Peking University Introduces Campus Visits

Peking University is known not only for its academic excellence but also for its scenic garden-like campus.

More tourists, both local and overseas, are visiting the university in recent years to enjoy the sights of the compound.

With the growing interest, some travel agencies have even set up a special line for such visits. The campus, also known as Yanyuan Park, is located in the western suburbs of Beijing, near the renowned Summer Palace and Yuan Ming Yuan. The park, where celebrations have just been held for the centenary of the university, has been famous since the 11th century for its springs and surrounding hills. The center of attraction is its lake and a water tower, also known as the Boya Tower, on the grassy bank of the lake. The tower's reflection in the lake is a symbol of the Peking University.

The Yanyuan Park has a long history, with its Shuchun Park built in the 18th century. Despite the weathering process, its charm remains, emerging as a legacy of history.

Since the university moved to this park in 1952, it has fully utilized the basic structure of the Chinese classical park, combining the majestic characteristics of the parks in north China, as well as the beautiful scenery of parks in the south, creating an appealing campus environment.

The plants grown and new structures constructed complement the original style of the park, thus enhancing its magnificent view.

Tengwang Temple: Typical Tang Tower

The Tengwang Temple is one of three famous towers in the south of China. It is situated in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province and was built in 659 during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Two other renowned towers are the Yueyang Tower in Hunan Province and the Yellow Crane Tower in Hubei Province.

The Tengwang Temple was renovated in 675. Poet Wang Bo had attended a celebration to mark its completion. There, he wrote the famous classical prose entitled A Preface to the Tengwang Temple. Since then, the prose and the tower have been deemed significant in the history of the Chinese literature and Chinese architecture respectively.

Having weathered 29 times of rise and fall, the temple was rebuilt in 1985. It opened again in 1989 after reconstruction work was completed. The new tower, facing east, is 57.5 meters high and has an area of 13,000 square meters. Steel and concrete are used to create wood-like structures in the temple. It has glimmering green tiles and red pillars, as well as intricate patterns painted onto its roof beams, typical of Tang Dynasty architectural style.

State-Level Scenic Spots

China has now developed 119 state-level scenic spots, covering an area of 96,000 square km, or 1 percent of the country's total land area.

By the end of 1997, there were more than 512 scenic spots and historical sites at various levels. Of these, 19 are rated as world culture and natural heritage sites by the United Nations, including the Great Wall, the Palace Museum and Huangshan Mountains.

Nanchang Desert Tour

There is a big desert in Houtian Township of Xinjian County, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Jiangxi provincial capital Nanchang. It is seldom seen in inland southern cities and is called by visitors the "desert in south of China."

Starting from the Nanchang "August 1" Bridge, and sailing along the Ganjiang River to the west, the desert is reached in an hour or so.

Standing on the highest point of the desert, and looking far into the distance, the sparkling waters of the Ganjiang River and the waves of sand dunes complement each other in radiance and beauty.

In the central part of the desert is a demonstration area covering over 30 hectares developed by the Subtropical Wing-Sand Land Control Station. There, trees cover the earth and the air is heavy with the aroma of fruit such as peaches, pears, oranges, tangerines and Chinese chestnut.

Formed about 9,000 years ago, the desert, over 20 km long and 2 km wide, covers an area of more than 3,000 hectares and is the biggest in the sub-tropical zone. The whole desert is being divided up and to be built like manors, where highways, sand enterprises and a power station will be built. In addition, near the Moonlight Island on the bank of the Ganjiang River, it is planned to build a water amusement park and several natural sand-skating sites and sand-bath places.

Tour of Xichang Space Center in Sichuan

Xichang Space Center, situated in southwestern Sichuan Province, was built up in the early 1970s. As China's biggest commercial satellite and astronautics launch center, it began to formally open to the outside world in 1988.

The center, composed of No.2 and No.3 launch sites, has successfully launched the first "Long March 2" cluster high-capacity carrier rocket, and used the "Long March 3" rocket to place six Chinese communication satellites and AsiaSat I into orbit.

In Xichang, tourists can visit the launch tower, rocket assembly center, satellite launch monitoring center and astronautics museum. If you are keen on the folkways of the Yi ethnic group in the Greater Liangshan Mountain, you also may enjoy the Torch Festival on June 24 of the lunar calendar.

The Torch Festival is the significant festival of the Yi people. At night, they hold high flaming torches and roam the open countryside and hills. The Yi people, men and women, old and young, love singing and dancing around an open fire.

In Lugu Lake area, the Mosuo people living along the lakeside still maintain big matriarchal families, in which no marriages take place so that the children only know their mothers.

News in Brief

  • Germany's Lufthansa Airlines started its daily direct flight services between Beijing and Frankfurt in April. This new flight not only provides travelers with a choice of flying between Beijing and Frankfurt any day of the week, but also allows them to use Frankfurt as a transit point to 91 countries and more than 290 cities.
  • Lufthansa Airlines also has direct flights between Shanghai and Frankfurt three times a week, as well as daily direct flights between Hong Kong and Frankfurt.

  • China Eastern Airlines Share-holding Co. Ltd. will operate a new flight service between Shanghai and Japan's kuyama starting June 30. It will fly on every Tuesday and Friday. This is the sixth flight route to Japanese cities, following flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Nagoya.
  • The airline will also fly Beijing-Shanghai-Paris every Tuesday and Saturday starting July 7.

    It plans to increase Shanghai-Beijing-San Francisco and Beijing-Shanghai-Sydney flights from the current two weekly flights to three. Flights between Shanghai and Fukuoka will be increased from five times a week to seven.

  • Air France has announced that it will cooperate with China Eastern Airlines to operate direct flights between Shanghai and Paris. Together with those operated by Air China, the total number of flights between Shanghai and Paris will reach six to eight a week.
  • Tianjin's First International flight route linking it with Nagoya was officially opened in the middle of March. Flight service will soon be increased to three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from the current twice a week (Monday and Friday). Return flights are available on the same day. Currently, more than 40,000 Japanese travel to Tianjin every year.
  • The first flight service from Beijing-Dalian-Pyongyang at the end of March has been successful. This is one of the five international routes operated by the China Southwest Airlines. It replaces the Beijing-Pyongyang flight. The Southwest Airlines will use MD-82 planes to fly between the two destinations on Mondays and Fridays.