Rice fields. China
Rice terraces in China bring to mind such a thought that the rice cultivation in this country is carried out by means of landscape design. These multi-colored “stained glass windows” are truly an incredible sight! From the bird’s-eye view, these fields can be compared with the canvases of the Impressionists.
It is believed that Asia (particularly China) began to grow rice almost 8000 years ago. The hilly terrain wasn’t suitable for this purpose and then the peasants have shown their ingenuity and changed the landscape, adapting it for agricultural needs. Thus, rice fields were created.
The names of the viewing platforms are penetrated by the Chinese wisdom – “Nine Dragons and five Tigers”, “seven stars around the moon” … Here, they are called “the most beautiful in the world” and “the only ones under the clouds.” A ticket to the observation platform costs 50 yuan.
Rice brings special incomparable glory to Yuanyang Terraces (Yuanyang County, Yunnan, China). In Yunnan, the terraces are located at an altitude of 200 to 2000 m above sea level and cover more than 20 000 km2. Multilevel stairs were carved on the hillsides, echoing the contours of the mountain slopes. This painstaking work continues generation after generation. In addition, it is a very responsible job – the slightest mistake can damage the fragile walls of terraces and the irrigation system, wash away precious top layer of the red soil. Rice, collected on the Ridge of the Dragon, is one of the best in the country.
Landscape of the rice fields varies depending on time of the year. In spring water irrigates the fields and terraces look like big shiny ribbons which intertwine around the slopes of mountains and hills. At the beginning of summer the fields acquire a fresh shade of green. In autumn the mountain slopes have magical golden and scarlet colors. Rice is planted from February to March, when the terraces are filled with spring water flowing from the mountain tops. It matures by September, and the time of harvest comes.
Usually, there is no influx of tourists here. The fact that there is no airport nearby, the roads are bad here and the outlying mountain ranges stops the travellers. But the positive side is that this is what allows to keep these landscapes in their pristine beauty.