Lanzhou is capital of north-central China's Gansu Province. The city is located on the upper reaches of the Yellow River. The city is the geometric center of the Middle Kingdom, and, more importantly, the economic, political and transportation center of the province.
Lanzhou was a key station on the old Silk Road, the ancient trade route that linked Xi'an, then capital of China, with Central Asia and Europe. Thus the area exudes cultural diversity: Hui, Mongols, Tibetans and Kazakhs populate the city and its surrounding areas.
As a regional transport hub, Lanzhou is easily reached by air and land. Most people visiting from the province come by long distance bus, while those traveling in from father afield prefer air and rail. Intra-city transport consists of extensive public bus and taxi services.
Many visitors use the city as a base from which they explore other sites in its vicinity. The Labrang Monastery and Sangke Prairie are examples of these sites. While in Lanzhou, travelers can also visit many of its attractions, including Zhongshan Bridge, Water Wheel Park, the White Pagoda Hill Park, the Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves and Five Springs Mountain Park.
In addition, the city is dotted with museums that display a wealth of artifacts from the area. Gansu Provincial Museum is famous for its incredible Bronze Galloping Horse of Gansu and Tang Dynasty artifacts. The Gansu Museum of Geology reflects the local natural mineral resources, and there is also the Lanzhou Earthquake Museum.
Local cuisine has been influenced by the many different ethnic groups that reside in the area. Generally speaking, its dishes are either salty, tart or spicy, and are roasted, steamed or braised. Typical dishes include Lanzhou hand-pulled beef noodles, stuffed honeydew melon, and roasted suckling pig. All of these dishes, as well as a range of local handicrafts, can be found at the city's many night markets.
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