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As the capital city of Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Dali City is situated at the western part of Yunnan Province and is 376 km (about 234 miles) west of Kunming. Covering an area of 1,468 sq km (about 362,750 acres) and consisting of more than 20 nationalities, the city is the political, commercial and cultural center of the whole prefecture. Although 65 % of citizens are of Bai nationality, Han, Yi, Hui, Lisu, Naxi, Tibetan and many other nationalities also reside in this beautiful land. Lying on the foot of green Cangshan Mountain and facing the crystal Erhai Lake, the city is renowned as Oriental Geneva for its pleasant weather, charming natural scenery, ancient culture and distinctive minority ethnical flavors.
Dali City enjoys a lot of sunshine and mild weather at each season and belongs to the low latitude highland monsoon climate.. With an annual average temperature 15.1 °C (59.2 °F) and an average yearly precipitation of 1,100 mm (43.3 ft), it's neither too hot nor too cold. So it's suitable to have a trip to the city all year round. However, since the most famous Dali Four Scenes, Snow of Cangshan Mountain, Moon of Erhai Lake, Flower of Shangguan and Wind of Xiaguan is a must-see for every tourist, it is best not to visit the city in winter as the wind of Xiaguan might be a little harsh.
Tracing back to fourth century BC, the ancestors of Bai people have settled in this area and created a brilliant Neolithic culture. At 221 BC, Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 BC) began to pay attention to the southwest of China and Yeyu County was established in Dali region during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD). As early as that time, Dali was already an important traffic junction for inner China and India, Burma. Shu State established Yunnan County during the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280) and Sui Dynasty (581 - 618) stopped an insurgence in Kunming at the year 597. In the seventh century, there were already six tribes residing in Yunnan and Nanzhao Kingdom was founded under the support of Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). As the capital of Nanzhao Kingdom, Dali became the commercial, cultural, political center of Southwest China. In 937, Nanzhao Kingdom was replaced by Dali Kingdom, which had controlled the region for three hundreds years until the last king captured by Mongolian. Yuan Dynasty(1271 - 1368) established Yunnan Province officially and Dali has become a famous tourist site. Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture was founded in 1956, and Xiaguan County combined with Dali County was titled Dali City since 1983.
Kunming - Dali - Lijiang - Shangri-la - Kunming
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