Famous scenic spots in Taihang
A heart-shaped sky is viewed from the bottom of Baquan Valley. [Photo by Sang Xiao for China Daily]
Located in Huguan county in the southern part of the Taihang Mountains, Baquan Valley became a 5A scenic area－the highest-rank destination rating by the national tourism authority－on Jan 8.
Baquan, which means eight springs, is so called because of eight springs that formed a torrential brook in the valley.
With a length of 13 kilometers and a width ranging from 3 to 20 meters, the narrow valley is surrounded by peaks rising up to 1,100 m from the valley floor.
In addition to dozens of waterfalls and several karst caves, the most impressive sight is the area called Yixiantian－which literally means one-line sky－in the narrowest part of the valley. It is so called because the sky is narrowed to a line seen from the bottom of the valley.
Niangziguan Great Wall
Niangziguan, which means "female general's pass", is located in Pingding county in the central part of Taihang. It is one of the strategic fortresses along the Great Wall.
The fortress is so called because it is said to have been built by Princess Pingyang during the early Tang Dynasty (618-907). Legends also have it that the first military force stationed there were an army of female warriors led by the princess.
The existing fortress and the Great Wall were built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), with two gate towers and a 500-m wall still kept intact.
The Niangziguan Pass, controlling one of the important passageways between Hebei and Shanxi provinces, was a strategic stronghold in times of conflict and thus is a silent witness to many wars in history.