Reed Flute Caves

China · Reed Flute Caves
"05. Guilin - Reed Flute Cave" (CC BY 2.0) by ckmck
Guilin 2010_5 Reed flute cave By Dariusz Jemielniak (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

China · Reed Flute Caves

A grand, natural architecture formed by millennia of water eroding its soft limestone, the Reed Flute Caves (芦笛岩) are a veritable underground palace of weird and wonderful formations. This natural limestone cave is 180 million years old. The cave is named for the type of reed that grows around its entrance, which is harvested to make traditional flutes. The colossal stalagmites, stalactites and rock formations within are today illuminated by multi-coloured lights, giving the whole cave a magical feel.

This 240-meter-long cave is lined with interesting rock shapes and formations resembling all kinds of strange things. Many of the formations have taken on recognizable shapes of mythological creatures, or natural images. Almost motionless lake gives volume to the surrounding scenery. All these strange shapes on the walls and intertwining stone statues are reflected in surface of the water like in the mirror. This turns the cave halls into the impressive fantastic world.

Different points along the cave bear names like Virgin Forest, Crystal Palace, Flower and Fruit Mountain, and naturally there are myths behind the formation of various rock-forms, but the vistas could just as easily have come from a distant planet. Come back to Earth with a stroll around the pavilions of nearby Ludi Park.

Inside Reed Flute Caves, there are more than 70 inscriptions written in ink, which can be dated back as far as 792 AD in the Tang Dynasty. They are travelogues and poems writing by Tang Dynasty literati who visited the cave. These aged inscriptions tell us that it has been an attraction in Guilin since ancient times.

Reed Flute Caves was almost forgotten for a thousand years, before it was rediscovered in the 1940s by a group of refugees fleeing the Japanese troops. The enormous ‘Crystal Palace of the Dragon King’ chamber, was once used as a bomb shelter, providing capacity for approximately 1000 people.