Another Death Road
If you read the Been-Seen article on El Camino de la Muerte in Bolivia, you might be excited to hear about one of the world's other most dangerous thoroughfares. This one is Guoliang Road, and it burrows its way through a chunk of the Taihang Mountains in Hunan Province, China.
In 1972, villagers from the very remote Guoliang village decided to cut a road to the rest of the world. Up until then visitors to their village could only access it using a dangerous ladder dangling off a sheer cliff. It took 13 of them about five years to cut the 1,200 meter (approximately one mile) tunnel out of the bare rock face, though some of them lost their lives in the process.
They billed it as 'the road that doesn't tolerate any mistakes', and opened for traffic in 1977. And visitors started to come, some to see the beautiful stone village, others to test out the viability of the 12m-wide road and its hairpin bends.
Here's one visitor's description of the tunnel: 'We found ourselves in extremely gorgeous surroundings – against the blue sky, with a path frighteningly narrow, and the cliffs piercing the sky… The golden sun shone upon the ground and through the air vents in the rocky wall of the tunnel. We were sometimes in the dark and sometimes in the light. I was deeply moved and even wanted to cry, for the sacred Guoliang Tunnel and for what the villagers have done – to triumph over nature.' RM