Zhangye Danxia Landform
◆The Eye Candy of Zhangye
Without going into the geological jargons, eye candy is what would best describe the Zhangye Danxia Landform. It is literally a massive piece of art that spans more than 400 square kilometers in the Linze and Sunan counties of the Gansu Province in northwest China. A canvas cloth would envy the rolling hills and landscapes painted with all colors imaginable. It is as though either an artist had accidentally spilled his color palette on it and let it drip or purposely created this multicolored masterpiece. There are several danxia landforms in China but this one in Zhangye is known as the largest and the most typical, and referred by geologists as the “window lattice and palace-shaped danxia topography”.
"How did mother nature come up with such a magnificent work of art?" you might ask. Geologists would tell you that this type of landform known as danxia is a result of a combination of active movements beneath the Earth’s crust in concurrence with exogenous forces which act on the surface, therefore, creating rock layers that differ in color, texture, shape, size and pattern. These differences, however, uniquely characterize this scenery; creating a terrain composed of towering peaks, jagged cliffs, gaping cave holes, rugged rock pillars and stone walls that go from rough to smooth at various points. It gives an impression of an artistic creation that was carefully thought out yet creatively disorganized at the same time.
◆Seven most magnificent danxia landscapes
The Zhangye Geology Park, which allows for a panoramic view of this attraction, welcomes local and foreign tourists alike. Visitors will usually have to start from Lanzhou, which is Gansu’s capital, and then make a choice between bus, train or plane travel to Zhangye. Buses are the most common mode of transport to the park and is often preferred by many, and they would say that the view is best enjoyed right after rainfall when all the colors of the rocks are more striking than usual. But in this part of the country known to be an arid region, rainfall or no rainfall, the site has always been able to captivate the curiosity and interest of tourists. In fact, the Chinese National Geography has nominated it as one among the seven most magnificent danxia landscapes in China since 2005.
So next time you crave for sweets or feel like going after that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, come to China and find what you’re looking for in the eye candy that is the danxia landform in Zhangye.