Fengkai's tourism enjoyed substantial growth during the Spring Festival Golden Week this year, with the number of tourists and tourist income double the same period last year.
According to the county's tourism bureau, tourists come mainly from the Pearl River Delta within Guangdong Province. Some are from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and nearby Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Most have a common destination: the Fengkai National Geological Park, China's first geological park named after a county.
The park is located in Fengkai County in the city of Zhaoqing in South China's Guangdong Province. It covers an area of 1,326 square kilometers with a core area of 117 square kilometers.
The Ministry of Land and Resources approved the establishment of the park on August 31, 2005.
It is the first geological park in the Pearl River Valley with abundant geological relics, such as karst landform, granite landform, Hoodo rocks, fossils of ancient man (in the Old Stone Age) and animals, mine relics, geological disaster relics and river relics.
The park is not only a museum of geological resources, but also a picturesque place with uncommon scenery, including huge rocks, strangely shaped peaks, deep caves, forests, green mountains and clear waters.
The most remarkable site in the park might be a huge rock called "Daban Rock," the largest rock in the world. With colorful stripes, the single rock forms a hill itself.
A giant granite hemisphere formed by faulting and weathering, the rock is 1,365 meters long, 695 meters wide and 191.3 meters high, with a perimeter of 4,100 meters and occupying an area of 73.4 hectares.
The only comparable rock in the world is Ayers Rock in central Australia. However, while Ayers Rock is composed of several layers of stone, Daban Rock is made up of a single huge, smooth stone without any cracks.
A folk legend tells us that a goddess of remote antiquity left behind the rock as she tried to patch the sky with stone blocks.
From afar, Daban Rock looks like a colorful waterfall.
The park is also famous for the Sungling landform, formed through more than 300 million years of ecological evolution.
The Karst landform in the park is representative of the sub-tropical Karst landform and very similar to that of Guilin.
The Hejiang River flowing through the park is a branch of the Pearl River, China's third largest river. An extremely tortuous river with countless twists and turns, the Hejiang River in the park, however, flows gently and its clear water reflects the green mountains by its banks.
The fossils and relics of ancient man in the park date back 150,000 years, and provide a unique and systematic record of human evolution in South China.
"The park is special in the fact that it has abundant and concentrated geological resources, which are rare and beautiful," says Zhang Chengbo, a researcher from the Centre of Earth Environment and Resources in Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou.
Zhang summarizes the park's characteristics as "small and exquisite, complete and diversified."
"Besides, the area has the profound cultural background of being the birthplace of South China Culture."
Fengkai County is located in the west of Guangdong Province and on the upper reaches of the Pearl River, neighbouring Wuzhou and Hezhou in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The county, with an area of 2,723 square kilometers and a population of 470,000, holds a strategic geographical position on the border of Guangdong and Guangxi.
Since ancient times, it has been called "the Gateway linking Guangdong and Guangxi" and served as a hub for political, economic and cultural communication between South and Central China.
Fengkai has the distinction of being the earliest local administrative centre in the region.
In 111 BC, Emperor Wudi of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC AD24) established the Jiaozhou state in South China and chose Fengkai as the capital.
Since then, Fengkai County has been a cultural centre and produced a lot of intellectuals, such as Chen Qin and Chen Yuan, pioneers of the study of Confucian classics in the Western Han Dynasty, and Muzi, a scholar who promoted the sinicization of Buddhism from India.
(China Daily March 31, 2006)