Chinese name: Jiu Zhai Gou Feng Jing Ming Sheng Qu
English name: Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area
Approval Date: December 1992
Heritage category: Natural heritage
Selection criteria: Based on the standards N(III) for selecting natural heritage, the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area was listed in the World Heritage List.
The Jiuzhaigou Valley
Assessment of the World Heritage Committee:
The Jiuzhaigou Valley is in northern Sichuan Province, and covers an area of 72,000 hectares. The long and wandering Jiuzhaigou Valley has an altitude of over 4,800 meters, and therefore, a series of various forest ecological systems has formed there. Due to the conical karst landforms and the majestic waterfalls, the splendid valley is even more interesting. The Jiuzhaigou Valley is home to over 140 bird species and many endangered animals and plants, including giant pandas and the Sichuan Takin.
The Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area is located in Nanping County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province in western China. Since there are nine Tibetan villages situated on this high-altitude land of lakes, it is called “Jiuzhaigou” (nine-village valley). The Jiuzhaigou Valley covers an area of about 720 square kilometers, and most of the valley is covered by forests. The key scenic area in the valley is over 80 kilometers long, and consists of two branch lines. The first one is from the entrance of the valley to Nuorilang Waterfall to Changhai Lake, and the second one is from the Nuorilang Waterfall to the primeval forest.
The valley is beautiful, natural and pure, and contains six great wonders—the Changhai Lake, the Sword Rock, the Nuorilang Waterfall, the Shuzheng Gully, the Zharu Gully and the Black Sea. Of all the sceneries in Jiuzhaigou, the most fantastic are the waterscapes. Over 100 colorful and crystal-clear lakes are scattered along the long and narrow valleys. Springs, waterfalls, rivers, and beaches connect the lakes together. It looks like an amazing picture. The waterscapes also change as the season changes. Under the background of snow-capped peaks and the blue sky, the waterscapes have helped the Jiuzhaigou Valley earn the title of “King of China’s Waterscapes” and aroused comments such as “people who have visited Mount Huangshan will lose interest in visiting the other mountains, and people who have visited the Jiuzhaigou Valley will lose interest in visiting other waterscapes.”
The Jiuzhaigou Valley is on the northern foot of the Gaerna Peak in the southern part of the Minshan Mountains. It is a branch of the Jialing River at its source, and the Jialing River is a tributary of the Yangtze River. The valley belongs to the transitional zone between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and has very complex geological structures. It is a place with different altitudes and climates, but beautiful mountains and waterscapes.
The main part of the Jiuzhaigou Valley is shaped like a “Y,” and is over 50 kilometers long in total. There are a lot of lakes, waterfalls and golden sand beaches in the valley. The waterscape is the leading star of Jiuzhaigou. The green and crystal-clear streams flow through forests and shallow beaches like necklaces, and the colorful lakes and majestic waterfalls always keeps your eyes busy.
Over one half of the Jiuzhaigou Valley is covered by virgin forests where various plants grow. Currently, the total area of the natural forests is about 30,000 hectares and the number of the plant species is over 2,000. Many kinds of wildlife also live there as well, including 170 kinds of vertebrates and 141 kinds of birds, of which, 17 are under national-level protection. The ground of the forests is covered by a thick layer of mosses, and you may also see animal feathers and furs. The primeval forest gives tourists a feeling that they are walking in a dream world.