Guizhou is one of China’s remaining unspoiled provinces. Covered by stunning mountainous terrain, the province has been isolated from the rest of the world for centuries. However, in late 1980s, it was officially opened to visitors. The province, whose capital city is Guiyang, is made up by two autonomous prefectures, four prefectures, and three cities, which are officially under the provincial administration.
The history of Guizhou started around 1046 BC when the Qin Dynasty was established. During that time, the province is part of the State of Shu. During the Warring States period, the control over Guizhou was transferred to Dian Kingdom when the Chinese state of Chu successfully conquered the area. During the Han Dynasty, Guizhou became the official home of the Yelang collection of tribes.
During the Tang Dynasty, hundreds of Chinese soldiers moved to the province and married native women. Their descendants made up the huge part of the population later on.
During that time, the Song Dynasty did not govern nor developed the province. However, the development of urban, commercial, and Confucian culture in the Song had great influence on Guizhou’s culture.
It was in 1413, during the Ming Dynasty, when the Guizhou was formally made a province. The dynasty used the province to establish many garrisons, which it used to pacify the Miao and Yao minorities during the Miao Rebellions. During this time, Chinese-style agriculture flourished as locals were taught by the experts from Sichuan and Hunan.
When the Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1911, the communists went in hiding in Guizhou during the Long March. It is in Guizhou where Mao Zedong was elected as the leader of the Communist Party.
During the Second Sino-Japanese war, China improved the transportation in Guizhou as it served as a link to Burma Road. When the Chinese economic reform started in 1978, Guizhou became the poorest province in the country due to geographical factors. Its GDP growth average was just 9% from 1978-1993.
Guizhou has a total population of more than 39 million composed of several ethnic groups. Of the 49 ethnic groups living in the province, 17 are minorities and have lived in Guizhou for centuries. The ten groups are Bouyei, Miao, Han, Dong, Yi, Tujia, Gelao, Hui, Shui, and Bai. The population of ethnic minorities represents almost 37% of the provincial total, ranking third in China.
Cities in Guizhou
This is the city in Guizhou that is closest to the tallest waterfall in China; the Huangguoshu Waterfall. The attractions that can be found within the borders of its prefecture are the Getu River and Long Gong Dragon Caves. The city, which has close to 3 million populations, hosts aerospace industry.
Bijie is located on the northwestern Guizhou province. It borders Yunnan to the west and Sichuan to the north. This is the home to Daotianhe Reservoir that lies on the north of the town. It was built in 1965 and it has annual capacity of 6.5 million cubic meters. It was only in November 2011 that Bijie was converted to prefecture-level city from county-level.
Bijie’s main tourist attractions include Caohai Nature Reserve, Bijie Forest Park, Bijie Anti-Japanese Headquarters site, Datun Chieftain Manor, and Sichuan-Yunnan-Guizhou provincial revolutionary committee site.
This city is under the administration of Zunyi City. Among its attraction is the Chishui Scenic Area located on the northwestern part of the Guizhou Province.
Chishui is known in China as the “City of Thousands of Waterfalls.” Among the most famous is the Chishui Shizhang Cave Waterfall, which lies in the Fengxi River towering 72 meters high.
Other attractions include Sidonggou Valley Scenic Spot, Bamboo Sea Forest Park, and Danxia Landform.
Chishui City was built more than 900 years ago. Aside from amazing its waterfalls, it also features several cultural and historical relics such as the palace, stone city wall, temple, and stone inscriptions. Because of its several attractions, great cultural background, together with convenient traffic, Chishui becomes an ideal tourist attraction for visitors from all points of the globe.
This is the capital of the province and is located at the heart of Guizhou. It lies on the east of Yunnan- Guizhou Plateau and on the northern part of the Nanming River. With 7 urban districts, its population is close to 4.5 million.
It is believed that in ancient times, Guiyang was surrounded by dense bamboo groves and was renowned in China as a producer of musical instruments called Zhu. This is the reason why Guiyang is also known as Zhu.
Guiyang, just like Kunming, is one of China’s spring cities. The climate there is often moist and mild. Great number of attractions can be found there. These include Red Maple Lake, Flower Stream Park, Jiaxiu Tower, and Qingyang Ancient town. The city is also the home to thousands of historical relics from the Qing and Ming Dynasties.
This city lies in the south of Guiyang and on the north of Chongqing. It also borders Sichuan to the northwest. Just like Liupanshui and Guiyang, Zunyi is one of the most important cities of Guizhou.
The city is best known as the place where Mao Zedong was elected as the leader of the Communist Party of China during the Long March. Visitors usually go there to take pictures of the meeting hall where the historic election took place.
Other attractions that are worth visiting are the museum and the old town. The museum is located across the garden of the Zunyi Conference hall. It contains exhibits on the Chinese Civil War, the Long March, and Zunyi Conference. Although the wordings are entirely Chinese, English-speaking guides are available to help visitors who will be surely fascinated with great photographs.
This is the second largest city in the province with almost 3 million populations though only about 300,000 are urban residents. The city is dubbed as Cool Capital or The Cool City because of its low average temperature during summer. The name of the city was a result of combination of the first three characters of the name of city’s constituent counties; Liuzhi, Pan, and Shuicheng.
The city is popular for being the seat of the historic Yeland political entity. This is a group of tribes that dominated modern day Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Hunan provinces. It was in 1978 when it was established as a prefecture-level municipality.
This city is located on the eastern part of Guizhou and is a crop agricultural area. It was converted into prefecture-level city in November 2011 and known for tobacco planting.
The city is famous primarily because of its several attractions which include Mt. Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, Nine-Dragon Cave Scenic Area, and Jinjiang River. It also features thousand years old architecture, Statue of Zhou Yiqun Martyr, and Donghan Temple.
This is another county-level city in Guizhou which is under the administration of Guiyang province. Top attractions there are Hongfeng Lake training base, Hongfeng Lake, and Baihua Lake.
Kaili City is under the direct administration of Dong Autonomous Prefecture and Qiandongnan in the southeastern part of the Guizhou Province. It is the center of Miao culture and it hosts more than 120 festivals annually. This city is a major producer of rice in China and has a population of close to 5 million. The city is the center of a scenic region that features several colorful ethnic minorities in villages nearby.
Things that you can do while in Kaili is visiting the Sunday market, exploring the charming and quiet Miao ethnic town and Lang de Miao Village, visiting the two old towns that are very close to Geyi, and enjoy the great view of Chong An Jiang Village.
Duyun is the capital city of Qiannan Buyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. This city was a major participant during the Miao rebellion from its early stages.
Duyun, which features Jianjiang River that has nine tributaries, has more than 100 bridges in the urban areas. It is for this reason that it is fondly called city of bridges. Aside from the bridges, other places to visit are the Wenfeng Park, and Wenfeng Pagoda. If you’re into nature, you can also stop by at Cloak Mountain, which is just two kilometers away from the city proper. Primitive forest covers almost the whole mountain making it a great habitat for rare animals and plants. Climbing the mountain, you’ll be treated with the view of majestic waterfalls, magic karst caves, and clear streams.
Guizhou, which relies heavily on tourism and agriculture to prop its economy is one of China’s poorest provinces. Although there is a huge potential in the province, poor infrastracture has hinder both the tourism and manufacturing industries. The province is the third largest grower of tobacco and it has significant coal reserves.
To improve the province’s economy, a high speed rail line from Guiyang to Guangzhou that is meant to expand the province transportation links is in the works. This brings hope to spur economic growth. GDP product is 13,460.2 while GCP per capita is 13,119. GDP growth is 12.80%.
Being one of China’s poorest provinces, Guizhou has a high illiteracy rate especially among its many minority people. As of 2000, there are 24 secondary schools for more than 75,000 students and more than 7,000 teachers.
Showing some improvement, the percentage of different levels rose year by year while the numbers of illiterate students have declined. Currently the enrollment rate for children is 98.5%. As for adult education, there is limited development.