Monday, January 26, 2009

!!~~!!Guoliang Tunnel!!~~!!

This tunnel is located in the Taihang Mountains which are situated in the Hunan Province of China.

There is an interesting story behind its development. Before 1972, access to the nearby Guoliang village was limited to a very difficult path carved into the mountainside. The village was nestled in a valley surrounded by towering mountains. It was basically cut off from civilization.
1972, a group of desperate villagers decided to take matters into their own hands - they would carve a road right into the side of the mountain by themselves! Shen Mingxin was the head of the village. He insisted that the villagers needed to embrace this project.

So they sold goats and herbs to buy hammers and steel tools. Thirteen strong villagers began the project. It took them five years to finish the 1,200-metre-long tunnel (a little less than a mile) which is about 5 meters high (15 ft) and 4 meters (12 ft) wide.

Not only was the project arduous, it was also dangerous. Some of the villagers died in accidents during construction. Undaunted, the others continued. On May 1, 1977, the tunnel was opened to traffic.. .

There are more than thirty windows. One article suggested they carved windows mainly as a way to push the rubble out.

In the picture above on the right you can see a rubble pile. Another reason for the windows might have been the need for light due to lack of electricity! After all, this was a remote village cut off from the world.

Believe it or not, this story has a very happy ending. The villagers incredible gamble paid off in a big way. At the turn of the century, China began to open its borders to the rest of the world. It was decided the benefits of tourism outweighed the disruption of having outsiders tromping around the country. So government officials visited this area and decided it was a perfect tourist attraction. Suddenly the little village that had been cut off from the world had thousands of visitors from every part of the world!

Here is a writeup from a Chinese Tourism Website: Turning to the north, we came to Taihang Mountains in Huixian County. The local government has explored several scenic spots to develop tourism, among which the most attractive were Guoliang Cave with its red mountains (exposed red shale). Local villagers cut a tunnel road through the mountain and named it Guoliang Cave.

Before the construction of the tunnel, Guoliang Village was almost cut off from its surrounding towns and villages. A dangerous ladder on the side of a precipitous cliff was the only route in and out of the village.

Today the situation has totally changed. Guoliang Village has become a pearl of Taihang Mountains because of its unique scenery and stone buildings.guoliang tunnel 10a.jpgguoliang tunnel 11a.jpgGuoliang Tunnel 15.jpgMind you, this work was done by 13 untrained villagers who had to trade practically every animal they owned to buy modern tools.

They had no idea how their gamble would pay off. For five years, they labored. Nor could they tend to their farms very much while they worked. In poker terms, this is called "Going All In." They literally bet the farm on this project!

I doubt seriously that Hollywood has ever heard of this place, but I can imagine the story would make for a very interesting movie.

certainly hope they keep a close watch on traffic. Otherwise those tourists in the picture on the left would be toast. It isn't like they have any place to hide from an oncoming car. I guess they would have to throw themselves against the side of the rock. Or maybe they could take their chances and jump off the side.

No comments: