Guilin History


Location in ChinaCoordinates: 25°16′N 110°17′E

Guilin, formerly romanized as Kweilin, is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It is situated on the west bank of the Li River and borders Hunan to the north. Its name means “Forest of Sweet Osmanthus”, owing to the large number of fragrant sweet osmanthus trees located in the city. The city has long been renowned for its scenery of karst topography and is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations.

In 314 BC, a small settlement was established along the banks of the Li River.

During the Qin Dynasty’s (221–207 BC) campaigns against the state of Nanyue, the first administration was set up in the area around Guilin.

In 111 BC, during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Shi An County was established, which could be regarded as the beginning of the city.

In AD 507, the town was renamed Guizhou.


Administrative divisions of Guilin

Guilin prospered in the Tang and Song dynasties but remained a county. The city was also a nexus between the central government and the southwest border, and it was where regular armies were placed to guard that border. Canals were built through the city so that food supplies could be directly transported from the food-productive Yangtze plain to the farthest southwestern point of the empire.

In 1921, Guilin became one of the headquarters of the Northern Expeditionary Army led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

In 1940, the city acquired its present name.

In 1981, Guilin was listed by the State Council as one of the four cities (the other three being Beijing, Hangzhou and Suzhou) where the protection of historical and cultural heritage, as well as natural scenery, should be treated as a priority project.

Administrative divisions

Guilin administers seventeen county-level divisions, including six districts, nine counties and twoautonomous counties.

  • District:
    • Xiufeng District (秀峰区)
    • Xiangshan District (象山区)
    • Diecai District (叠彩区)
    • Qixing District (七星区)
    • Yanshan District (雁山区)
    • Lingui District (临桂区)
  • County:
    • Yangshuo County (阳朔县)
    • Lingchuan County (灵川县)
    • Xing’an County (兴安县)
    • Quanzhou County (全州县)
    • Yongfu County (永福县)
    • Ziyuan County (资源县)
    • Guanyang County (灌阳县)
    • Pingle County (平乐县)
    • Lipu County (荔浦县)
  • Autonomous county:
    • Gongcheng Yao Autonomous County (恭城瑶族自治县)
    • Longsheng Various Nationalities Autonomous County (龙胜各族自治县)


International relations

Twin towns—Sister cities

Guilin is twinned with:

  • Japan – Nishikatsura, Yamanashi, Japan, Lingchuan County (灵川县)
  • Japan – Kumamoto City, Japan, Guilin(桂林)
  • Japan – Toride City, Japan, – Guilin(桂林)
  • Japan – Miho, Ibaraki, Japan- Lingui( 临桂)
  • South Korea – Jeju, South Korea
  • New Zealand – Hastings, New Zealand
  • Poland – Toruń, Poland
  • United States – Orlando, United States
  • Mexico – Tlaxcoapan, Hidalgo, Mexico
  • Malaysia – Langkawi, Malaysia

The Guilin relationship with the New Zealand city Hastings started in 1977, after a research scientist, Dr Stuart Falconer identified a number of common areas of interest between the two cities, including horticulture and their rural-urban mix. In 1997 Guilin commenced an exchange relationship with Ōta, Gunma, Japan.

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