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Monday, December 27, 2010

Lanzhou, China (Lots of Pics)

Lanzhou, China (兰州,中国) is the capital of Gansu Province, which is pretty much smack in the middle of China. Here's a map - (Click on any of the pictures to see them full size)

Lanzhou has about 3.5 million people, so it's a pretty good size city. It has a big petrochemical industry in the city, so the pollution is pretty bad...really bad, actually. Sometimes parts of the city are obscured due to all the pollution. Lanzhou was put on the map for being a major stop on the Silk Road for foreign traders centuries ago, but it was eclipsed by Xi'an, a city to the southeast of Lanzhou, where the Silk Road ended.

Interestingly enough, Lanzhou built the first bridge across the Yellow River:

It is located in a semiarid part of China and is about on the latitude that Chicago is on, so those of you who have been to Chicago have an idea of the weather (especially the winter). My National Geographic Traveler says that Gansu Province's winters is 'harsh' and 'brutal' and 'punishing at times'.....yeah, that's encouraging. 

A really cool place I'd like to go is here: the Binglingsi Grottos. It's about 70km away from Lanzhou. The caves and grottoes are carved into the side of Xiaojishi Mountain and were built between the 5th and 19th centuries. Most of the caves were built during the Tang dynasty (618-907AD). There are almost 200 caves and niches featuring murals, 694 stone statues and 82 clay figures.

Xi'an, which marked the end of the Silk Road, has enjoyed a much more prosperous run than Lanzhou and tons of people have told me to go to Xi'an, so I guess I'll be going there. There's lots of stuff to do, from the various museums and historical stuff to riding your bike around the old city walls. It's a day trip, about like a trip to Dallas from Tyler or something like that.

Yes, that is a KFC banner.

Lanzhou University of Technology (兰州理工大学), the University I'll be going to, is, like the name indicates, a mainly technologically oriented school, but their English department is growing as the need for learning English grows. Interestingly enough, I will be in the first class of international students to ever go to this school and the first from ETBU to ever go to the school for a semester. So, naturally, this is a big opportunity for me (and it looks good on a résumé). I will be taking Chinese Language classes (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking), a class on Chinese Culture, and my Senior Thesis. Everybody who has looked at my Facebook Group, "Austin is Studying Abroad!", you have already seen the pics of the school, but you can always check out Google Images:


  1. sooo, you're going to bring an inhaler and wear a medical mask all the time to protect your lungs and brain right? ;) I need to do a post like this, with pictures, history and places I want to visit. I'm so excited for you Austin, this looks gorgeous!!!! You are going to poo your pants with all the amazing history you'll be surrounded by!

  2. You should!!!! I'd love to see where you're going to be!!

  3. Hey Austin.Ive been reading your stuff about Lanzhou University of Tech.I'm a Kenyan and currently living in Shanghai,studying at Tongji Uni.I plan to join Lanzhou this fall.How is life for international students,particularly the accomodation

    1. Hey Lisa, I'm really sorry I haven't replied sooner!!!! I've been in Lanzhou for the past 3 weeks and I've only just gotten home!!!

      The accomodations at L.U.T. were very goo - I got a fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment all to myself for free! It was really great! It was the same type of apartment the teachers get, so I was very happy about that.

      Because L.U.T. has only been doing international stuff for about a year (I was the first international student ever), they are willing to do all they can do make you happy. They want to improve their reputation in China and abroad, and so they'll always be there if you need something and they'll do whatever they can to make you happy.

      The foreign teachers there are also really great - Stacie is wildly popular and it's impossible not to like her. She'll be at L.U.T. forever lol. I'm not sure who all will be there in the fall, but you can definitely count on Stacie to give you some tips on surviving - Lanzhou is MUCH different than Shanghai. You won't find many western restaurants and hardly any English speakers off campus. It's a great place.

      That's about all I can say without any more specific questions. I'm not sure how much you've read and how much you know, but if you have any more questions, my email is - feel free to send me an email! I'll answer it promptly this time, I promise :)

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