Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, located in the mountains of Sichuan Province, is one of the world’s most scenic areas. The reserve has more than one hundred rivers, lakes, and waterfalls covering 650 square kilometers.

The mountains, waterfalls, and rivers of the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve make it one of the most scenic areas in the world as well as a major tourist attraction. Jiuzhaigou is located in the Min Shan, a mountain range in the northern part of Sichuan Province in southwestern China, about 400 kilometers north of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province.

The name “Jiuzhaigou” has an interesting origin. The words jiu, zhai, and gou mean “nine,” “tribe,” and “gully,” respectively. Because nine Tibetan tribes live in the Min valley, people began to call the area “Jiuzhaigou.” Located about 2,000–4,700 meters above sea level, the Jiuzhaigou reserve has more than one hundred rivers, waterfalls, and lakes covering 650 square kilometers. About 42 percent of Jiuzhaigou is forested. A number of endangered animals, including the giant panda (Alluropoda melanoleuca) and the golden snub-nosed monkey (Pygathrix roxellanae), live in Jiuzhaigou.

Jiuzhaigou has been called “the fairy-tale world” of China because of its natural beauty. The Chinese media has often used it as a film location. Because the number of visitors to Jiuzhaigou from all over the world has increased, in 2001 the government began limiting visitors to twelve thousand a day. About 60,000 hectares of the reserve were designated as a natural protective area in 1978 and were listed as a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Natural World Heritage Site in 1992; 24,000 hectares became a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1997.

Further Reading

Amako, S., et al. (1999). Iwanami Gendai Chugoku Jiten [Iwanami dictionary of modern China]. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.

Jiuzhaigou qiyueyiri qidui luke shixing xiangliang jinru [The limitation of visitors entering Jiuzhaigou starting on 1 July]. (2001, June 27). Renmin Ribao, p. 2.

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2008). Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area. Retrieved November 26, 2008 from http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/637

Source: The Editors,. (2009). Jiuzhaigou. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 1218. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

Jiuzhaigou (Jiǔzhàigōu 九寨沟)|Jiǔzhàigōu 九寨沟 (Jiuzhaigou)

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