Next Stop: The stone box that sits on ancient glacial relics
Long before being named Best Tourism Village for 2023 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zhagana Village in Diebu County, northwest China's Gansu Province, was already known to people outside China.
Back in the 1920s, Austrian-American botanist Joseph Rock, who explored many remote regions in western China, visited Zhagana and wrote in his diary, "I have never seen such a magnificent view in my life. If the author of Genesis had been to Diebu, he would have chosen it as the birthplace of Adam and Eve." He first published photos of Zhagana in National Geographic, and these stunning photos later inspired James Hilton to write Shangrila in his famous novel "Lost Horizon."
Zhagana, which means "stone box" in the Tibetan language, is located at an altitude of over 3,000 meters. The village is surrounded by sword-like towering mountains, with the highest peak reaching 4,500 meters. The steep mountains and Tibetan-style houses constitute a "grand stone palace" or an ancient city constructed by natural rock walls.
Sitting on the Quaternary glacial relics, Zhagana village boasts of rolling mountains, lush forests, karst caves and glacial lakes. There are 17 canyons near Zhagana that are perfect hiking trails, and each is endowed with unique landscape.
For coming tourists, it's important to know that Zhagana Village is further divided into four small villages. From bottom to top, they are Dongwa Village, Yeri Village, Dari Village and Daiba Village. You can see the best sunset and cloud sea in Dari Village and immerse yourself in the rapeseed flower fields in July in Yeri Village.
Now, tourism has become a pillar industry of the local economy. Villagers gain respectable income through running homestays. According to statistics, Zhagana Scenic Area sold over 1 million tickets in 2021, becoming the most popular tourist attraction in Gansu Province.