Zhangjiajie was approved as a prefecture city on May 18, 1988 by the State Council with the jurisdiction over the two regions Yongding and Wulingyuan and the two counties Cili and Sangzhi. It is situated in the northwest of Hunan Province, covering an area of 4,635 square kilometers with the total population of 1,540,000 and here live some nationalities of Han, Tujia, Miao and Bai. It named after Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, which is the first Chinese national forest park. Its climate belongs to a subtropical monsoon humid climate and annual average temperature is 16C.
The history of Zhangjiajie goes back to primitive society about 5000 years ago. Dayong is the old name of this city. In 1982, China Center Government established the first national forest park, named Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. With tourism development, Dayong changed its name to Zhangjiejie Scenic Area (Wulingyuan Scenic Resort), which was listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. In 2003, Zhangjiajie became World Geological Park.
Zhangjiajie got known to the world in 1980s, and has become a famous tourist spot for its uniqueness of natural features and primitive charm. In 1982, it was granted the name "the First National Forest Park" by the State Council. In October 1998, Wulingyuan was listed as one of the key historical scenic spots by the State Council. On December 7, 1992, it was put into the World Natural Heritage Catalogue by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO and in December 2000, certified the State AAAA Quality and awarded a golden medal of "the State-level Civilized Scenic Resort". It was pointed in the Technical Appraisal Report by the Alliance of International Nature and Natural Resource Protection that Wulingyuan can be comparable with some other national natural reserves in the west part of the United States of America. Indeed, Wulingyuan has natural beauty for its innumerable fantastic rock formations, luxuriant green plants and clear lakes and streams.
The main scenic spot is Wulingyuan consisting of Zhangjiajie National Park, the Natural Reserves of Tianzi (Emperor) Mountain, and Natural Reserves of Suoxi Gully, which still preserve the features of primitiveness, simplicity and nature of Yangtzi Valley 5,000 years ago, The natural scenery can equal Mount Tai in magnificence, Guilin in elegance, Mount Huang in uniqueness and Mount Hua in a precipitous state. The famous horticultural expert, Professor Zhu Changzhong in Qing Hua University, once said in high praise of it as "Number One Miracle Mountain in the World" for its uniqueness of all famous mountains and valleys with the combination of lofty peaks, bridges, caves and lakes: within sight are the forested stone peaks and steep cliffs, densely growing jade-green plants, birds soaring and flowers in full blossom, and the stone caves, valleys and streams which are honeycombing all over the forest park.
During more than 20 years' development, there have been 12 scenic spots, 30 tourism routes, 300 km tourism road and 2 cableways now. Zhangjiajie railway station links more than 10 large and medium-sized cities with passenger trains and it is connected with more than 400 hotels with the total number of30, 000beds, among them more than 20 are star hotels, and also more than 50 travel agencies here.
Zhangjiajie now is becoming well known to the world so as to improve the development of tourism and the facilities for tourism of Zhangjiajie people are carrying on the reform and open policies and trying their best to play an important role in the world tourism.