Gansu in the upper Yellow
River valley in northwest China was named after the first
character of the names of its two ancient cities, Ganzhou
(modern Zhangyi) and Suzhou (modern Jiuquan). Long and
narrow in shape, it has an area of more than 450,000 square
kilometers and a population of 19.18 million, of which
11 per cent live in the cities and the rest in the rural
areas. Of its total population, 7.6 per cent are from
the Hui, Tibetan, Dongxiang, Mongolian, Tu, Yugur, Baoan
and other minority nationalities.
Dunhuang -- Grottoes in the Desert
Jiayu Pass -- Western End
of the Great Wall
Jiuquan -- 'Wine Fountain'
Lanzhou -- City on the Silk Road
Gansu adjoins the Loess, Inner Mongolia, and Qinghai-Tibet
plateaus, averaging 1,000- 3,000 metres in elevation.
The eastern part, composed of the undulating Loess Plateau,
is drained by the Yellow River and its tributaries, the
Weihe and Taohe, and has potential for the development
of hydropower. The Bailong River valley south of the Qinling
range has a warm, humid climate for lush plant growth.
The Qilian Mountain Area on the Gansu-Qinghai border generally
exceeds 4,000 meters above sea level. There are the Heihe,
Shule and other inland rivers in the Gansu Corridor between
the Qilian range and the Longshou and Heli mountains.
Although the greater part of the Corridor is deserts and
semi-deserts with an arid climate, there are contiguous
oases Which have the benefit of the melt-water from the
Qilian Mountains for the development of farming and animal
husbandry. A natural passage from the heartland of China
to Xinjiang and Central Asia in ancient times, the Gansu
Corridor is crossed by the Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway.
Gansu has a temperate monsoonal climate with the marked
transitional characteristics of a continental climate.
It has a mean annual temperature of 0-15ºC, with
great difference between north and south, and a mean annual
precipitation of 30-860 mm., decreasing from southeast
the capital city of Gansu Province, is the geographical
center of China, where the Lanzhou-Urumqi, Baotou-Lanzhou,
Longhai (Lianyungang-Lanzhou), and Lanzhou-Xining trunk
railways meet. The Baoji-Lanzhou and Lanzhou-Wuwei sections
of the Longhai Railway have become electric. The Baoji-Zhongwei
Railway, a new line, is now open to traffic. A dual route
of the Lanzhou-Urumqi Railway was completed in May 1995.
And the construction of a local railroad in Pingqing is
now in full swing. By the end of 1997, the length of Gansu’s
railroads in operation had totaled 1,982 kilometers, the
volume of rail freight had become 42 billion tons, and
the passenger volume had reached 5 billion people/km.
The opening to traffic of the Eurasian Bridge has turned
the vast hinterland of China, including Gansu Province,
into an international thoroughfare.
There are 72 national and provincial highways linking
roads in the counties and townships, with a total length
of 35,000 kilometers. The Tianshui-Beidao and Lanzhou-Zhongchuan
Airport expressways are open to traffic. The volume of
goods transported on the highways reached 8.5 billion
tons and the passenger volume, 500 million people/km.
has formed an air-transport system with Lanzhou as the
center. There are more than 20 air routes with a total
length of 35,700 kilometers leading to Beijing, Shanghai,
Guangzhou, Urumqi, Hong Kong as well as cities within
the province, such as Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Tianshui, and
Qingyang. The volume of air cargo reached 4.3 million
tons/kilometers and the passenger volume, 42.22 people/kilometers.