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Lanzhou is a prefecture-level city and capital of Gansu Province in northwestern China. It is situated on the upper course of the Yellow River, where the river emerges from the mountains. Georaphically,  the city has been a center of northwest China since early times. Being at the southern end of the route leading via the Hexi Corridor across Central Asia, it also commands the approaches to the ancient capital area of Chang'an (modern Xi'an) in Shaanxi province from both the west and the northwest, as well as from the area of Qinghai Lake via the upper waters of the Yellow River and its tributaries.

Originally in the territory of the Western Qiang peoples, Lanzhou became part of the territory of Qin in the 6th century BC.

In 81 BC, under the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), it became the seat of Jincheng county (Xian) and later of Jincheng commandery (jun), the county being renamed Yunwu. The city used to be called the Golden City, and since at least the first millennium BC it was a major link on the ancient Northern Silk Road, and also an important historic Yellow River crossing site. To protect the city, the Great Wall of China was extended as far as Yumen.

After the fall of the Han Dynasty, Lanzhou became the capital of a succession of tribal states. Mixed with different cultural heritages, the area at present-day Gansu province, from the 5th to the 11th century, became a center for Buddhist study. In the 4th century it was briefly the capital of the independent state of Earlier Liang. The Northern Wei dynasty (386 - 534) reestablished Jincheng commandery, renaming the county Zicheng. Under the Sui Dynasty (581 - 618) the city became the seat of Lanzhou prefecture for the first time, retaining this name under the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). In 763 the area was overrun by the Tibetans and was then recovered by the Tang in 843. Later it fell into the hands of the Western Xia Dynasty (which flourished in Qinghai from the 11th to 13th century) and was subsequently recovered by the Song Dynasty (960 - 1126) in 1041. The name Lanzhou was reestablished, and the county renamed Lanzhuan.

After 1127 it fell into the hands of the Jin Dynasty, and after 1235 it came into the possession of the Mongols.

Under the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) the prefecture was demoted to a county and placed under the administration of Lintao superior prefecture, but in 1477 Lanzhou was reestablished as a political unit.

The city acquired its current name in 1656, during the Qing Dynasty. When Gansu became a separate province in 1666, Lanzhou became its capital.

In 1739 the seat of Lintao was transferred to Lanzhou, which was later made a superior prefecture called Lanzhou.

Lanzhou was badly damaged during the rising of the Gansu Muslims in 1864 - 1875. In the 1920s and 1930s it became a center of Soviet influence in northwestern China. During the Sino-Japanese War (1937 - 1945) Lanzhou, linked with Xi'an by highway in 1935, became the terminus of the 3,200 km (2,000 mile) Chinese-Soviet highway, used as a route for Soviet supplies destined for the Xi'an area. This highway remained the primary traffic route of northwestern China until the completion of the railway from Lanzhou to Urumqi, Xinjiang. During the war Lanzhou was heavily bombed by the Japanese.

The city is the seat of a currently vacant Roman Catholic diocese and was previously the center of a vicariate apostolic.

Lanzhou is situated in the temperate zone and enjoys a semi-arid climate with hot summers and very cold and dry winters. Mean annual rainfall is 315 millimetres (12.4 in), almost all of which falls from May to October. The winters are so dry that snow is extremely rare.

Famous Cultural Facts
Qinqiang Drama

Famous Food
Lanzhou beef
Lanzhou Lamian ( Lamian: dough pulled into strips for noodles )

Places of Interest
Bingling Temple, Yongjing
Gansu Provincial Museum
Wuquan Mountain  Park
Baita Mountain Park
Xinglong Mountain Park
Lutusi Ancient Government
Bapanxia Valley Tourist Site
Tulugou Gullet National Forest Park

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