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Guangxi

 

 

Guangxi (Chinese: 广西; pinyin: Guǎngxī; Wade–Giles: Kuang-hsi; pronounced [kwɑ̀ŋɕí]), officially Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), is an autonomous region of southern China along its border with Vietnam. Formerly a province, Guangxi became an autonomous region in 1958.

 

Guangxi's location, in mountainous terrain in the far south of China, has placed it on the frontier of Chinese civilization throughout much of China's history. The current name "Guang" means "expanse" and has been associated with the region since the creation of Guang Prefecture in AD 226. It was given provincial level status during the Yuan Dynasty, but even into the 20th century it was considered an open, wild territory.

 

The abbreviation of the province is "桂" (Pinyin: Guì; Zhuang: Gvei), which comes from the city of Guilin, the former capital, center of much of Guangxi's culture, politics, and history, and currently a major city in the autonomous region.

 

 

Geography

 

Located in the southern part of the country, Guangxi is bordered by Yunnan to the west, Guizhou to the north, Hunan to the northeast, and Guangdong to the east and southeast. It is also bounded by Vietnam in the southwest and the Gulf of Tonkin in the south.

 

Guangxi is a mountainous region. The Nanling Mountains form the northeast border, with the Yuecheng and Haiyang Mountains branching from them. Also in the north are the Duyao and Fenghuang Mountains. Near the center of the region are the Da Yao and Da Ming Mountains. On the southeastern border are the Yunkai Mountains.

 

The highest point is Kitten Mountain, in the Yuecheng Mountains, at 2,141 metres (7,024 ft).

 

Guangxi has a short coastline on the Gulf of Tonkin. Important seaports include Beihai, Qinzhou and Fangchenggang.

 

Along the border with Vietnam there is the Detian waterfall (德天瀑布, Dé Tiān Pùbù), which separates the two countries.

 

Guangxi has a subtropical climate. Summers are generally long and hot. Average annual temperature is 17 to 23°C, while average annual precipitation is 1250 to 1750 mm.

 

Major cities include: Nanning, Liuzhou, Guilin, Beihai.

 

Notable towns include: Longmen[disambiguation needed], Sanjiang, Yangshuo.

 

 

Culture

 

"Guangxi" and neighbouring Guangdong literally mean "Western" and "Eastern Expanse". Together, Guangdong and Guangxi are called the "Two Expanses" (simplified Chinese: 两广; traditional Chinese: 兩廣; pinyin: Liǎngguǎng; Cantonese Yale: leung6 gwong1).

 

Its culture and language are reflected in this. Though now associated with the Zhuang ethnic minority, Guangxi's culture traditionally has had a close connection with the Cantonese. Cantonese culture and language followed the Xi River valley from Guangdong and is still predominate in the eastern half of Guangxi today. Outside of this area there is a huge variety of ethnicities and language groups represented.

 

Guangxi is known for its ethno-linguistic diversity. In the capital of Nanning, for example, three varieties of Chinese are spoken locally: Southwestern Mandarin, Cantonese, and Pinghua, in addition to various Zhuang languages.

 

 

Tourism

 

The major tourist attraction of Guangxi is Guilin, a town famed across China and the world for its spectacular setting by the Li Jiang (Li River) among severe karst peaks. It also used to be the capital of Guangxi and Jingjiang Princes' City, the old princes' residence, is open to the public. South of Guilin down the river is the town of Yangshuo, which has become another favourite destination for foreign tourists.

 

Ethnic minorities in Guangxi, such as the Zhuang and Dong, are also interesting for tourists. The northern part of the province, bordering with Guizhou, is home to the Longsheng Rice Terraces, some of the steepest in the world. Nearby is Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County.