The sunrise over Mt. Niucao
When waiting for a sunset atop Mt. Niucao, I feel the highly erected windmills are like signal towers connecting to the sky, thinking that all things on earth are too small to be mentioned in the universe.
In Yuexi, mountains are connected and embrace each other while the habitat of humans is amidst the mountains.
Yes, Yuexi is not elsewhere, but just here.
A county with five distinctive traits
The Yuexi-Wuhan Expressway interchange in Hetu
A bird's-eye view of Yuexi urban area
In history, Yuexi County belonged to four counties. Divided by the Duocong mountain range of the Dabie Mountains, the northern part belonged to Huoshan and Shucheng, and the southern part to Qianshan and Taihu. According to historic records, those four counties were all under the jurisdiction of Yangzhou Prefecture in ancient times.
Comparatively speaking, Yuexi is a young city. The name of the county was designated as Yuexi (west of Yue, literally) in a then document declaring the administrative division of the new county is to the west of Qianyue (Mt. Tianzhu today and Nanyue in ancient times) ".
After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Yuexi County belonged to Anqing Special Administrative Zone under the Northern Anhui Administrative Office until April 12, 1952 when the northern Anhui administrative region and the southern Anhui administrative region (both provincial-level administrative units) were incorporated into Anhui Province. On March 29, 1971, Anqing Special Administrative Zone was renamed Anqing Administrative Zone and on February 27, 1979, Anqing Administrative Zone was renamed Anqing Administrative Region (prefecture-level), during which and up to now, the administrative subordination of Yuexi has remained unchanged.
Located in the hinterland of the Dabie Mountains between the Yangtze River and the Huaihe River, Yuexi is in the most southwest part of Anhui and borders Hubei Province. Now it has 24 townships and towns under its jurisdiction and is the only county in Anhui known as an old revolutionary base area, a poverty-stricken area, a pure mountainous area, an ecological demonstration area, and an ecological functioning area.
This uniqueness enables this county in western Anhui to have its own development path.
A county with five distinctive trA county featuring mountains and watersaits
A view of the Rainbow Waterfall in Yuexi
When talking about Yuexi, we have to mention its mountains and rivers, because it is a pure mountain county.
Thanks to its undulating land of hills, competing peaks and flowing gullies, Yuexi is honored as a national ecological demonstration area. The county is rich in natural resources with more than 2,160 kinds of faunal and floral species and its forest coverage rate is 75.55 percent.
The average altitude of the county is about 600 meters, with 69 peaks above 1,000 meters. These peaks are mainly distributed along the three mountain ranges of Tianyang, Qingsi and Duocong, forming a "five-line" connected ridge area that serves as the watershed of many rivers.
The highest peak Tianhejian (1771.01 meters) in the Dabie Mountains is here, which is also the highest peak in the whole of Anqing area and higher than the peak Baimajian. The two peaks are the highest parts of the Tianyang mountain range, serving as the northwest protective screen of Yuexi County. The Qingsi mountain range runs from the north to the south, where you can find Mt. Mingtang, a famous tourist attraction of Anqing.
The Tianmiao-section highway in Yuexi
Such a high-altitude mountainous area boasts amazing scenic spots everywhere. The highway section in Mt. Tianmiao at an altitude of 1,188 meters is known as the "most beautiful mountainous drive" in the Dabie Mountains. A road trip along the drive can let you enjoy the tranquil enchantment of the mountains.
The three mountain ranges of Tianyang, Qingsi and Duocong, starting from mountain forests and meandering ups and downs across many counties, are not only the major watersheds of the Dabie Mountains, but also the composing factors of the general topographic trend of Yuexi County.
Qingsi mountain range, a small watershed on the south slope of the Dabie Mountains, is the watershed for Changhe River and Qianshui River; Duocong mountain range is the main watershed in the eastern part of the Dabie Mountains, its northwest belonging to the Huaihe River basin, and its northeast, east and south belonging to Chaohu Lake, Caizi Lake and the Wanhe River systems of the Yangtze River basin. In the two river basins are 10 major rivers in four river systems. The rivers flowing in high mountains and pouring down over cliffs create unique scenery rare in the world.
A county with revolutionary traditions
Dabieshan Martyrs Cemetery
The Dabie Mountains where Yuexi is located has always been of great significance for strategists. If you occupy the Dabie Mountains, you can easily control Nanjing in the East and the Jianghan plain in the west.
Original Aspiration and Mission Memorial Museum
As early as 1924, there were organized activities in Yuexi by the Communist Party of China. The party organization was established in 1927. During the Agrarian Revolution War, Yuexi was an important part of the revolutionary base area of Hubei, Henan and Anhui. The 34th division of the Red Army was founded here, the 25th army of the Red Army once stationed here, the 11th army and the 27th army of the Red Army once fought here, and the 28th army of the Red Army was reorganized here.
The blood of the revolutionary martyrs soaked the land of the county. During the revolutionary war, 40,000 martyrs and victims died in Yuexi, accounting for a quarter of the population at that time. Martyr Wang Buwen, the first secretary of the CPC Anhui Provincial Committee, was born and fought in Yuexi. When visiting Dabieshan Martyrs Cemetery, Commander in Chief Zhu De of the PLA personally inscribed "the revolutionary martyrs immortal".
A county that has vigorously shaken off poverty
A corner of the relocation site for poverty alleviation in Yuanquan, Tiantang Town, Yuexi
This small city is nourished by the land. Originally, there was no city. People appeared gradually when they found water and soil that can be used to grow crops. Along the three mountain ranges people gathered as birds, settlements were slowly formed and a small city appeared finally.
However, the late development caused the root of poverty of Yuexi. Until August 2018 when it was deleted from the list of the national poor countries thanks to the efforts of local people for so many years, it had always been one of the poorest counties in Anhui and among the 29 poorest counties in the Dabie Mountains due to historical and natural conditions. For instance, in 1985, it was listed as one of the first national poverty-stricken counties, and in 2012, it was listed as a national key county for poverty alleviation and development in the Dabie Mountains. In 2014, 36,367 households with a population of 110.473 were filed in poverty registration and 65 villages rated as poor villages.
Yuexi vigorously promotes white shoots (zizania latifolia) growing for poverty alleviation and rural revitalization
It happens that the town where the county seat is located is called "paradise" in literal translation. This is the Eden of some people who come and don't want to leave.
A county famous for tourism and local specialties
Tourists enjoying skiing at Dabieshan Ski Resort
Azaleas in full bloom in Tianxia Scenic Area, Yuexi County
Nowadays, with the pavement and improvement of roads, the tourism of Yuexi becomes prosperous, featuring mountains, forests, springs, waterfalls, rare flowers, precious trees, stone temples, stone carvings, canyons, mountainous villages, and revolutionary memorial sites. Mt. Mingtang, Tianxia Bay, Mt. Sikong and more have been made tourist attractions. More and more visitors come to Yuexi to appreciated this land and the culture growing on this fertile land. For example, the 400-year old Yuexi Gaoqiang, a rare drama form unique to the county, is the legacy of the ancient Qingyangqiang Opera that prevailed in the entire country during the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty.
Gaoqiang Opera in performance, Yuexi
Yuexi mulberry paper, for another example, is a kind of hand-made special paper using the bark of mulberry trees grown mainly in Maojianshan Township as the raw material and is produced through more than 30 traditional processes. The making of the paper has a history of more than 1,700 years and each piece of the paper is the one and only craftwork in the world.
Tea-leaf picking in Yuexi for making Cuilan-brand tea
The special climate and geographic conditions offer unique flavors of agricultural products and has made the county a national ecological demonstration area. As Yuexi is rich in natural resources, Cuilan tea, white shoots (zizania latifolia in Yuexi), as well as many mountain products have become souvenirs for tourists visiting here. Take one product from each village, what you bring home will be the pieces of local customs and culture that have been deposited for so many years.
Mulberry paper in the making, Yuexi
A dish, a meal, a tea and a wine, all represent the warmth of life in a small town.
图片：储青余飞跃 吴岳生 高斌 周诚