The Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture is located in in the northwest of Yunnan province ? China, between 9958 - 10027 east longitude and 2525 - 2558 north latitude. The neighboring regions of Dali are Sichuan province and Guizhou Province; Tibet Autonomous Region and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Living on its 29,500 square kilometers of including the Bai, Han ,Yi,and Hui. Of the 3.3 million population, 50 percent are people of the minority groups, and the remaining 50 is precent , people of the Han. The population of the Bai minority groups accounts for one-third of the total.
The prefecture also boasts of rich folk customs, such festivals and celebrations as the unprecedented Third Month Fair, the joyful Raosanling Festival, the Hudie (Butterfly)Fair, the three courses of tea services with singing and dancing, the grand Torch Festival, the unique Benzhu (village God) Festival, the Pilgrimage-Making Festival which attracts many people to Jizu and Weibao mountains, the Shibao mountain Singing Contest full of wit and humor, the lively Festive Lantern Fair held in the first lunar month in Midu County as well as the Shuahai (Playing on the Lake) Fair, the Zaiyang (Rice Seedling Transplanting) Festival, the Gegen Fair, the the Eighth of the Second Month Fair ,and the Chaohua (Flower Admiration) Fair. Each of the fairs and festivals has a beautiful legend of its own, and each legend is of great appeal. At present, the fairs and festivals have become gatherings for people to conduct businesses and trade or participate in cultural and sports activities.
The prefecture abounds in natural resources. There grow more than 3,000 species of seed plants. It is known as a home to azalea, orchid, and camellia. The prefecture has a forest coverage of 48.7%. It has an abundant growth of forests of economic value and fruit trees. It is rich in mineral and hydro-energy resources. The prefecture commands a favorable geographical position.
The capital of the prefecture, Dali City is 338 kilometers from Kunming, which is the capital of Yunnan Province. The distance of the air route between the two cities is only 275 kilometers. Dali City was a vital communications hub on the ancient road between Sichuan Province and India and an ancient bridle path for the shipment of tea. It was the only passage on the southern route of the ancient Silk Road in China leading to Southeast and South Asia. An ancient bridle path for the shipment of tea. It was the only passage on the southern route of the ancient Silk Road in China leading to Southeast and South Asia. A transportation network of highways, railroads, and air routes has taken shape. Dali city is a communications hub and a material distribution center in western Yunnan Province and a thoroughfare from Yunnan to Tibet in the north and Southeast and South Asia in the south. The prefecture has an enchanting landscape.there are many places of historic interest and scenic beauty.
The Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, Jizu Mountain, Shibao Mountain, Weibao Mountain, and Cibi Lake are the five major scenic resorts. Dali City is among the first group of top tourist cities in china. There is neither excessive heat in summer nor intolerable cold in winter, with a mean annual rainfall of 1,000 millimeters. A spring-like climate prevails throughout the year.
The prefecture has a broad prospect of development. The diligent, kindhearted, and intelligent people of various ethnic groups have lived in the prefecture, a miraculous and beautiful land, and created a new, happy life today. There are expressways , railroads, and airports that link the prefecture with the rest of China.
The time-honored history of Dali will make tourists to the prefecture lost in thought, its brilliant culture will make them reluctant to leave, the mind thronged with thoughts, and the magnificent natural landscape will make them to feel that there is no time for them to take in with their eyes. The hospitable people of various ethnic groups in the prefecture welcome guests from afar.
In 2001, the prefecture registered a gross domestic product of 14.5 billion yuan and a fiscal revenue of 2.2 billion yuan, holding third and second places among China?s 30 autonomous prefectures inhabited by the people of minority groups. With the deepening of the development of West China, a strategy formulated by the Party and state, the prefecture will become a hot spot for investment in the southwestern border area. The people of various ethnic groups there will advance toward an infinite beautiful future alongside people in other parts of China.
Fauna and Flora Resources
Located in an area with high-elevation mountains, the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture has rich animal and plant resources. Various plant communities in Cangshan, Laojun, Wubao, Jizu, and Baotai mountains as well as other nature reserves remain in their primitive state. These mainly refer to the pine, fir, katus, oak, nanmu, Manchurian catalpa, poplar, and other arbor trees which come out in different species. For instance, the fir in Jizu Mountain is composed of Keteleeria fortunei, Cryptomeria fortunei, Taxus chinensis, and other species. The forests are roamed by deer, muntjac , blue sheep, mustang cattle, wild boar, fox, and other wild animals. Wubao Mountain in Yunlong County features Muntiacus crinifrons, lesser panda, giant swan, leopard, alpine snow cock, and other rare animals under state protection.
The Dali area abounds in flowering plants. All the eight major flowering plants of Yunnan Province including camellia, azalea, yulan magnolia, fairy primrose, lily, gentian, and integrifious poppy can be found in their natural habitats or are cultivated in Dali. There are 41 azalea species growing from the foot up to the snow-covered slopes 4,100 meters above sea level on Cangshan Mountain. Their blossoms vary in shape and in 16 colors including red, white, yellow, and purple. Some of the species are unique to Cangshan Mountain. Dali has a long history of camellia cultivation. There are more than 40 species including hentiangao, songzike, zipaoyudai, and jiuxinshibaban. When the camellia blooms in late winter and early spring, the blossoms add another touch to Dali?s enchanting scenery. Lily, also a famous flowering plant in Dali, varies in species. In recent years, lily raising has become an occupation and many experts in flower raiding have appeared. Take Li Yinglong, a Bai lily raiser in Eryuan County. He is known in and outside of China for the unique lily species he keeps and won 15 gold medals in succession at the China Lily Expositions. Twelve of the species he bred were included in the China Famous Lily Directory.