History and culture critical  to Shanxi tourism success

More travel routes to be designed so more people can visit key sites and attractions

2020年08月21日09:56  来源:山西日报

The Yellow River flows south through Shanxi and has nurtured its flourishing local economy and culture.

Touring Shanxi is crucial for studying the long history and rich culture of ancient China, a top leader of the province was recently quoted as saying.

Lou Yangsheng, Party secretary of Shanxi, made the remarks at the launch ceremony for the cultural tourism promotion campaign called "Touring Shanxi, Learning Chinese History" held in the northern Shanxi city of Datong on Aug 11.

According to Lou, while promoting Shanxi's many cultural attractions, the campaign also aims to raise the local people's confidence in their own culture and help to develop a strong cultural tourism industry in Shanxi.

"The strength of Shanxi's tourism industry lies in its long and storied history that has played an important role in China's historical development in the past millennia," the Party chief said.

He noted Shanxi's history dates back more than 5,000 years ago and is home of such Chinese forefathers as Shennong and Emperor Shun.

He mentioned how China's mother river-the Yellow River, which flows in the west and south of Shanxi and is a landmark attraction in the province-has nurtured a brilliant culture and flourishing economy in the region.

"For millennia, residents along the river have used its water to irrigate their farmlands. However, the river sometimes destroyed their land and properties and even took their lives when severe floods happened.

"Therefore, the river was sometimes praised as the hope and glory of the nation and sometimes cursed when it brought disaster and despair," Lou said.

Lou said Shanxi had stood at the forefront of conflicts and exchanges between Han people and northern nomads.

"The Great Wall in Shanxi is the silent witness to many significant historical events in China. In times of peace, Great Wall passes are the venues of exchange between Han people and nomads in the north.

"When wars took place, high hopes were pinned on the wall in the defense against invaders. And if the wall was captured by the enemies, it was always disastrous for the nation," Lou said.

He also mentioned Datong, saying Shanxi is one of the provinces and regions in China with the largest number of cultural sites, and Datong's Yungang Grottoes is a representative of all the ancient cultural assets in Shanxi.

A classical masterpiece of Chinese Buddhist art, Yungang Grottoes played an important role among early Oriental Buddhist grottoes with a far-reaching effect on Buddhist cave art in China and East Asia, according to Lou.

Citing the history of renowned Shanxi merchants or Jinshang, the senior local leader said the history of Shanxi has been created by ordinary people, instead of emperors and rulers.

Shanxi is known for its historical commerce that was developed by the Jinshang merchants, who were said to have dominated commercial circles in North China for about 500 years since the 14th century.

However, many of these successful merchants started out as small vendors who traveled as far as Russia, selling tea, silk and other commodities.

"The success of Jinshang merchants was closely related to their qualities of hard work, endurance, perseverance and entrepreneurship, which are still the spiritual wealth of today's Shanxi people," Lou said.

The Party chief said Shanxi should make full use of its historical and cultural legacies to increase its appeal to tourists and develop itself into an internationally renowned destination with greater influence and stronger competitiveness.

"For those who are interested in China's 5,000 years of history and the country's wealth of natural wonders, Shanxi will definitely be a favored destination," Lou said.

According to the Shanxi Cultural and Tourism Department, the province will design 10 cultural routes for tourists, guiding them to more than 60 sites of historical and cultural interest and 30 historical research sites. And a number of branding and promotional events will be held at home and abroad to make Shanxi attractions better known to tourists.


Li Yu contributed to this story.