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Si Chuan




Sichuan (Chinese: 四川; pinyin:  Sìchuān, known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan) is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the southwest of the country. The current name of the province, "四川", is an abbreviation of "四川路" (Sì Chuānlù), or "Four circuits of rivers", which is itself abbreviated from "川峡四路" (Chuānxiá Sìlù), or "Four circuits of rivers and gorges", named after the division of the existing circuit into four during the Northern Song Dynasty. The capital is Chengdu, a key economic centre of Western China.





Sichuan, within its present borders, consists of two very geographically distinct parts. The eastern part of the province is mostly within the fertile Sichuan basin (which is shared by Sichuan with the now-separate Chongqing Municipality). The western Sichuan consists of the numerous mountain ranges forming the easternmost part of the Tibetan Plateau, which are known generically as Hengduan Mountains. One of these ranges, Daxue Mountains, contains the highest point of the province - Gongga Shan, 7,556 metres (24,790 ft) tall.


Lesser mountain ranges surround the Sichuan Basin from north, east, and south. Among them are the Daba Mountains, in the province's northeast.


Plate tectonics formed the Longmen Shan fault, which runs under the north-easterly mountain location of the 2008 earthquake.


The Yangtze River and its tributaries flows through the mountains of western Sichuan and the Sichuan Basin; thus, the province is upstream of the great cities that stand along the Yangtze River further to the east, such as Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanjing and Shanghai. One of the major tributaries of the Yangtze within the province is the Min River of central Sichuan, which joins the Yangtze at Yibin.


Due to the great difference in the terrain, the climate of the province is highly variable, yet in general has strong monsoonal influences, with rainfall heavily concentrated in summer. Under the Köppen climate classification, the Sichuan Basin (including Chengdu) in the eastern half of the province experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa or Cfa), with long, hot, humid summers and short, mild to cool, dry and cloudy winters, and China's lowest sunshine totals. The western mountainous areas have a cooler but sunnier climate, with cool to very cold winters and mild summers; temperatures generally decrease with greater elevation. The southern part of the province, including Panzhihua and Xichang, has a sunny climate with short, very mild winters and very warm to hot summers.


Sichuan borders Qinghai to the northwest, Gansu to the north, Shaanxi to the northeast, Chongqing to the east, Guizhou to the southeast, Yunnan to the south, and the Tibet Autonomous Region to the west.





Throughout its prehistory and early history, the region and its vicinity in the Yangtze River region was the cradle of unique local civilizations which can be dated back to at least the 15th century B.C.E and coinciding with the later years of the Shang Dynasty and Zhou Dynasty in north China. Sichuan was referred to in ancient Chinese sources as Ba-Shu (巴蜀) by combining the names two independent states within the Sichuan Basin — the kingdoms of Ba and Shu. Ba included today's Chongqing (which until recently was part of Sichuan) and the land in eastern Sichuan along the Yangtze and some tributary streams, while Shu included today's Chengdu, its surrounding plain and adjacent territories in western Sichuan.


The existence of the early Kingdom of Shu was poorly recorded in the main historical records of China, it was however referred to in Shujing as an ally of the Zhou who defeated the Shang.[3] Accounts of Shu exist mainly as a mixture of mythological stories and historical legends recorded in local annals such as the Chronicles of Huayang compiled in the Jin Dynasty (265–420), with folk stories such as that of Emperor Duyu (杜宇) who taught the people agriculture and transformed himself into a cuckoo after his death.[6] The existence of a highly developed civilization with an independent bronze industry in Sichuan eventually came to light with an archaeological discovery in 1986 at a small village named Sanxingdui in Guanghan County, Sichuan. This site, believed to be an ancient city of the Shu Kingdom, was initially discovered by a local farmer in 1929 who found jade and stone artefacts.


Excavations by archaeologists in the area yielded few significant finds until 1986 when two major sacrificial pits were found with spectacular bronze items as well as artefacts in jade, gold, earthenware, and stone.[8] This and other discoveries in Sichuan contest the conventional historiography that the local culture and technology of Sichuan were undeveloped in comparison to the technologically and culturally "advanced" China Proper in the Yellow River valley.





The Li Bai Memorial, located at Zhongba Town of northern Jiangyou County in Sichuan Province, is a museum in memory of Li Bai, a Chinese poet in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), at the place where he grew up. It was prepared in 1962 on the occasion of 1,200th anniversary of his death, completed in 1981 and opened to the public in October 1982. The memorial is built in the style of the classic garden of the Tang Dynasty.





The most widely used variety of Chinese spoken in Sichuan is Sichuanese, which is the lingua franca in Sichuan, Chongqing and part of Tibet. Although Sichuanese is generally classified as a dialect of Mandarin, it is highly divergent in phonology, vocabulary, and even grammar from the standard language. Minjiang dialect is especially difficult for speakers of other Mandarin dialects to understand.


The prefectures of Garzê and Ngawa (Aba) in western Sichuan are populated by Tibetan and Qiang people. Tibetans speak the Kham and Amdo dialects of Tibetan, as well as various Qiangic languages. Qiangic languages is also spoken by the Qiang and other related ethnicities. The Yi of Liangshan prefecture in southern Sichuan speak the Yi language, which is more closely related to Burmese; Yi is written using the Yi script, a syllabary standardized in 1974. Like in all of mainland China, regional languages are being supplanted by the mandatory instruction of Mandarin Chinese in nearly all schools regardless of the ethnicity of the students. However, certain accommodations to non-Chinese speakers are made in the minority inhabited regions of Sichuan, including some bi-lingual signage and public school instruction in non-Mandarin minority languages. Tibetan exile communities have claimed the Chinese government practices both implicit and explicit language discrimination in these areas.





Main article: Szechuan cuisine


The Sichuanese are proud of their cuisine, known as one of the Four Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine. The cuisine here is of "one dish, one shape, hundreds of dishes, hundreds of tastes", as the saying goes, to describe its acclaimed diversity. The most prominent traits of Sichuanese cuisine are described by four words: spicy, hot, fresh and fragrant.[36] Sichuan cuisine is popular in the whole nation of China, so are Sichuan chefs. Two famous Sichuan chefs are Chen Kenmin and his son Chen Kenichi, who was Iron Chef Chinese on the Japanese television series "Iron Chef".





UNESCO World Heritage Sites


Dazu Rock Carvings, listed as property of the Chongqing municipality


Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area


Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area


Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area


Mount Qincheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System


Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries