The Colorful Chinese mountains of Zhangye Danxia


Posted by Ra Moon
It seems that the day when the Earth decided to create this landscape, it was celebrating a party. Or perhaps the person in charge of designing the simple slopes of a remote region (in central Gansu Province), to the north of what would be China, had planned to amaze visitors with something exceptional.

In any case, it joined together all the rock layers of colors imaginable in one place, specifically in the area known as Zhangye Danxia, thus achieving what is perhaps the greatest gathering of different pigments in natural stone in the world.

Also we are updating this article to include some details about the filming locations of The Great Wall, a big budged Chinese-American co-production, that can help a wider audience to discover this geological wonder:

Bottle of sand
This is the closest thing to those bottles of colored sand beach, but full scale.
Image Silk Road Angel Tours, previous image Mohsin A. Soomro

Zhangye Danxia
The hills glow brighter right after rainfall, which is the best time to capture these intense colors.
Image Silk Road Angel Tours

Gansu Province
The topography of the area includes steep cliffs, sharp peaks and eroded caves.
Image Silk Road Angel Tours

Danxia landform
Image Silk Road Angel Tours

Zhangye Danxia Geopark
There is a bus running through the park to get from one viewpoint to another.
Image Lijadili

Danxia China
It must be explained that Danxia is not a place, but the name of a type of landscape found in China, characterized by prominent boulders and steep cliffs. It is similar to karst rocks, but formed by layers of conglomerate instead of compact blocks of rock. Image Ray Tsang

Zhangye Danxia
Danxia landforms are found only in China and often have a characteristic reddish color.
Image Gudi&Cris

Mount Danxia
Zhangye Danxia shouldn't be confused with other places such as the so-called China Danxia ensemble, included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Image KM Cheng

Zhangye National Geopark
Zhangye National Geopark is located 40km going west from the city of Zhangye, where are buses departing from West Bus Station. Image Yeung Ming

Where was The Great Wall Filmed
This screenshot flying over Zhangye Danxia belogs to the movie The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon.
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

The Great Wall Filming Locations
Most of The Great Wall was filmed in the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis studios. As you can see in this image, Sections of the original Great Wall were merged with this Chinese coloured landscape. Up to 360 containers were used to imitate the original wall, that was not shoot on location. Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

For further information we highly recommend the Lonely Planet Xinjiang, Urumqi & Northern China chapter, included in the China travel guide from the same hyper-famous editorial.

Regarding the merchandising section, we found this gaudy 150 page diary a tacky USB flash drive, or this so-called crazy art wall print on canvas for girls room (only?):



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  1. An-Nahl : 13

    And [He has subjected] whatever He multiplied for you on the earth of varying colors. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who remember.

  2. Unbelievably awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I just took a look see of the province, Gansa. I must so there someday. I want to glimpse at the sunsets and awake to the sound of the morning, with my coffee.

    1. Gansu Province is correct, in the far Northwest part of China, just east of Xinjiang.

  4. By the way, this post is also available in Russian here


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