Altitude: 492 feet
Area: 21 square miles
is known as China's most picturesque city. It is located in the northeastern
part of the Autonomous Region of Guangxi province. Several crystal-clear
rivers meander through the town, which is encircled by mountains with
bizarre rock formations and caves. This landscape was formed over a period
of some 200 million years, when the sea still reached this far inland.
Layers of muschelkalk (chalk formed from fossilized shells) were deposited;
then the earth's crust was formed; and, finally, the chalk stratified
and was shaped by wind and water to produce vast numbers of caves. All
this makes Guilin a unique natural experience. For hundreds of years,
poets and painters have been fascinated by the sheer splendor of the scenery,
about which many fairy tales and legends have been woven.