Guilin, the "City of Cassia Trees," is famous throughout China for its
unusual and breathtaking scenery. For thousands of years, it has been
eulogized throughout Chinese literature. Its vertical karst formations,
or limestone mountains, inspired classical Chinese landscapes paintings
depicting fantastically shaped peaks rising above winding rivers.
Guilin was founded in the third century BC under the Qin Dynasty. Because of its location, in the second century BC it developed into a center of transportation, following the completion of the Ling Canal. Located about 70 kilometers north of the city, the canal links the Xiang River, which flows into the Pearl River, and the Tan River, which eventually meets the Yangzi, thus joining two of China's major waterways. One of the most prosperous cities in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin draws substantial revenue from its large tourist trade.