It was unfortunate when we visited the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park the weather conditions were very misty so we were not able to have a complete view of the spectacular sandstone pillar formations which were the inspiration for James Cameron’s world of Pandora in the movie Avatar.
The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a unique national forest park located in Zhangjiajie City in northern Hunan Province in the People’s Republic of China. It is one of several national parks within the Wulingyuan Scenic Area.
In 1982 it was recognized as China’s first national forest park with an area of 4,810 ha (11,900 acres). Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is part of a much larger 397.5 km2 (153.5 sq mi) Wulingyuan Scenic Area. In 1992, Wulingyuan was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site It was then approved by the Ministry of Land and Resources as Zhangjiajie Sandstone Peak Forest National Geopark (3,600 square kilometres (1,400 sq mi)) in 2001. In 2004, Zhangjiajie Geopark was listed as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
The most notable geographic features of the park are the pillar-like formations that are seen throughout the park. Although resembling karst terrain, this area is not underlain by limestones and is not the product of chemical dissolution, which is characteristic of limestone karst. They are the result of many years of physical, rather than chemical, erosion. Much of the weathering which forms these pillars are the result of expanding ice in the winter and the plants which grow on them. The weather is moist year round, and as a result, the foliage is very dense. The weathered material is carried away primarily by streams. These formations are a distinct hallmark of Chinese landscape, and can be found in many ancient Chinese paintings.
One of the park’s quartz-sandstone pillars, the 1,080-metre (3,540 ft) Southern Sky Column, had been officially renamed “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain”. According to park officials, photographs from Zhangjiajie inspired the floating Hallelujah Mountains seen in the film, Avatar. The film’s director and production designers said that they drew inspiration for the floating rocks from mountains from around the world, including those in Hunan province.
The Rocky Natural Bridge (Tiansheng Qiao) is also known as the First Bridge under the Sun because the natural rock bridge is high between two mountain peaks and is majestic. The bridge is only 2 meters wide, 5 meters thick, and spans 50 meters in the relative height of about 400 meters. Because of weathering and erosion. The lower rocks have collapsed and the Natural bridge was formed.
The towering Bailong Elevator, literally ‘hundred dragons sky lift’, was opened to the public in 2002. It can transport visitors to the top of a 326 m (1,070 ft) from its foot in less two minutes. It is the world’s tallest lift. The structure is composed of three separate glass elevators, each of which can carry up to 50 people at a time.
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One thought on “Pandora – Zhangjiajie National Forest Park”
What a fabulous place!