Stairway to Heaven - Hani Terrace

Updated: 2007-07-31 08:41

An amazing landscape, an art form, or a miracle - whatever you call it, taking these giant staircases on the picturesque mountains in southern China, you may reach heaven.

On the banks of Honghe River in South China's Yunnan Province are millions of acres of agricultural and ecological wonders - otherwise known as the Honghe Hani Terrace. Making full use of the special geological and climactic conditions in the area, the Hani people have found a perfect combination between human civilization and the environment. In terms of size and coverage, the Hani Terrace is largest in the world.

The Hani People, creators of this wonder, originated from the Tibetan Plateau on the upper reaches of the Yellow River. After centuries of migration, a group of the ancient Qiang people settled down in the Ailao Mountains in Southern Yunnan, and became today's Hani race. About 600,000 Hani people still dwell in the region and their ancestors totally altered the landforms there to grow crops to feed themselves, yet the ecology was not damaged. In fact, they have made the place even more attractive, presenting a perfect testimony to harmony between man and nature. The terrace shows that human intervention doesn't necessarily mean destroying nature.

World Heritage candidate

Noted for its profound culture, the Hani Terrace is also famous for its beautiful natural landscapes, including mountains, forests and misty water in the Ailao Mountain area. The Hani Terrace is a site with the calibre of "World Natural and Cultural Heritage" issued by UNESCO. The bidding work is being supported by the local government, and is now well underway.