Reputed to be the 'Underground Pearl of Beijing', the Shihua Cave (Stone Flower Cave) is located in Nancheying Village, Fangshan District, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of downtown Beijing. Deriving its name from a large number of colorful stone flowers, the cave was discovered in 1446 and is a representative landscape of karst caves in North China. A variety of stalagmites, stalactites, stone waterfalls, stone curtains, stone towers, stone pearls and crystal flowers make visitors feel they are in an underground palace.
With a constant temperature of 13oC (55.4oF), the Shihua Cave is a rare seven-layer one, whose lowest layer is an underground river. At present, only the first four layers from the top are open to public. In total, the over 2,500 meters (2,734 yards) long route is made up of sixteen halls. Among them, a huge stalactite in the No.1 Hall, moonmilks in the first and second layers, two stone shields, a stone curtain and a stone flag are the most alluring ones.
In the No.1 Hall, the huge stalactite hanging with a height of 18 meters (59 feet) and a diameter of 3 meters (9.8 feet) is the biggest in China. As national treasure, moonmilk was initially found in the Shihua Cave and has a history of 10,000 to 50,000 years. These moonmilks resemble the shape of lotus and become water slag when twisted. This cave boasts the largest and the thinnest stone shields in China. The king of stone shields is 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) high, with a diameter of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet) while the thinnest is only 7 millimeters (0.28 inches) thick. Having more than 540 layers and a width of 18 meters (19.7 yards), the biggest stone curtain adds charm to this marvelous cave. A thin and transparent stone flag at the top of the cave is also unique to the Shihua Cave in China.
At the entrance of the cave, hundreds of pictures show the wonderful spectacles of world famous karst caves. Near the cave, there are stone sculptures of Buddha on the cliff and an exhibition hall displaying rare stones. Geological landscapes such as features of stratigraphic sections and geological structures can also be traced.
||1.917 Zhi 3 (Tianqiao Long Distance Bus Station-Hebeizhuang), and get off at Shihuadong Daokou , then you could arrive at the Shihua Cave
2.Take a tourist bus from Tiananmen or Xuanwumen to the Shihua Cave (available on weekends and Chinese legal holidays from April 7 to October 15)
Beijing Valleys and Gullies, Caves
Due to its mountainous landform, Beijing is riddled with numerous valleys, gullies and gorges in its western area. The brooks trickle through the glens, majestic waterfalls rush down from atop, and bird songs occasionally break the silence of the woods. Caves seem to be playing 'hide-and-seek' while the wonders of nature unfold inside