Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
|Zhangjiajie National Forest Park|
|Location||Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China|
|Area||4,810 ha (18.6 sq mi)|
The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (Chinese: 湖南张家界国家森林公园; pinyin: Húnán Zhāngjiājiè Guójiā Sēnlín Gōngyuán; literally: 'Hunan Zhangjiajie National Forest Park') is a unique national forest park located in Zhangjiajie City in Hunan Province in the People's Republic of China. It is one of several national parks within the Wulingyuan Scenic Area.
In 1982 it was recognized as China's first national forest park with an area of 4,810 ha (11,900 acres). Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is part of a much larger 397.5 km2 (153.5 sq mi) Wulingyuan Scenic Area. In 1992, Wulingyuan was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was then approved by the Ministry of Land and Resources as Zhangjiajie Sandstone Peak Forest National Geopark (3,600 km2 (1,400 sq mi)) in 2001. In 2004, Zhangjiajie geopark was listed as a UNESCO global geopark.
The most notable geographic features of the park are the pillar-like formations that are seen throughout the park. Although resembling karst terrain, this area is not underlain by limestones and is not the product of chemical dissolution, which is characteristic of limestone karst. They are the result of many years of physical, rather than chemical, erosion. Much of the weathering that forms these pillars is the result of expanding ice in the winter and the plants that grow on them. The weather is moist year-round, and as a result, the foliage is very dense. The weathered material is carried away primarily by streams. These formations are a distinct hallmark of the Chinese landscape, and can be found in many ancient Chinese paintings.
One of the park's quartz-sandstone pillars, the 1,080-metre (3,540 ft) Southern Sky Column, had been officially renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain" (Chinese: 阿凡达-哈利路亚山; pinyin: Āfándá hālìlùyà shān) in honor of the movie Avatar in January 2010. According to park officials, photographs from Zhangjiajie inspired the floating Hallelujah Mountains seen in the film. The film's director and production designers said that they drew inspiration for the floating rocks from mountains from around the world, including those in Hunan province.
The towering Bailong Elevator, literally 'hundred dragons sky lift', was opened to the public in 2002. At 326 m (1,070 ft), it is the world's tallest outdoor lift. It can transport visitors to the top from its foot in less than two minutes. The structure is composed of three separate glass elevators, each of which can carry up to 50 people at a time.
In August 2016, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon opened the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge, the longest (430 m (1,410 ft)) and highest (300 m (980 ft)) pedestrian glass bridge in the world. Thirteen days after opening, the bridge was closed due to the sheer number of visitors. It reopened on the 30th of September 2016 after having adjusted the logistics and safety measures for handling large numbers of tourists.
Notes and references
- "Zhangjiajie Scenic Spot". www.travelchinaguide.com. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- "A Brief Account of Zhangjiajie". www.zhangjiajie.com.cn. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- ""Avatar" inspires China province to rename mountain". China Daily. January 26, 2010. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
- "Found! The stunning mountain that inspired Avatar's 'floating peaks'". Daily Mail. London. January 27, 2010.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (January 14, 2010). "Avatar's Designers Speak: Floating Mountains, AMP Suits And The Dragon".
- Renjie, Mao (December 24, 2009). "Stunning Avatar". Global Times. Archived from the original on December 28, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- Glass bridge: China opens world's highest and longest BBC News. 20 August 2016
- "World's longest glass bridge closes for maintenance two weeks after opening". The Guardian. 2 Sep 2016.
- "World's longest and highest glass bridge reopens". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
- Wulingyuan travel guide from Wikivoyage