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Sanmenxia travel guide

( travelchinaguide.com )

Updated: 2013-06-08

Population: 2,218,000

Area: 10,496 square kilometers

Nationalities: Han

Administrative division: one district (Hubin); three counties (Yingchi, Shanxian, and Lushi); two county-level city (Yima, and Lingbao)

Location: Located in the west of Henan province, Sanmenxia is seated at the convergence of the Henan, Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces. Within the province, it neighbors Luoyang in the east and Nanyang in the south. The city is also bounded on the west by Shangluo and Weinan of Shaanxi Province. In the north, it is separated from Shanxi province by the Yellow River.

History: According to the legend, Yu the Great, the ancient hero of controlling torrential flood in prehistoric time, slipped up the high mountain into three gorges. Hence the city gained its name of Sanmenxia (three gate gorges). As an important headstream of Chinese civilization, it was the central region of the Xia (c.21st century - 16th century BC) and Shang (c. 16th century - 11th century BC) dynasties. Shanxian was established in the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386-534), part of the Northern Dynasty (AD 386-581), and continued into the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Physical features: The city is situated in the hilly area of western Henan province with mountains and hills making up over ninety percent of the city's total territory. Mountain ranges fall and rise, forming gullies all over the city.

Climate: Located in the warm temperate zone, the city has semi-dry continental climate with four distinct seasons. The average temperature of the coldest January and the hottest July are respectively -0.7C and 27C.

When to go: spring and autumn

Special local products: apricot, apple and jujube of Lingbao city, black fungus and Chinese gooseberry of Lushi county, dried persimmon of Yingchi county


Hangu Pass: First established during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), Hangu Pass once played an great role in history as a pass of vital importance between ancient Luoyang and Chang'an (Xi'an). This grand building complex is 15 kilometers north of Lingbao city. If one man guards the pass, ten thousand are unable to pass through. Additionally, Taichu Palace in the building complex is said to be the place where Lao Zi, the founder of Taoism, created his greatest masterpiece Daodejing (Tao Te Ching), commonly translated as the 'Classic of the Virtue'. So, Hangu Pass is also an important site for Lao Zi's believers to commemorate him.

Sanmenxia Dam: 30 kilometers from city downtown area, the dam, begun in 1957, is the first hydro project on the main stream of the Yellow River in China. The Yellow River zigzags 120 kilometers hough the city with the most spectacular scenery in the dam area.

Yawu Mountain is a famous Taoist site located in Yuling town of Lingbo city. The Yawu Mountain scenic area is the largest natural reserve of Henan, and its main peak is the highest point in the province. Large temple fair will be held every June. Main sights include precipitous peaks and mountain pass, as well as some grand Taoist buildings, like Nantian Gate, Yuhuang Hall, Tianyi Palace and so on.

Other Scenic Spots: Baolunsi Pagoda (one of the four famous old echo architectures in China)

Travel Tips: Trains from Zhengzhou and Luoyang to Xi'an all stop in this city. The Lanzhou-Lianyungang Railway runs west-east through the city. It only takes three hours by high speed train to go to Xi'an from the city. Sanmenxia has two railway stations: Sanmenxia Railway Station in Xiaoshan East Road of the Hubin district and the West Station in Qinhan Road of Shanxian county. The local Long-Distance Bus Station is located in the east section of Xiaoshan Road. The city is around one hour's drive from Luoyang.


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