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Guilin, China's Magical Silver Cave

“Guilin's scenery is best among all under heaven,” the Chinese say, and this is particularly true to the landscape of Guilin's famous karst caves, including the legendary Silver Cave which is thought to be the most beautiful in China. 

Karst topography is a geological phenomenon that takes place when acidic water penetrates the bedrock of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum, creating fissures, rivers, and complex underground drainage systems.  The results are spectacular underground caves and rivers, which often appear to be sound stages for a complex fantasy films.  Guilin's Silver Cave is one such place, filled with extraordinary stalactites (pointy formations that look like icicles, which hang from the ceiling of caves) and stalagmites (rounded-toped mounds or formations of mineral deposits that thrust up from the floor of a cave).  Only opened to the public in 1999, the Silver Cave today is one of the main attractions of the region.

The cave is called “silver” because of the shimmering and sparkling aspect of the formations which run below a total of 12 mountain peaks.  The cave contains some of the most diverse stalagmites and stalactites in the region in a rainbow of vibrant colors. 

Highlights of the Silver Cave are the 20-meter high waterfall, the “Music Screen,” which acts almost like a xylophone, making evocative tones if knocked gently, and the “Mirror Pool” that reflects the stunning formations.  There are also three natural-formed sculptures that resemble a Buddha lecturing the faithful on scripture; a “Pearl Umbrella,” the formation of which has baffled geologists for decades, is said to have supernatural abilities to quell bad weather and subdue demons; and the “Single Column,” made up of numerous twisted branches.

Myth and legend surround the Silver Cave, the most popular being that a rebel army sheltered in the caves during the Qing Dynasty Kangxi period.  When forced to flee, locals believe that they concealed a great treasure in the caves which has never been found, despite many treasure hunters scouring the caves for its remnants.

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Posted: 3/29/2016 2:57:48 PM by Alexander + Roberts