Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22046362
By the end of this blog, you know how to pronounce the name Zhangjiajie, at least in your head. Phonetically, the name is pronounced zhangji-a-jie or SZ-aa-ng-J-ee-aa-J-ee-uh. You can go to https://www.pronouncekiwi.com/Zhangjiajie and hear how to pronounce it, or you can take the lazy route to enlightenment and simply substitute the word Avatar.
WHAT PUT ZHANGJIAJIE ON THE RADAR?
In 1982, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park became China’s first national forest park. It comprises almost 12,000 acres, which is only a part of the much larger, 153.5-square-mile Wulingtuan Scenic Area. Ten years later, in 1992, Wulingyan was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Zhangjiajie is listed as a UNESCO global geopark.
The location has been known for a long time, but as far as the western part of the world, the general public had never heard of it and couldn’t pronounce it. Think about it… if you can’t pronounce something, it’s hard to talk about it.
The location achieved world renown through the 2009 movie Avatar. Rumor has it that James Cameron drew his inspiration from this venue when he was working on the production of the movie. The locals say a Hollywood photographer came to the Wulingyuan Scenic Area in 2008 and took photos which later formed the basis of the animated floating mountains in the movie.
Image Source: ▼ tripandtravelblog.com/the-flying-mountains-of-avatar
It is now one of the “don’t miss” places in the world. In fact, the Southern Sky Column in Zhangjiajie was formally named Avatar Hallelujah Mountain at a ceremony in 2010.
Southern Sky ▲ Avatar Pillar is 3,540 feet tallImage
Image Source: weirdasianews.com/2010/02/07/china-renames-mountain
The entire Wulingtuan Scenic Area is filled with amazing scenery and geographic features, enhanced by man-made novelties like glass bridges and the world’s tallest outdoor elevator, the Bailong Elevator.
Bailong in Chinese mean Hundred Dragons. The glass elevator hangs on the side of a tall cliff in the Zhangjiajie’s Forest Park. Construction started in 1999 and the lift was open to the public in 2002. Operation was suspended for ten months in 2002-2003 for safety reasons. It is 1,070 feet high and carries 50 visitors to the top.
Zhangjiajie’s Forest Park is known for the pillar-like landforms such as Southern Sky Column/ Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. In this general area there are approximately 3,000 of these tall quartzite sandstone pillars.
These towering columns are not underlain by limestone and are not the result of chemical dissolution, but result from uncounted years of physical erosion.
Much of the weathering that forms these quartz-sandstone pillars is the result of expanding ice in the winter and the plants that grow on them. The weather is moist year-round, and as a result, the foliage is very dense. The weathered material is carried away primarily by streams.
Over a period of 2.6 million years, the formation of the geology in the area uplifted the crust in the Zhangjiajie area. Running water along the joints and fissures cut the quartz sandstone into the landforms like mesas, tablelands, peak walls, peak forests and single-peak groups. The crust is still rising slowly, and Zhangjiajie geomorphologic landscape is still under formation and change.
THE VIEWS ARE NOT ONLY ROCK PILLARS
▼Image source: windows10spotlight.com/images/ Image Source: the007world.com/zhangjiajie ▼
Image Source: chinadiscovery.com/zhangjiajie-tours Image Source: www.redbull.com/glass-skywalks
If you are physically up to this kind of trip, definitely add it to your bucket list. You’ll never regret it.