▲Meili Snow Mountain, Diqing 梅里雪山·迪庆
▲Rape Fields, Qujing 油菜地·曲靖
Yunnan Province finds itself in Southwest China, on the southeastern extension of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The tropic of cancer traverses the southern Yunnan. With the maximum width of 864.9 kilometers and the maximum length of 990 kilometers, the area of Yunnan Province amounts to 394,000 square kilometers, claiming 4.1% of the total territory of China.
▲Baishui Flat, Diqing 白水台·迪庆
Yunnan is located in a low latitude plateau in the center of Southeast Asia. To the north, it has Asian Landmass as the background and to the south, it is close to the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. Thus, it is co-dominated by the southeastern, the southwestern monsoons, and by the Tibetan Plateau. Therefore, Yunnan has a highly diversified environment and ecological systems. In terms of climate, it has the features of the low latitude, monsoon, and mountainous highland. It has 7 climate types, including the north tropics, the south sub-tropics, the mid sub-tropics, the north sub-tropics, the south temperate zone, the mid temperate zone and the high land climate zone.
▲Red Soil, Kunming 红土地·昆明
Yunnan is endowed with rich natural resources and enjoys the honor of Botany Kingdom, Zoology Kingdom, Kingdom of Nonferrous Metals, Hometown of Herbal Medicine, and Hometown of Flowers. The terrestrial eco-system of Yunnan nearly encompasses all the ecological types on the earth. It has 17,000 higher plant species, amounts to 62.9% of the total in China. Its 1,737 vertebrate animals, constitute 58.9% of the total in China. All this makes Yunnan a rare biological gene pool.
Yunnan is the province which have the most species of plants in China. Of China’s 30000 species of higher plants，Yunnan claims more than 60% of the total respectively. Of China’s 200 species of wild animals as the national pivot targets for special protection, Yunnan claims 59.4% of the total. Among them, 23 species are unique to Yunnan. Of the 151 rare and endangered plant species for national protection in CHina, Yunnan claims 42.6%.
▲Erhai Lake, Dali 洱海·大理
In terms of land, Yunnan has 84% of mountains, 10% of highland & hillocks, 6% of basins and river valleys. The altitude difference in the Province is great. The highest point is 6,740 meters above the sea level, while the lowest point is only 76.4 meters. The general topography is descending with 3 echelons from the northwest to the southeast. The first terrace is the northwestern highland. The second is the central mountains. The third is the hills, basins and valleys on the south, southeast and the southwest slopes. While in average, each kilometer descends about 6 meters, every terrace has its own drastic internal complexities.
▲Cangshan Mountain, Dali 苍山·大理
▲Village in canyon, Diqing 峡谷村落·迪庆
More than 600 rivers, big and small, run freely in Yunnan. They belong to 6 major water systems respectively: the Jinsha River-Yangtze River, the Nanpan River-Pearl River, the Yuan River-Red River, the Lantsang River-Mekong River, the Nu River-Salween River, the Dulong River, Daying River and Ruili River-Irrawaddy River. They separately infuse into 3 seas (the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and the Andaman Sea) and 3 bays (the Gulf of Tokin, the Moktama Kwe and the Bay of Bengal), belonging to the Pacific and the Indian Oceans.
▲The first bend of Yangtze River, Lijiang 长江第一湾·丽江
The landscape of parallel 3 rivers finds its location in the Valleys of the Hengduan Mountain as an Southward extension of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The Nu, the Lantsang and the Upper Yangtze are pressed into a narrow stripe of 4 mountain ridges. The area of this breathtaking landscape is the pivot of the East Asia, the South Asia & the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, occupying 41,000 square kilometers. As an typical area of high mountain landform and its evolution, it is not only an area with most abundant bio-species, but also the home of unusually diversified ethnic groups, languages, religious beliefs and social customs. For this reason, it entered the UNESCO List of the World Legacies in 2003.
▲Ruili River, Dehong 瑞丽江·德宏
▲A fishing village beside Erhai Lake, Dali 洱海渔村·大理
Yunnan is one of the provinces which have the most plateau lakes. More than 40 of its lakes are over 1 square kilometers. The total lake surface of Yunnan amounts to about 1,066 square kilometers. The total catchment area is 9,000 square kilometers and the total water storage is 30 billion cubic meters. The most famous of them include the Dianchi, the Fuxian, the Erhai and the Yilong, etc. Among them, the Dianchi is the largest in Yunnan and the Fuxian is the second deepest fresh water lake in China.
Early in the prehistoric time, Yunnan was the home of 3 major ethnic groups as the forebears of the peoples in Yunnan: the Qiang, the Pu and the Yue. In the time of Qin and Han Dynasties, they were generally called the Southwestern Foreigner. Through the following nearly 1,500 years of migration, differentiation, evolution and convergence, their framework of distribution and characteristics took shape and became stabilized.
▲A performance of Yi people, Kunming 彝族歌舞表演·昆明
The Bronze Age of Yunnan started in 12th Century B.C. and ended in 1st Century A.D., roughly correspondent with the Late Shang to the Late Han Dynasties. Up to now, cultural relics of the Bronze Age have been found in more than 300 sites in over 100 counties in Yunnan Province. Over 40 of them are clusters of tombs. About 15,000 pieces of bronze wares have been excavated in near 2,000 excavated tombs. The Bronze Culture of Yunnan forms a striking contrast with its counterpart from the Central China, a strong indicator that the owners of Yunnan Bronze Cultures were local ethnic minorities in stead of the Han.
As an essential component of the Yunnan Bronze Culture, Bronze Drum has been regarded as the symbol of wealth and power. It is still alive in the local ethnic minority customs, such groups as the Zhuang, Yi, Wa, Miao and Yao.
▲Miao people’s dance, Zhaotong 苗族芦笙舞·昭通
From the ancient time, Yunnan has been a major window and door open to the Southeast and South Asia. The borderline in Yunnan is as long as 4,061 kilometers, or 1/5 of the total borderline of China on land. Yunnan has 12 first class and 8 second class national border ports, open directly to Myanma, Viet Nam and Laos. The Lantsang-Mekong water way connects Yunnan with Thailand and Cambodia. Yunnan is also close to Malaysia, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, etc. In short, Yunnan is a province of China with the longest borderline that borders with most neighboring countries.
Over 2,000 years ago, Yunnan has become a major outlet of China for carrying out friendly communication and commercial trade. An ancient caravan route from early time has connected Yunnan and Sichuan with Myanma, India and further to Western Countries. During the WWII, the famous Stilwell High Way and the Hump Flight Course were opened in Yunnan, which contributed enormously to the victory of the anti-fascists war.
▲Water-splashing Day of Dai people, Xishuangbanna傣族泼水节·西双版纳
As a multi-ethnic Province, Yunnan by all means is a miniature of China as a big multi-ethnic family. It has all the ethnic elements of China. Among them, 26 are native groups, each has a population more than 5,000. Moreover, 15 of them are unique to Yunnan. The ethnic minority population in Yunnan is 14.7 million, constituting 1/3 of 44 million as the total Provincial population. In terms of administration, Yunnan has 8 ethnic autonomous prefectures, and 29 ethnic autonomous counties. The ethnic autonomous regions are as many as 78, amounting to 60.47% of 129 counties and cities in Yunnan. In terms of territory, the ethnic autonomous area claims 70.2% of the total and in terms of population, over 48% are in the autonomous area. Besides, Yunnan once had also 197 ethnic townships.
In the long history, ethnic groups in Yunnan have developed a great variety of colorful cultures with rich ethnic contents and have made substantial contribution to the Chinese culture and world civilization. Today, diversified ethnic cultures are developing harmoniously in Yunnan.Various ethnic languages, scripts, religions, architectures, customs, rituals, songs, dances, sports, clothes and medicines, together with the long lists of the natural, cultural legacies of the world and intangible cultural legacies of China, all achieve celebrity from home and abroad.