Explore the rich heritage of Gansu with Siam Society

Explore the rich heritage of Gansu with Siam Society

Explore the rich heritage of Gansu with Siam Society
The Great Wall in Gansu. photo courtesy of siam society

Siam Society is holding a study trip to Gansu, a province in the northwest of China, from May 21 to June 1.

Gansu marks the end of China proper and the start of its western frontier to the borders of the vast steppes of Mongolia, the unforgiving deserts of Xinjiang and the high mountain wastelands of the Tibetan Plateau.

For over 2,000 years, the province has occupied a strategic position on the Silk Road as a vital passage between China and the West. Traders and travellers entering or leaving China have always been channelled through the narrow strip of land that stretches 1,200km in the central part of Gansu, passing a string of oasis towns and military bases.

However, it was not just merchandise, technology and culture that passed along the Silk Road. From the early centuries AD, learned monks from the monastic centres of Central Asia propagated their religions to their Chinese counterparts by way of these trade routes.

The many Buddhist caves chiselled out on precarious cliff faces along the Silk Road are among the earliest significant Buddhist monuments in the country.

The upcoming trip will take participants to visit several world-renowned cave temples of ingenious architecture and admire China's earliest Buddhist sculptures and frescoes dating as far back as the 5th century AD.

The itinerary includes a stop at a major Tibetan monastery, home to the largest number of monks outside of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and the nearby Sangke Grassland of the Tibetan Nomads. This is also an opportunity to enjoy Gansu's diverse landscapes including parts of the foreboding Gobi Desert, the rainbow-coloured rock formations of Danxia Geological Park, the turbulent Yellow River, the majestic Qilian Mountains, the loess plateau that provides insulated cave dwellings and the westernmost terminus of the Great Wall.

The fee is 93,000 baht (89,000 baht for members) excluding international air tickets.

Email studytrips@thesiamsociety.org or call 02-661-6470--3 ext 205.

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