The Leshan Giant Buddha is a statue of Maitreya in sitting posture. The Buddha is located to the east of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, at the confluence of three rivers, namely, Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. The statue makes itself the most renowned scenic spot in Leshan. In December, 1996, the location of the Buddha was included by UNESCO on the list of the World Heritage sites. Begun in the year 713 in the Tang Dynasty, and finished in the year 803, the statue took people more than 90 years to carve. During these years, thousands of workers had expended their efforts and wisdom on the project. As the biggest carved stone Buddha in the world, Leshan Giant Buddha is featured in poetry, song and story. Benefiting from Dujiangyan Irrigation Project which was constructed in 256 B.C., Sichuan Province is reputed as 'Tian Fu Zhi Guo', literally a place richly endowed with natural resources. Chengdu, as the capital, is extremely productive. The Min and Tuo Rivers, two branches of the Yangtze River, connected to forty other rivers, supply an irrigation area of more than 700 square kilometres (270.27 square miles) with 150-180 million kilowatts of water. Consisting of abundant mineral resources, the land is extremely fertile. the Thatched Cottage of Du Fu, Wuhou Memorial Temple and Wenshu Monastery, etc, natural beauty abounds in surrounding areas such as in the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area and Huang Long Valley. The natural habitat of giant pandas, Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center, supports the world's only giant panda breeding and research base.
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