Songpan Ancient Town, situated in Jin’an Town of Songpan County, is nearly 200 miles from Chengdu (the capital city of Sichuan Province). Historically, it was known as Songzhou Town and was considered the ‘West Portal of Sichuan’. Due to its advantageous situation geographically, it functioned as a military base from the time of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It has recently gained a reputation as one of the most interesting historical towns in Sichuan Province.
Upon entering, visitors will immediately be impressed by the grand and ancient constructions before them. Although founded in the Tang Dynasty and rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the city gates and city wall here have all been fairly well-preserved through the centuries.
The town as a whole consists of both an inner city and an outer city. There are five city gates in the inner city, facing north, south, east, west and southwest. There are also two city gates in the outer city. Each gate was built from vast flagstones, with its ceiling shaped in a semi circle. Stones at the base of the gates are embellished with delicate engravings.
While Songpan can be a charming city in its own right, the countryside surrounding the city offers a variety of tourist attractions. The hills surrounding the city are visual delights of Tibetan cattle herders leading their livestock over rolling grasses, endless valleys, and generally beautiful landscape. All of this can be seen through affordable horseback riding outlets on the outskirts of the city.
Song Pan, which lies 3000m above the sea level and was my starting point for 3-day long trekking to the surrounding mountains (some of them are over 4000m).