Chinese cities along the silk road - Lanzhou

Source: Global Times [16:16 July 20 2009]

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Lanzhou is the capital of Gansu Province in northwestern China. 

Lanzhou station

The Yellow River seen from the park of the White Pagoda


Originally in the territory of the Western Qiang peoples, Lanzhou became part of the territory of Qin in the 6th century BC.

In 81 BC, under the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), it became the seat of Jincheng county and later of Jincheng commandery, the county being renamed Yunwu. The city used to be called the Golden City, and since at least the first millennium BC it was a major link on the ancient Northern Silk Road, and also an important historic Yellow River crossing site. To protect the city, the Great Wall of China was extended as far as Yumen.

After the fall of the Han Dynasty, Lanzhou became the capital of a succession of tribal states. Mixed with different cultural heritages, the area at present-day Gansu province, from the 5th to the 11th century, became a center for Buddhist study. In the 4th century it was briefly the capital of the independent state of Earlier Liang. The Northern Wei dynasty (386–534) reestablished Jincheng commandery, renaming the county Zicheng. Under the Sui Dynasty (581–618) the city became the seat of Lanzhou prefecture for the first time, retaining this name under the Tang Dynasty (618–907). In 763 the area was overrun by the Tibetans and was then recovered by the Tang in 843. Later it fell into the hands of the Western Xia Dynasty (which flourished in Qinghai from the 11th to 13th century) and was subsequently recovered by the Song Dynasty (960–1126) in 1041. The name Lanzhou was reestablished, and the county renamed Lanzhuan.

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