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The beauty of World Heritage Sites

July 29, 2010

Throughout the summer, ASU students studying abroad will be writing back to the states about their overseas adventures. Fostering international student experiences is just one part of ASU's commitment to making a global impact.

Christopher's blog:

On Saturday we visited not one but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The first was the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, which was originally built more than 2,300 years ago and is still being used today. Its primary purpose was to eliminate the annual flooding that plagued the region by redirecting a part of the Min River's flow to a dry plain, and also resulted in the region becoming the most productive agricultural location in all of China. What makes this system especially amazing was the fact that they effectively divided a huge river in half, cut a channel through a mountain, and built an irrigation system that rivals modern day irrigation with relatively primitive tools. It was pretty cool to see, although some of my classmates were a little hesitant about crossing the shaky wooden rope bridges.

The second Heritage Site we visited was Mount Qingcheng, which is located right next to Dujiangyan. Mt. Qingcheng is one of most important centers of Daoism, a major Chinese religion/philosophy, and has several temples and palaces located on its slopes. It is also known for its many peaks (36 of them) and lush vegetation. Sadly, we were unable to see the upper half of the mountain because of damage caused by the 2008 earthquake. However, even with the damage, the activity on the mountain was quite lively. There were tons of people climbing the mountain, and you could find vendors all over the place selling trinkets and snacks. I bought a small pendent and a cool cucumber to munch on.

If all that wasn't enough, the next day I went with a small group of students to see the Jinsha Relics Museum in Chengdu. The museum is built right on the site where they excavated relics dating back to 1,000 BC. The museum displays many relics which includes things like pottery, ivory, jade, bronze and gold artifacts. Due to the unique culture of the area, many of the artifacts are one of a kind and cannot be found anywhere else in China. 

Christopher Robinson, a sustainability and Chinese major, is a student in the Chinese Language Flagship Program and will be a senior this fall. He is studying abroad in China this summer.