Lanzhou is the capital city of the province of Gansu. Located in China’s North West, this is a place where Rewi Alley spent much time.
Summary of Rewi Alley monuments in Lanzhou
- Statue of Rewi Alley with Children, in centre of Bailie Square
- Mural of Rewi’s life, around the perimeter of Bailie Square
- Bust of Rewi Alley, in campus
- Statue of George Hogg, in campus
You will pass through Lanzhou on your way to visit Shandan – there are two train lines – the older one travelling up the Hexi Corridor, from Lanzhou to Shandan in about 6 hours, 500km. The newer fast-train line goes from Lanzhou via Xining, on the Tibetan plateau, before dropping back into the Hexi Corridor at Zhangye.
Zhangye is the nearest large city to Shandan; from Zhangye you can travel by either bus or train to Shandan, bus is usually more convenient.
Lanzhou has an airport, located one hour north of the city, with links to the city by airport bus (a railway line was being constructed in 2015). A major regional hub, it has frequent flights to Xi’an and other cities.
Lanzhou city is served by numerous local buses, all 1Y/trip in 2015.
There is one hostel – Huar/Flower International Youth Hostel, 50 yuan/night (2015), situated in an art precinct. It’s on bus line #11, 11, 82, and 143.
A number of other hotels in 2015 did not accept foreigners.
When to visit:
Lanzhou can be visited year-round. In winter the temperatures drop to -20C, the Yellow River water level is very low, so the waterwheels will not be operational. In summer temperatures reach 30 to 35C.
Current weather can be viewed on http://www.accuweather.com/en/cn/lanzhou/102246/weather-forecast/102246
As in all of China, it is preferable to avoid the peak holiday periods of Golden Week (1-7th October), Spring Festival/Chinese New Year (10days in January or February, exact date changes each year), and school holidays of July/August. If you are travelling at these times, you’ll need to book transport in advance, and possibly be flexible with your dates to get to the places you want. Accommodation is not normally booked out.
Other things to see in Lanzhou:
- Gansu Provincial Museum – a free museum that certainly deserves it’s high reputation.
- Waterwheel Garden, Shuiche – an impressive collection of operational wooden waterwheels.
- Zhongshan bridge on the Yellow River – the first permanent bridge over the river, built in 1907-9.
- White Pagoda Park, Baita – on a hill overlooking the river; a series of pagodas and other buildings rising up the hillside.
- Yantan Park
Links to more information:
This article is based on a report by Jane Furkert of her work: ‘An Independent Travellers’ Guide to Rewi Alley Locations in China, 2016’, that was funded by the Rewi Alley Friendship and Exchange (RAFE) Fund.