels)|
Visits to Lanzhou also include a visit to Water Wheels Park which stretches about 50 km along the Yellow River which runs across Lanzhou city. In the park, two huge waterwheels with striking appearances stand uprightly on the bank of the Yellow River. They are modeled on the antique waterwheel, having quadrate buckets and a diameter of 16.5 meters. In high water periods, they are driven by flowing water from the river; in low water periods, they are driven by water gathered by cofferdam.
|(Two huge water wheels)|
|(Two tired cowboys taking a short rest)|
Because of the the two waterwheels and an advantaged position, the Waterwheel Tea House attracts a lot of tourists. Tourists can experience crossing the river on a sheepskin raft, which is the most primeval ferrying tool in the northwest region of the Yellow River. A visit to the Waterwheel Garden will provide an insight into the irrigation tools of ancient times.
We had a very early dinner as we need to rush to Lanzhou Train Station to catch the 17.55 train to Dun Huang.
|(My train ticket)|
|(Scenes in the train)|
The overnight train has 6 berths per cabin and complete with toilets facilities at the end of each coach. The train journey took us almost 14 hours across barren desserts and Wind Farms.
|(Wind farm in the desert).|