A Place of Picturesque Landscapes and a Bright Pearl in the Cultural and Ecological Landscape Area along the Yellow River

Huayuankou Scenic Area of the Yellow River is located in Huiji District, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, the starting point of the mid- and downstream of the Yellow River, covering an area of 12.85 square kilometers. The initial construction was based on the flood control project of the Yellow River in 1989. The scenic area was honored as “the National Water Conservancy Scenic Area” by Ministry of Water Resources in 2002, the “3A Tourist Area” by National Tourism Administration in 2007, “the National Patriotic Education Base for the Youth” by Zhengzhou City with its convenient transportation, distinctive culture and ecology and abundant tourism resources. It is the best tourist attraction for people to know about the Yellow River.

Huayuankou is so named because of the Dahuayuan Ferry of the Ministry of Personnel in Ming Dynasty, and is known to the world for 1938 Yellow River Flood. In the scenic area, there is Jiangjun Dam under the theme of “thriving in peace and prospering China”, the Memorial Square of 1938 Yellow River Flood with the theme of “remembering the history”, the Two Bridge Sightseeing and Entertainment Spot with the theme of “looking forward to the future”, etc. For its special geographical location, Huayuankou Scenic Area is not only an important destination for state and party leaders, scholars in water conservancy industry, tourists from home and abroad to know about the Yellow River, but a good place for citizens in Zhengzhou to go for leisure and entertainment. It is also honored as the “backyard garden” of Zhengzhou City.

It is a special historical mission of the time that we should broaden the culture functions of the Yellow River in addition to flood prevention by building Huayuankou into an excellent cultural project. It is also the consensus of Huijin people that we need to promote and develop the culture of Yellow River harnessing culture. To meet the demands of the leading party group that “creating new routes, playing a leading role and setting up a good image”, the Yellow River Huijin Bureau has been striving to exploit and present vivid Yellow River culture elements based on the existing landscape in the past five years, enrich the culture contents and pay adequate attention to cultural tourism project construction. The bureau has invested tens of millions of yuan in total to build Heyun Stele Forest, complete the North Square upgrading and the comprehensive improvement of the scenic area, thus building up fully-functional a children entertainment area and an operation center, upgrading 3 standardized parking lots to accommodate 900 cars at the same time and building 2 new standardized toilets. The improved service facilities in the scenic area have effectively solved such problems as traffic jams, disordered operation and arbitrarily building, and greatly improved the sightseeing level and service quality. According to an incomplete statistics, Huayuankou Scenic Area receives 3 million visitors and undertakes nearly 1 thousand reception tasks each year, and the tourists received have a progressive tendency.  

In addition, Yellow River Huijin Bureau has insisted on the “Four in One” yellow river harnessing philosophy, the principle of “displaying the features, ecology first, actively integrating and carrying out year by year” and the “Three Line” requirement of standardized dike construction to broaden tree planting area in the scenic region, plant and breed wave protection forests, economic forests, ecological forests, flowers and plants in the back river silting zone, give full play to party members, leaders, staff and volunteers in carrying out activities of tree planting under the theme of “I will make Zhengzhou greener”, “protecting our mother river, setting up a good image by tree planting” and rubbish picking-up of “protecting Yellow River, building beautiful Henan” and “we are in the action of protecting our mother river”. Besides, the atmosphere of “love, protect and improve the green city” has been created through the propaganda ways of LED screens, labels and logos. So the “soft power” of ecology has been stably improved through comprehensively improving the environment in the region, cleaning up dead trees and branches, optimizing the Memorial Square of 1938 Yellow River Flood and other key projects. At last, we have managed to make ecology protection as the “life line” of inheriting and spreading the civilization of the Yellow River.

Siji Park: Siji Sightseeing Botanical Garden (commonly known as Siji Park) is located at the 6+100 section of the Yellow River Dike, covering an area of 350 mu and enjoying over 40 rare flowers and trees. It is comprised of the four parks of the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Visitors could enjoy the sight of red peach blossoms and green willows here in spring, and bamboos and crape myrtles is summer, various fruits in autumn and plum blossoms and pines in winter. The four seasons here are all decorated by lush trees, colorful and beautiful flowers and chirping birds.

Jiangjun Dam: It is the No.90 Dam of Huayuankou Emergency Project, initially built in 1754. It is so named because people said that there was a temple in the reign period of Emperor Jiaqing in honor of General Chen regulating waters here. After several years of reinforcement, Jiangjun Dam has won the honor of the Top Dam of Yellow River with its 260 years history and 23-meter-deep root stones. After the foundation of PRC, state and party leaders never miss Jiangjun Dam during their visits to Huayuankou. In April 2009, Xi Jinping, who then served as China’s Vice President, visited the water regulating practices of Yellow River here during his visit in Henan Province.

Flood Taming Iron Rhinoceros: At the west of Jiangjun Dam, there is a statue of Iron Rhinoceros, also known as Iron Bull or Unicorn, which was built by Yu Qian, the Minister of War in Ming Dynasty. In ancient China, people believed that it was water monsters or dragons that caused flood, while such creatures feared rhinoceros. The Iron Rhinoceros status near the Yellow River was built for preventing floods also because of “the Five-element Theory” in traditional Chinese culture. Specifically, the five elements are mutually reinforced and restricted each other, among which “Iron” is a kind of “Gold”, which may reinforce water; while “Rhinoceros” or “Bull” is “Soil”, which is used to restrict water.   

1938 Huayuankou Embankment Breach Ruin: In June 1938, the Chinese Nationalist forces exploded Huayuankou Embankment Breach in an attempt to halt the rapid advance of Japanese forces, causing the Yellow River changed channels for 8 years and 9 months, and 12.5 million people in 44 counties and cities of Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu suffered from flood. The disaster finally claimed 890,000 deaths. The ruin is located at the 11+500-meter dam pile with a rectangle sculpture wall, which is 3.8 meters high with a carved word “1938 Embankment Breach”. A series of large-scale relievo presents the picture of the flooding river and homeless people.  

The Memorial Square of 1938 Yellow River Flood: It includes South Square and North Square. The north one is close to the Yellow River with the exhibits representing the environmental warfare in history; while the south one is built for commemoration. There was a stair-step shape altar with three platforms and nine steps. The diameter of the top platform is 12 meters while that of the bottom one is 24 meters. Two stele pavilions connecting by a huge red marble relievo (2.8 meters high and 100 meters long) are erecting at the south of the square. The western stele pavilion is built in 1947 by the Nationalist Government in central China when leveeing the breach closure; while the eastern one is built in 1997 by People’s Government of Henan Province and Yellow River Conservancy Commission to record the fact of history. The center of the two stele pavilions is the breach closure leveed in 1947.

Boundary Monument of the Embankment Breach: To give visitors a more direct and visual image of the 1938 Yellow River Flood, a boundary monument was built near the east and west entrances, whose whole body is made of white FRP. The monument in inverted triangle shape and with pyramid structure makes people feel adored, just like standing at the foot of a high mountain. The center part is delicately designed and carries a splendid feeling. The embracing of water waves and rocks symbolizes the human beings and nature. The danger and risk displayed by the water and bank shows the peril of the embankment breach as well as its boundary. The boundary monument, showing delicate and meaningful culture contents may provide visitors a large space to think and imagine.

Heyun Stele Forest: It is located in the south part of the standardized dike, 1,000 kilometers east of the gate of Huayuankou Scenic Area, covering an area of over 130 mu. The project was planned and prepared in 2007, kicked off in March 2012, and ended in December that year. The overall layout is based on the Yellow River basin trend and is displayed with equal scaling through four parts: approach channel, upstream, midstream and downstream. Yellow River culture is revealed with time sequence and cultural line. To show the unity of form and spirit in a better way, the sightseeing road and Yellow River direction are cleverly integrated, and the main route and the approach channel are showed in different colors. There are quotes and inscriptions of great figures on the approach channel, and the steles of the exhibits of the upstream, midstream and downstream of the Yellow River are verses, ditties, odes and songs composed by scholars in different generations under the theme of Yellow River.      

Strolling in today’s Huayuankou Scenic Area, you would feel like wandering in a green forest sea. On the shore of the Yellow River, the trees and waters are accompanying with each other. There are poplars and willows, purple-leaf plums, privets, yulan magnolias, crape myrtles, silk trees and other wind wave protection trees on the regions near the river. Siji Park, National Wetland Park, Amusement Park, Jiangjun Dam, the Embankment Breach Monument, Heyun Stele Forest, the Memorial Square of 1938 Yellow River Flood and other ecological communities with profound Yellow River cultural deposits bring out the best in each other with the entertainment facilities. They have combined ideally with the “Three Points and One Line” Demonstration Project Standardized Dike, which has won China Water Conservancy Project Quality Award (Da Yu) in 2008, forming a well-proportioned eco-cultural landscape belt boasting lush trees and the harmonious relationship between human and water. It also plays an important role in promoting the urban and rural greening and improvement, building forest city and sharing ecological culture in Zhengzhou.

Copyright by Zhengzhou Municipal Tourism Administration