ShuDao is part of the Tentative list of China in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Shudao, the ancient road system connecting Central and mountainous Southwest China for more than 2,300 years, is featured by its paths wriggling in the precipitous mountains in Northern Sichuan. Over millennia, ShuDao linked China’s two major civilizations: Yangtze Civilization in South and Yellow River Civilization in North. The property contains a combination of spectacular natural landscapes of karst, Danxia, graben basin, and anticline landforms. The area has been recognised as a key area for biodiversity conservation.
Map of ShuDaoLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Shudao are epic roads built during the Shu state (now roughly Sichuan and part of Shaanxi provinces). Because both areas are very mountainous the roads were built along cliff-sides. If you have been to a mountain in China you may have come across these crazy boardwalks that go along a cliff-side called 'gallery road' - well basically these are the same idea but not just for tourist spots. It is hard to image that before these were the only ways to transport goods because it is very dangerous. I would love to see them inscribed immediately for only one big problem: most of them are now destroyed and rebuilt for tourism only. If there is enough authenticity then I would be happy though.
I saw the Shudao when visiting Jianmenguan, an important battleground during the Chinese civil war. I actually came for the mountain and now for the road and didn't know it was on any tentative list (or what the tentative list is at the time). The site is easily visited from the nearby town of Guangyuan. A bus goes there regularly and the city has a big bus hub as well as an airport.
There is a massive sign pointing you towards the now unfortunately rebuilt road before you enter the park. I went for the park instead but it also has some of the Shudao inside anyway. I took both cable cars up because it was so hot, then you still have to climb up further on either "normal" or "crazy" paths up to the top. The view is impressive. Again, I don't exactly understand the strategy behind the mountain roads especially as the area is surrounded by flat lands but apparently it was a military strategy - with the road often burnt after passing it to prevent being followed or attacked. Kind of silly for modern warfare. Also once the automobile made it to China these roads were basically useless because nobody could drive on them. New roads would just be built over them, destroying the history in the process.
Even if not inscribed a visit to Jianmenguan is totally worth it. Maybe not the oddly placed civil war mannequins in the forests.
2015 Added to Tentative List
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