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2000-Year-Old Villages

5 December 2005

Danba is a Tibet Autonomous Region in Sichuan province in Western China, with a population of 58,000 people.

The altitude in this region varies between 4,000 m to 5,820 m above sea level, which brings rapid landscape change in the low to high altitude sequences between lush grassland to snow-capped mountains.

Danba has been known as Kingdom of a Thousand Castles, among which the tallest tower measures 60 meters in height.

It is also the home for an important archaeological site containing stone coffins in Neolithic tombs.

The majority of the castles in Danba are timberstone structures, while the earliest surviving tower, dating 2,000 years back, was built of rubble fieldstone alone.

The structural shapes of the castles include square, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, twelve-sides and thirteen-sides.

These Tibetan style buildings typically have 3 to 5 floors, with the external walls richly decorated with religious symbols or images, such as the sun, the moon and stars. Accompanied by colourful sutra flags fluttering in wind before the gates and over the roofs, the castles of ancient times truly induce mystical feelings in visitors approaching the villages.

Ever since ancient times, during harvest seasons, villages would run beauty contests.

The girls here have long been praised for their beauty and charm, which earns Danba the nickname "Beauty Valley."

As the legend goes, the long ago after the collapse of a dynasty, a large number of imperial ladies fled the palace and took refuge in this seclude community.


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