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Guazhou (瓜州, Guāzhōu) is a county in the western part of Gansu Province. It is on one of the main routes of the historic Silk Road.


Guazhou is under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Jiuquan. The county seat and largest town is the town of Yuanquan (渊泉)

One of Guazhou's historical sites, namely the Suoyang City Ruins, has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as part of "Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor". The Yulin Caves, another major Silk Road site in Guazhou, is on UNESCO's tentative list.

Get in[edit]

Since the Suoyang City Ruins and the Yulin Caves are both situated in remote areas, many travellers choose to visit the county as part of an organized tour from Dunhuang.

By plane[edit]

The nearest airport is Dunhuang Airport in Dunhuang.

By train[edit]

  • 1 Guazhou Railway Station (瓜州站), Guazhou Avenue, Yuanquan Town (渊泉镇瓜州大道) (bus no. 1), +86 937 5949422. Serves both regular-speed and high-speed trains.
  • 2 Liuyuan Railway Station (柳园站), Middle Section, Dongda Street, Liuyuan Town (柳园镇东大街中段). Serves regular-speed trains only.
  • 3 Liuyuan South Railway Station (柳园南站), Liuyuan Town (柳园镇). Serves high-speed trains only.

Guazhou Railway Station in Guazhou's county seat is the main railway station in Guazhou, but if you're taking a train from Xinjiang, you'll need to get off at either Liuyuan Railway Station or Liuyuan South Railway Station.

By bus[edit]

  • 4 Guazhou Bus Station (瓜州汽车站), 210 Guazhou Avenue, Yuanquan Town (渊泉镇瓜州大道210号) (bus no. 1), +86 937 5522875.
  • 5 Liuyuan Bus Station (柳园汽车站), 7 Nanguan Road, Liuyuan Town (柳园镇南关路7号), +86 937 5572681.

Get around[edit]

A public bus service operates in Yuanquan. There are also buses running between Yuanquan and other towns in Guazhou.

In 2020, a special tourist bus began conveying passengers to some of Guazhou's popular attractions. The bus departs daily at 09:30 from Guazhou Bus Station. The fare is ¥100. Stops include the Son of the Earth sculpture, the Yulin River Reservoir, the Yulin Grottoes, the Suoyang City Ruins and the Ta'er Temple.


Yuanquan Town[edit]

  • 1 Guazhou County Museum (瓜州县博物馆), 52 Xianfu Street, Yuanquan Town (渊泉镇县府街52号), +86 937 5522057. A small museum about the history and culture of Guazhou County. Free.
  • 2 Memorial to the Red Western Route Army and the Battle of Anxi (红西路军安西战役纪念馆), Gongyuan Street, Yuanquan Town (渊泉镇公园街). Commemorates the Battle of Anxi, a battle that took place in Guazhou in 1937 during the Long March, part of the Chinese Civil War.
  • 3 Museum of Xuanzang's Pilgrimage (玄奘取经博物馆), Yuanquan Street, Yuanquan Town (渊泉镇渊泉街). 09:00-16:00. A museum about Xuanzang, a celebrated Buddhist monk from Henan Province who went on a pilgrimage to India in the 7th century and brought back many sacred Buddhist scriptures, which he translated into Chinese, winning the admiration of Emperor Taizong. Xuanzang's journey to India was the main inspiration for Journey to the West, a famous Ming Dynasty novel.
  • 4 Zhang Zhi Park (张芝公园), 45 Yuanquan Street, Yuanquan Town (渊泉镇渊泉街45号). 08:30-12:00, 14:30-18:00. The park is officially known as the Cultural Production Park of the Cursive Calligraphy Master's Hometown (草圣故里文化产业园景区) but colloqiually known as Zhang Zhi Park. It is dedicated to Zhang Zhi, a second-century calligrapher who is famous for perfecting the cursive style of Chinese calligraphy. There is a museum about Zhang Zhi in the middle of the park. Free.

Other areas[edit]

  • 5 Son of the Earth (大地之子) (best reached by car or tourist bus). A 15-meter long sculpture of a sleeping baby created by artist Dong Shubing in 2016. Free.
  • 6 Pochengzi City Ruins (破城子遗址), Pochengzi Village, Tashi Township (踏实乡破城子村) (best reached by car or tourist bus). Founded during the Han Dynasty, Pochengzi, also known as Changlecheng (or Changle Town) was the county seat of the now defunct county of Changle. It was abandoned sometime during the Tang Dynasty. Free.
  • 7 Qiaowan City Ruins (桥湾城遗址), National Highway 312, Hedong Township (河东乡312国道) (about 85 km east of Yuanquan and just off the Lianhuo Expressway; buses to Qiaowan depart from Guazhou Bus Station at 10:00am daily). 08:30-18:00. The city was founded in 1732 and was gradually abandoned after being attacked by Muslim rebels in 1862. There is a small archaeological museum at the site. ¥40.
  • 8 Suoyang City Ruins (锁阳城遗址), Nanba Village, Qiaozi Township (桥子乡南坝村) (best reached by car or tourist bus), +86 18089363844. 08:30-18:00 (May-October), 09:00-17:00 (November-April), no entry in last 30 minutes. Suoyang was originally founded in 111 BC by Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty and rebuilt at this site in 295 AD by Emperor Hui of the Western Jin Dynasty. The city was an important commercial and administrative center in the region up until its destruction at the hands of the Mongol ruler Mansur Khan during the 16th century. The highlight of the ruins is the Ta'er Temple, a Buddhist temple just outside the city walls, which is believed to be the King Ashokha Temple, where Xuanzang is said to have preached for one month before beginning his pilgrimage to India. ¥50 (entry ticket), ¥20 (golf cart ticket). Suoyang City (Q17029168) on Wikidata Suoyang City on Wikipedia
  • 9 Yulin Caves (榆林窟, Yulin Grottoes) (75 km from the county seat; best reached by car or tourist bus), +86 937 5680033. 09:00-17:00, no tickets issued after 16:00. A Buddhist cave temple site featuring 250 polychrome statues and 4,200 square meters of wall paintings, which date from the 7th to the 14th centuries. ¥55 (ordinary caves), ¥100 (Cave 2), ¥150 (Cave 3), ¥100 (Cave 4), ¥200 (Cave 25). Yulin Caves (Q751622) on Wikidata Yulin Caves on Wikipedia






  • 1 Guofeng Hotel (国风大酒店), 160 Guazhou Avenue, Yuanquan Town (渊泉镇瓜州大道160号) (at the intersection of Guazhou Avenue and Nanshi Street; bus no. 1 stops outside the hotel), +86 937 5585000. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 13:00. A four-star hotel. According to some sources, the address is actually No. 73 Guazhou Avenue. Rooms are available from ¥200 per night.
  • 2 Yulin Hotel (榆林宾馆), 61 Xianfu Avenue, Xianfu Street Community, Yuanquan Town (渊泉镇县府街社区县府大道61号) (at the intersection of Xianfu Avenue and Guazhou Avenue; bus nos. 1 and 5 both stop outside the hotel), +86 937 5591999. Check-in: 07:00, check-out: 14:00. A four-star hotel. Rooms are available from ¥250 per night.


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