Gansu (甘肃) is located in Northwest China (西北). Its capital city is Lanzhou (兰州). Gansu's name was taken from the names of its two ancient cities, Ganzhou (甘州) (today's Zhangye, 张掖) and Suzhou (肃州) (today's Jiuquan, 酒泉). The southwestern part of Gansu, called Gannan grassland, is cold and humid. The northern part of Gansu province is covered by Alxa Plateau (阿拉善高原) where Badain Jaran Desert (巴丹吉林沙漠) is located.
Gansu is a compound name first used in Song Dynasty China, of two Sui and Tang Dynasty prefectures (州): Gan (around Zhangyi) and Su (around Jiuquan).
In prehistoric times, Gansu was host to a number of Neolithic cultures. The Dadiwan culture, from where numerous archaeologically significant artifacts have been excavated, flourished in the eastern end of Gansu from about 6000 BC to about 3000 BC . The Majiayao culture (馬家窯文化) and part of the Qijia culture (齊家文化) also took root in Gansu from 3100 BC to 2700 BC and 2400 BC to 1900 BC respectively.
The Qin state (秦), later to become the founding state of the Chinese empire, grew out from the southeastern part of Gansu, specifically the Tianshui (天水) area. The Qin name itself is believed to have originated, in part, from the area . Qin tombs and artifacts have been excavated from Fangmatan near Tianshui, including one 2200 year old map of Guixian county .
In imperial times, Gansu was an important strategic outpost and communications link for the Chinese empire, as the Hexi corridor (河西走廊) runs along the "neck" of the province. The Han dynasty extended the Great Wall across this corridor, also building the strategic Yumenguan (Jade Gate Pass, near Dunhuang) and Yangguan (阳关) fort towns along it. Remains of the wall and the towns can be found there to this date. The Ming dynasty also built the Jiayuguan outpost in Gansu. To the west of Yumenguan and the Qilian Mountains, at the northwestern end of the province, the Yuezhi, Wusun, and other nomadic tribes dwelt (Shiji 123), occasionally figuring in regional imperial Chinese geopolitics.
After the fall of the Uyghur Empire, a Uyghur state was established in Gansu that lasted from 848 to 1036 AD. During that time, many of Gansu's residents converted to Islam.
Situated along the Silk Road, Gansu was an economically important province, and a cultural transmission path as well. Temples and Buddhist grottoes  such as those at Mogao Caves ('Caves of the Thousand Buddhas') and Maijishan Caves contain artistically and historically revealing murals. An early form of paper inscribed with Chinese characters and dating to about 8 BC was discovered at the site of a Western Han garrison near the Yumen pass in August 2006 .
The province was also the origin of the Muslim Rebellion of 1862-77, which later spread to much of China and resulted in the deaths of upwards of twelve million Chinese Muslims in addition to the decimation of Chinese Muslim culture in Yunnan province, where over one million Muslims were killed by Qing forces.
Its frequent earthquakes, droughts and famines have tended to slow its economic progress, until recently when based on its abundant mineral resources it has begun developing into a vital industrial center. An earthquake in Gansu at 8.6 on the Richter scale killed around 180,000 people in 1920, and another with a magnitude of 7.6 killed 70,000 in 1932.
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|Gansu's name was taken from the names of its two ancient cities, Ganzhou (甘州) (today's Zhangye, 张掖) and Suzhou (肃州) (today's Jiuquan, 酒泉).|
Gansu province has an area of 454,000 km², and the majority of its land is more than 1 km above sea level. It lies between the Tibetan Plateau, Inner Mongolia, and the Loess Plateau, and borders Mongolia to the north-west. The Yellow River passes through the southern part of the province. The province contains the geographical center of China, marked by the Center of the County Monument at [show location on an interactive map] 35°50′40.9″N 103°27′7.5″E / 35.844694°N 103.452083°E / 35.844694; 103.452083 (Geographical centre of China) .
Part of the Gobi Desert is located in Gansu, as well as small parts of the Badain Jaran Desert and Tengger Desert.
The Yellow River gets most of its water from Gansu province. The Yellow River also flows straight through Lanzhou. Area around Wuwei is part of Shiyang River Basin.
The landscape in Gansu is very mountainous in the south and flat in the north. The mountains in the south are part of the Qilian mountain range. At 5,547 meters high, Qilian Shan Mountain is Gansu’s highest elevation. It is located at latitude 39°N and longitude 99°E.
A natural land passage known as Hexi Corridor, stretching some 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from Lanzhou to the Jade Gate, is situated within Gansu province. It is bound from north by the Gobi Desert and Qilian Mountains from the south.
Gansu has a generally semi-arid to arid, continental climate, with warm summers and very cold winters. Most of the precipitation is concentrated in the summer months.
|• Baiyin (白银)||• Dingxi (定西)||• Dunhuang (敦煌)||• Gan'nan (甘南)|
|• Jiayuguan (嘉峪关)||• Jinchang (金昌)||• Jiuquan (酒泉)||• Lanzhou (兰州)|
|• Linxia (临夏)||• Longnan (陇南)||• Pingliang (平凉)||• Qingyang (庆阳)|
|• Tianshui (天水)||• Wuwei (武威)||• Zhangye (张掖)|
 Other Places
- Mogao Grottoes (莫高窟). The largest and most well-preserved treasure houses of stone inscriptions along the ancient Silk Road.
- Jiayuguan Pass (嘉峪关). Known by the name the "First and Greatest Pass Under Heaven" (天下第一雄关), is the first pass at the west end of The Great Wall.
- Labrang Monastery (拉卜楞寺). Home to the largest number of monks outside of Tibet (西藏).
- Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves (炳灵寺千佛像石窟). Featuring Han Buddhism sculptures.
Most of the inhabitants of Gansu speak dialects of Northern Mandarin Chinese. On the border areas of Gansu you may hear Tu, Amdo Tibetan, Mongolian, and Kazakh. Most of the minorities also speak Chinese.
The food in Gansu is quite unique compared to that of central China, having been influenced by ethnic groups - especially the Hui people. Besides the beef noodles, there are local delicacies that cannot be tasted in other places, as well as Sichuan cuisines, hotpot, and western food.
Lanzhou dishes are representative of Gansu cuisine which features the roasting, steaming, and braising of beef and mutton. Lanzhou people enjoy many tastes including salty, fresh, tart, and spicy. Gansu cuisine can be sampled at various hotels in Lanzhou. Typical dishes include Jincheng Baita, Jincheng Babao Melon Carving, Baihe Tao, and albino leeks with chicken and roasted pork.
Baihe (Lily) Tao (Peach) is so named because the dish is shaped like peaches. The washed fresh lily - a specialty of Lanzhou - is steamed for about 15 minutes. The lily is then stuffed with sweetened bean paste so that it looks like a peach. The 'peach' is braised in a bamboo steamer for about twenty minutes and then served with a white sugar sauce.
Jincheng Babao (eight treasures) Melon Carving is a traditional food of Lanzhou. The carved melon peel is used as a bowl to hold white fungus, pineapple, cherry, longan, waxberry, and other delicacies. The carving is exquisite and the food is fresh and sweet. This dish will satisfy not only your palate but also your eye. Silk Road Camel Hoof is a nutritious dish since the whole hoof is made up of tendon, which is very tasty.
Quick Fried Camel Hump, a dainty dish, has a history of 1,500 years.
Lanzhou Roasted Pork is heated over charcoal and served with spring pies or sesame pies.
 Lanzhou specialty-dishes
Tourists should try them in the Chinese restaurants of the classic hotels because of their professional cooking style.
As many Hui people live in Lanzhou, barbequed mutton, boiled mutton, and lamb with wide vermicelli are local delicacies among the various ethnic groups.
Do not forget pie with preserved ham, casserole, and fried field snails, which are good choices for you to enjoy either alone or with friends.
Fried Sheep Tail is actually made up of egg, bean paste, and starch. It is crispy with a golden top.
Tea drinking has long been a custom among the locals in Lanzhou, and Sanpaotai is the most famous tea drink. Sanpaotai is made up of spring tea, longan, date, apricot, preserved fruits, wolfberry, walnut, sesame, dried raisins, etc. The tea is put into a unique tea bowl with a cover. The first time you taste it, you will enjoy the fragrance of the tea, the second time, the sweetness of the sugar, and on the third occasion you will notice the sweet taste of longan. It is not uncommon to linger over a bowl of tea for 5 to 6 hours.
Hui Dou Zi (Gray Bean) and Tian Pei Zi (Sweet Wine) are not seen in other parts of China except in Lanzhou. Boiled red bean and steamed barley are mixed with sweet wine for fermentation. This sweet, nutritious drink is good to have in hot weather.
Steamed Lily is worth trying since the lily is one of the specialties of Lanzhou. Lily served with honeydew is refreshing and sweet.
As for fresh fruits, Bailan melon is the most widely known. Travelers should try this mellow and sweet fruit at least once. Peaches, Yellow River honeydew melons, and dongguo pears are all popular as well.
Most of the popular beef noodles restaurants in Lanzhou are crowded every day, and you may have to stand in line for the noodles. Only 20 Yuan will satisfy your hunger in such restaurants. Ma Zilu Beef Noodles Restaurant is usually closed at 14:00. So we suggest that take beef noodles as lunch.
Jinding Beef Noodles Restaurant: Pingliang Lu
Ma Zilu Beef Noodles Restaurant: Dazhong Xiang, Zhangye Lu (near the provincial government)
 Dunhuang special dishes
It is a kind of Lamian (dough stretched to form fine noodles). Yellow Noodles look like golden threads, tastes delicious and have a soft texture. They can be added to soups, or mixed with cooked vegetable dishes, and being savoury, makes a good appetitive. From the vivid painting in the Mogao Caves, we may know Lamian is a traditional food with long history.
Niang Pi Zi
It is a kind of traditional popular fast food that is both a little spicy and vinegary. Mix flour and water together into a bowl, then ladle the mixture onto an iron plate, after steaming one minute, the mixture become a wafer thin cake. Cut the cake into strips, leave until cool and flavor with mustard, garlic, capsicum, sauce and vinegar. It is similar to the tasteful Liang Pi of Xian.
Apricot Peel Water
It is a popular drink in Dunhuang City, with a sweet and sour taste like syrup of Plum. It is the cooled boiling water of dry apricot, which is very refreshing, especially for tourists.
Shazhou Night Market on Yangguan East Road is the best place to try these local flavors, such as lamb shashliks and Lanzhou (the capital city of Gansu Province) Lamian (a kind of noodles).
 Ethnic Groups
Gansu province is home to 26,033,400 people. Most of the population, 73%, is still rural. Gansu is 92% Han and also has Hui, Tibetan, Dongxiang, Tu, Manchu, Uyghur, Yugur, Bonan, Mongolian, Salar, and Kazakh minorities. Prior to the Panthay Rebellion (also Muslim Rebellion), Gansu province had a large community of Chinese Hui Muslims, which was almost completely decimated by Qing authorities.
 Colleges and Universities
- Lanzhou University (Lanzhou)
- Gansu Agricultural University
- Northwest Minority University
- Lanzhou Jiaotong University
- Lanzhou University of Technology
- Northwest University of Nationalities
- Lanzhou Railway Institute
- Gansu University of Technology
- Northwest Normal University
- Lanzhou Commercial College
- Lanzhou Polytechnic College
- Tianshui Normal College (Tianshui)
 Area and Postal Codes
|City||Area Code||Postal Code||City||Area Code||Postal Code|
|Baiyin (白银)||943||730900||Dingxi (定西)||932||743000|
|Dunhuang (敦煌)||937||736200||Gan'nan (甘南)||941||747000|
|Jiayuguan (嘉峪关)||937||735100||Jinchang (金昌)||935||737100|
|Jiuquan (酒泉)||937||735000||Lanzhou (兰州)||931||730000|
|Linxia (临夏)||930||731100||Longnan (陇南)||935||742500|
|Pingliang (平凉)||933||744000||Qingyang (庆阳)||934||745000|
|Tianshui (天水)||938||741000||Wuwei (武威)||935||733000|