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Two must-go less popular scenic spots in Zhangjiajie

By Tao Wei | Updated : Mar 03, 2021
Zhangjiajie City has many well-known tourist attractions, such as Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and so on. There are two fantastic but less popular scenic spots in Zhangjiajie which have been introduced by Chinese National Geography Hunan Special.

1. Guozao Tiankeng

Location: Yongding District, Zhangjiajie City

There is a magnificent and spectacular tourist spot named Guozao Tiankeng in Luotaping Township, Yongding District, Zhangjiajie City. Viewed from above, it looks like a Tujia stove lying on the ground in a prone position. There is also a natural bridge on the ground assembling a stove door.
Guozao Tiankeng, also known as the Gate of Heaven, is about 1,000 meters in diameter. Surrounded by towering cliffs and ancient trees, it has an unfathomable bottom full of smoke. In the west of it stands a majestic stove door with a width of about 200 meters and a height of about 100 meters.

This unique landscape is formed after billions of years of water erosion and the continuous collapse of rock mass. The river running through the ground continuously eroded the stone wall, which led to the collapse of the surface and thus formed a funnel-shaped skylight. The skylight continued to expand under the erosion of water, finally leaving the entire underground cave exposed outside the mountain.

It can be said that Guozao Tiankeng is the product of an underground karst cave which continued to expand after development, collapsed to form a skylight, and finally entered its extinction stage. It brings the cave originally hidden in the mountain to light, and vividly shows the evolution of geological movement.

2. Two Chuandongs in Chuanxin Village

Location: Cili County, Zhangjiajie City

On a high mountain in Chuanxin Village, Gaoqiao Town, Cili County, there are two holes, one large and the other small, in the shape of an inverted gourd, dividing a section of rock into two parts. They are like a mother and a child cuddling together hand in hand or a couple who are kissing each other.

According to experts, this is a hole formed on carbonate rock, which may be the remnant after the collapse of two karst caves.

Chuandong can be seen everywhere in Hunan. The most famous one is Tianmen Cave in Zhangjiajie, 131.5 meters high, 37 meters wide and 98 meters deep. Standing inside, tourists would feel as if they were as small as the dirt. 11 aerobatic masters were invited to participate in the World Aerobatics Competition from all over the world to fly through Tianmen Cave, which attracted over 100 media to report. Since then, Zhangjiajie has truly received a worldwide reputation.

There are many Chuandongs in Hunan, especially in the karst landform of western Hunan. It also can be seen with different geological structure in Zhangjiajie Tianzishan Scenic Area, a landform of quartz sandstone. The reason why Hunan boasts so many Chuandongs is related to its location in the transition zone from the second step to the third one of China’s terrain. In addition, due to abundant rainfall and numerous rivers, many rocks and mountain peaks are dissected by water erosion.

Most Chuandongs are located on the top of the mountain, such as the two mentioned above and the Elephant Trunk Hill in Xujiafang Tujia Township, Cili County. As the one at the foot of the mountain is easier to reach compared with the one on the top, people often come here to mourn the ancient relics and meditate, leaving inscriptions on the Moon Rock since Song Dynasty.

Although Hunan is in a closed area surrounded by mountains on three sides, the scenic spots in the province have been widely known by foreigners. As early as Song and Yuan dynasties, a painting of “Eight Views of Hunan” depicting the landscape of Hunan was regarded as a national treasure by the Japanese and was compiled into the general course of elementary school students. At the beginning of the new century, Hunan Province selected 24 landscapes (including 52 scenic spots) as the “New Eight Views in Hunan” involving landscape culture, ecological leisure, and human landscape. In fact, there are still some unpopular but beautiful scenes in Hunan.

As the saying goes, “Jiuzhaigou is famous for its water while Zhangjiajie known for its mountain.” Zhangjiajie is hailed as the “original manuscript of Chinese landscape painting” for its stunning landscape formed by its unique landform.

Edited by Li Ling 

2019 Zhangjiajie Bureau of Culture, Tourism, Broadcasting and Sports