"If you have time for but one
  province in China, Yunnan should
  be it.
"
           
- Lonely Planet
 

 

Volunteer in Kunming, Yunnan,
a city with year-round Spring weather. Trips to 26 cultures &
5 nearby countries.

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Lufeng


Though it is not as famous as many other tourist cities or towns, Lufeng’s unique resources of ancient extinct plant and animal heritages and historical relics make Lufeng a unique and worthwhile place for traveling and exploration.  Dinosaur fossils unearthed here, many millions of years old, are boasted to be the largest in quantity, with the most varieties, the most dense distribution, and are the best preserved in China. The fossil of the Lama Ancient Ape excavated here has been regarded by scientists to be a good example of the evolution of mankind. Hence Lufeng has been listed as one of China's National Geological Parks. The Black Well Old Town has been praised to be a “Salt Capital with Thousands of Years”, which with its well-preserved old residential architectures and many other famous historical sites is listed as one of China's National Famous Historical & Cultural Towns. Different ethnic groups here make up diverse cultures. Various festivals from different groups of people, the Dinosaur Culture Festival, Yi people's Valentine's Day, the Torch Festival of Yi people, and the Flower Mountain Festival of Miao people, bring out the most authentic aspects of each culture. The Yi people's Torch Festival celebrated in Gaofeng village with the most primitive, the oldest, the most systematic and most complete traditional sacrificing ceremony, has been praised as the most authentic Torch Festival of the Yi people.

Lufeng County is about 100 KM (62 miles) west of Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province. It can be reached by buses from Kunming or Chuxiong. 

The Dinosaur Fossils
Lufeng is nicknamed the Home Town to Dinosaurs. Back in 1938, Bian Meinian, one of China's famous geologists, and Yang Zhongjian, one of China's renowned paleontologists, discovered whole clusters of rare dinosaur fossils as well as other fossils of extinct plants and animals from ancient times. They are named “Lufeng reptiles and dinosaur clusters”. In the same year the complete skeleton of a dinosaur was unearthed. Ever since then, the Lufeng dinosaur became famous. There are dozens of other dinosaur fossils which were excavated in the following years. It is found that the distribution of dinosaur fossils extended for 10 sq.km (6. 2 sq.miles), with Lufeng being at the center. It is believed that dinosaurs found here are the best vertebrate fossils that are the most primitive, the oldest, with the most varieties and in their most complete form. China's first assembled dinosaur for study purposes was unearthed in Lufeng, and it has been dated to have more than 180 million years.

In the County is the dinosaur museum that showcases all sorts of unearthed dinosaur fossils in Lufeng. At the end of 2008, the newly constructed Jurassic Park was finished, adding a more scientific and trendy atmosphere to this ancient dusty place.

At the north side of Lufeng County, about 9 KM (5.6 miles), away is the site where the fossil of one of China's most ancient homo sapiens was discovered. In May 1975, archaeologists found a tooth fossil in a pile of coal deposits.  After that, more than 700 pieces of bone fossils were excavated. They were named Lama Ancient Homo Sapiens by archaeologists and anthropologists, believing that they lived about eight million years ago. In January 1988 the site of the coal deposit where the first tooth fossil was found was designated as a national key protection area, and the surrounding area of 20 acres (1.4 hectares) was walled. Within the protected area, an ancient ape statue monument was erected to mark this important archaeological discovery.

The Black Well Old Town

China's Ministry of Construction and the Bureau of Cultural Relics unveiled 34 National Famous Historical and Cultural Towns and 24 National Famous Cultural Villages. Hei Jin Town was found on this prestigious list, and became the only town in Yunnan that was listed. The Hei Jin town, or Black Well in English, is drawing favorable attention from all over in recent years because of its ancient and tranquil atmosphere.

People believe that this place can be traced back more than 4000 years. There is a legend which goes like this:  Once there was a Yi girl. Looking for her missing ox, she was led to the Black Well and found the spring water the ox was licking contained a large amount of salt. Hence the site was called the Black Ox Salt Well, and later on only Black Well for short. Ever since, the residents here made their living by producing salt. Throughout history, Black Well had always been one of the chief salt production centers in Yunnan province.

It was because of the salt that Hei Jin had become a well-known place. Its economics thrived; it became a trading hub luring people from different areas. Central mainland Chinese cultures and frontier ethnic cultures merged here. It became a cultural kaleidoscope representing diverse historical relics, ethnic cultures, architectural cultures, religious cultures, and cuisine which probably can be seen nowhere else.

 Now, the Black Well has long lost her glory of being the predominant salt provider of Yunnan province. However, there are streets and alleys that still maintain a touch of the Tang and Song dynasties. The residential architecture, stone inscriptions, carvings, towers, dolmens, performance stages, temples, and salt well are well preserved from the Ming and Qing dynasties three to four hundred years ago. The Grand Courtyard of the Wu Family especially represents the perfectly preserved typical architectures of the Ming and Qing dynasties. People are drawn here from all over China as well as around the world.

Unlike the Lijiang Ancient Town with bridges and streams scatted all over in an  orderly manner, the Black Well old town, which is less known, presents itself with an atmosphere of tranquility and slowness, bringing you back in history and escaping from this busy, bustling world.

Lufeng County is on the Long Chuan River 92 KM (57 miles) from Lufeng County proper in Chuxiang Yi Autonomous Prefecture, and 200 KM (124 miles) from Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan. With the Chengdu-Kunming railway and the LongChuan River passing through the town, it can be accessed easily.

 

 

 

Impact Abroad provides International Volunteering & Community Service Opportunities
to people in the western world to help children in Yunnan, China

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