Ya’an, the western rimland of the Sichuan Basin, is in the middle of Sichuan Province. It faces Chengdu and Leshan cities on the east and connects respectively with Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on the north, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on the west and Liangshan Yi-minority Autumous Prefecture on the south. With a long and narrow topographic feature, Ya’an has two rivers—the Qingyi River and the Dadu River running through its region. Its geographic coordinates are between north latitude 28°50′10″and 30°56′40″and east longitude. It adjoints Chengdu on the northeast, neighboring Leshan City on the southeast, linking Liangshan Yi-minority Autonmous Prefecture on the south, adjoining west to Ganzi Tibetan Autunomous Prefecture and bordering north on the Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Since ancient times Ya’an has been the communications center and important military place in inland to communicate with Tibet and other minorities in Yunnan border areas as well as a national corridor, major commodity distributing center and the main routeway to the southern Silk Road.
With an area of 15,314 sq km, Ya’an City has a population of 1,525,800 at then end of 2002 with a population density of 99.6 people/km². The City government administers one district and seven counties: the Yucheng District, Mingshan County, Rongjing County, Hanyuan County, Shimian County, Tianquan County, Lushan County and Baoxing County. The government is stationed at the Yucheng District. There are altogether 23 nationalities including Han, Tibetan, Yi, etc., among which the Han people account for 96.6 percent. The five places (Tianquan County, Lushan County, Baoxing County, Rongjing County and the Yucheng District) have been approved to be old revolutionary base areas.
The climate of the whole Ya’an is tridimensional climate with annual average temperature 14.4 ～17.9℃, annual average sunshine hours of 1，000～1，200, 280 to 300 frost-free days and mean annual precipitation of over 1000 mm, some counties like Ya’an and Tianquan reaching over 1,700 mm. With an agreeable monsoon climate of the subtropical region: annual average temperature 16.2℃, being warm in winter and cool in summer and fresh air, Ya’an enjoys the good name of “the City of Rain”. From time immemorial Ya’an has won the reputations of “Rain Screen of West China” and “Leaked Sky in West Sichuan”. During the whole 365 days of the year, rainy days have taken up 180 days and with the mean annual precipitation 1,800 mm and the total hours of precipitation in a year reaches 2,319 hours, the city is really worthy of the name “City of the Rain”.
Ya’an has more than 289 kinds of wildlives, among which there are six rare wild animals. Ya’an is also the earliest place to find giant pandas as well as the most-existing-panda-inhabiting region, the number of giant pandas account for over 50 percent of the total existing number in the country. The miles of forest regions connecting Baoxing, Tianquan and Lushan counties are called “Hometown of Pandas”.
Ya’an is unique in its tourist resources. The Mengding Mountain, provincial scenic spots characterized as tea culture, is one of the main sources in the history of Chinese tea planting, gathering the quietness of Qingchenng Mountain and elegance of Mountain E-mei and integrating humanistic and natural perfectly. Staying there and enjoying the beauties around you will feel like forgetting to leave for home. Besides, there are protected natural relics of the Fengtong village in Boaxing and Laba River Natural Preservation in Tianquan both famous for rare wild animals like giant pandas and golden monkeys, historic cultural sites represented by “Fulin Culture” , “Yandao ancient town”, Gao Yi Grave-carvings in the Han Dynasty and Fanmin Steles and the former site of the Long March of the Red Army represented by the Anshunchang in Shimian and Jiajin Mountain in Baoxing. The Tianwan River Scenic Spots in Shimian County, Gongga Mountain part of the National-level Glacier Park, has silver snowy peaks, breathtaking waterfalls and lush green seas of woods. Among the many beautiful natural sceneries, there distribute lots of key places of interest and historic sites. The most representative is the Gao Yi Grave-carvings in the Han Dynasty in Ya’an City, the Key Cultural Relic under State-level Protection, which is vigorous and simple in feature, fully embodying the beauty of masculinity of “Jian’an style”. The Fanmin Steles of the Han Dynasty at the suburb of Lushan County and the WangHui Kistvaen are well-known for fine calligraphy and outstanding relief carving craftsmanship. The Monument of the Red Army crossing the Dadu River by force at the Anshunchang in Shimian is shining now and forever to inspire the generations.