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China Landscape

 

Yellow River Tour

The Yellow River rolls forward endlessly like a huge golden dragon. Crossing central China, the river gives rise to Chinese civilization over thousands of years and symbolizes the spirit and strength of the Chinese people. Touring along the Yellow River, travelers can not only enjoy the beautiful canyons, lakes and riverside scenery of this monumental river, but also have the opportunity to visit many famous sites, experiencing the unique local customs and studying the history of China.

Liujiaxia Gorge and Bingling Temple

Located in Yongjing county is the Liujia Gorge on the Yellow River. Steep cliffs and towering mountains rise on either side of the river, and manifest their spectacular grandeur. It was there that a key water conservancy project was completed in 1974, for the purposes of irrigation, navigation, flood control, electric energy production, and aquatic resources utilization. With a 147-meter-high and 840-meter-long dam, the Liujia Gorge Reservoir stores 5.7 billion cubic meters of water, and its water area covers 130 square kilometers. As the first power plant built on the upper reaches of the Yellow River, the Liujia Gorge Hydroelectric Power Plant has a capacity of 1.2 million kw, and uses five units of gigantic water turbogenerators to generate 5.7 billion kwh of electricity each year.

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Shapotou

Shapotou is an 80-m-high cresentmoon shaped sand hill on the bank of the Yellow River. Looking down from the top of the steep sandhill, You feel giddy. Looking up from the foot, you see Yellow River water, merged with the white clouds, resembling waterfall flow down from heaver , Sliding down from the sand slope you feel you are dropping to the earth from the sky and hear sounds of dells; theis is called the 'ringing of bells on the sand slope.'Tourists can also do sightseeing on the vast desert on camels, experiencing the feelings of ancient merchants on the Silk Road. They can see the strange scene of steam locomotives crossing the ,Tenggeli Desert.

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Hukou Waterfall

Hukou Waterfall on the Yellow River
One hundred and sixty-five kilometers to the west of Linfen is the HuKou Waterfall, Chinas second largest waterfall, next to the Huangguoshu Waterfall in Guizhou Province. In Hukou the Yellow River has formed a big gully, thirty meters wide and fifty meters deep. When the turbulent Yellow River water rushes to the bully, which forces the river into a narrow passage. The water flow speeds up and suddenly falls down into the gully thrity meters below. The roaring splashes are breathtakingly beautiful. The width of the fall is generally thirty meters, but during tide period it may reach one kilometer

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Dongyue Temple

The Dongyue Temple is located 2 km to the east of Puxian County Seat, 65 km northwest of Linfen, Shanxi Province. It is a large and magnificent palace complex. The main temple and more than 60 surrounding buildings occupy an area of ten thousand square meters.

Construction of the Dongyue Temple was started during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD). The Main Hall was built in 1318 AD. The Hall is square shaped with corridors around the hall. The roof of the hall is decorated with animal shaped yellow and blue colored glaze tiles. Inside the hall stand scuptures.

Under the Main Hall below the ground level, one can find the Hell. It consists of 18 caves representing 18 layers of the hell. There are 120 life size statues, telling stories of the Hell. Those sculptures, carved in the Ming Dynasty ( 1368 - 1644 AD), display magnificent artistic craftsmanship, and are rarely found in any other places

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Guandi Temple

Guandi Temple, or Temple of the God of War, stands in the west of Xiezhou County, Yuncheng City. This imperial palace style building was built honoring Guan Yu, a celebrated general during the period of the Three Kingdoms (220 - 280 AD). Throughout China, there are numerous temples worshipping Guan Yu, but this one is the largest of the same kind in the country.

This temple was built in 589 in the Sui Dynasty (581 -618 AD) and rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty on the model of an imperial palace. The temple consists of the Northern Garden and the Southern Garden. The Northern Garden is composed of the front yard and the rear yard with halls and mansions, forming a unique architectural complex.

The Southern Garden was modeled on the place where Guan Yu and his two brothers - Liu Bei and Zhang Fei - vowed to establish life time brotherhood friendship.

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Pujiu Temple

Situated in the Xixiang Village, 12 km northwest of Yongji County, construction of temple was started during the reign of Empress Wu Ze Tian of the Tang Dynasty (684 - 704). As the legend said, this place was famous for a love story set in the garden between Zhang Sheng and Cui Yingying during the Tang Dynasty.

The temple was first built in the Tang Dynasty and rebuilt in 1563 in the Ming Dynasty. Most notable in the temple is its Yingying pagoda, 50 meters high with 13 stories. The temple has a structure that is capable of creating fantastic acoustic effects. If you face the pagoda and clap two stones together, you will hear an echo that sounds like frogs croaking. This temple is regarded a wonder temple in China.

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Gegeng Tala in Siwangzi Qi County

Gegen Tala in Dorbod Qi
Gegen Tala Grassland, located in Dorbod Qi, is 150 kilometers from Hohhot. because of its excellent natural conditions, this place is an ideal grazing land. Now it has been turned into a tourist attraction area. Here tourists can experience the life of a herdsman, enjoying the performance of the local people, watching traditional Mongolian sport events, and tasting Mongolian cuisine. They can also visit the local people in their yurts, attending their wedding ceremony and visiting the former residential place of the old Dorbod Qi Lords.

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The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan (1162--1227) was a powerful Mongolian leader. It was he who unified all the Mongolian tribes as a tough politician and an outstanding military strategist at the end of the 12th century.

His mausoleum is situated in the Ejin Horo Banner of the Ih Ju Meng Prefecture. Its main structure consists of three connected halls in the shape of Mongolian yurts.With their eaves inlaid with golden and blue glazed tiles, the halls look resplendent and magnificent.

The central hall is primarily a place for memorial services, and has a huge statue of Genghis Khan. It is a Mongolian convention that people go to the mausoleum to attend a grand memorial ceremony, and make sacrificial offerings on the 17th of the third lunar month.

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Sanmenxia Reservoir

Sanmen Gorge Reservoir is located 20 kilometers northeast of Sanmenxia City. There is a dam on the Yellow River, which is 106 meters high, and 908 meters long. The building of the dam serves to protect the nearby area from flooding and to make full use of the water resources of the yellow River. Meanwhile the building of the dam has played an important role in the development of the economy, generating of electricity and the building of irrigation system in this area. This section of the Yellow River used to be a narrow and dangerous gorge, and now it has become a big reservoir. It is now also a tourist attraction spot.

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Zhou Dynasty tombs Pits of Chariots and Horses

Tombs Of Guo State Amd Pits Of Chariots And Horses
The tombs and pits are in Mt. Shangchun, north of Sanmenxia. Since the 50s, 234 tombs and 4 pits with chariots and horses have been excavated. As among the sacrificial objects found in the tombs were also two bronze dagger-axes with the inscrption of " The dagger- axe of Prince Yuan Tu of the Guo State", it is therefore identified that the tombs and pits belong to the Guo State, another name for the Zhou Dynasty (1066 - 256 BC). A huge house was built for protecting No. 1727 pit aftr it was excavated.This pit is rectangular in shape, 15. 1 meters long, 3.82 meters wide and 4.1 meters deep, with 5 chariots and 10 horses in it. The chariots with complete compartments, wheels and shafts, are orderly arranged in rows with two horses for each. All these historic relics are of great importance for the study of the history of the Warring State Period,the burial and sacrificial system of the Guo State as well as the structure of ancient chariots.

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Longmen Caves

Longmen Grottoes
The grottoes are all in the cliffs along both banks of the Yi River, 13 kilometers south of the city of Luoyang. The idea of cutting grottoes and carving stone statues in them was developed in the Northern Wei Dynasty (496 AD), and the contruction of them lasted more than 400 years covering dynasties of Northern Wei, Eastern Wei, Western Wei,Northern Qi, Northern Zhou, Sui, Tang, and Northern Song. Well preserved now are more than 1000 stone statues in over 2100 grottoes in addition to 3600 inscribed stone tablets and 43 Buddhist pagodas. As one of the three great Buddhist treasures, the Buddhist statues in Longmen Grottoes are refinedly carved and beautifully shaped, all presenting a vivid appearance of a dignified manner and delicate looks.The Buddhist statues in Longmen Grottoes are an embodiment of a peculiar and extraordinary style of sculpture of Buddhist statues of the Chinese people, which also occupies a very important place in the Chinese art of sculpture.

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White Horse Temple

Situated 10 kilometers east of the Luoyang city with its back against Mt. Mang and the front facing the Luoshui River, White Horse Temple was built and thus named in 67 AD ( the eleventh year of the reign of Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty) in commemoration of two white horses who carried on their backs Buddhist scriptures from India to China. The White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in the Chinese history ever since Buddhism came to China, is magnificent in scope including many halls,chambers and towers like the Hall of Heavenly Kings, Mahavira (great hero) Hall , Hall of thousand Buddhas, Mahavairocana Chamber, Tower of Bell and Drum and so on. Outside of the gate to the temple stand two granite horses carved in the Song Dynasty following the above legend, which look composed but vigorous. The 13-storeyed Qiyun (cloud reaching) Pagoda by the temple, is of classic beauty and in elegant taste, which belongs to the style of cubic shaped, close eaves brick pagodas. Inside the temple, there are two tombs of two Indian monks:Kasyapa Matanga and Gobharana.

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Guanling

The Guan Yu Forest
The Guan Yu Forest is actually the memorial temple and the tomb for Guan Yu. It is called "Forest" merely because there are a lot of ancient pine and cypress trees around the area, which is located right in Guanlin Town south of the Luoyang city.

Guan Yu (160 - 219 AD) who originally came from Shanxi province and was also called Guan Yunchang, was a famous general of the Shu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 277 AD). Legend has it that Guan Yu's head was buried here after he was captured and decapitated.

General Guan Yu, well- known for his loyalty, faithfullness, boldness and powerfulness, had been regarded from the Three Kingdoms period to the Sui Dynasty, the peerless hero and raised to the level of quasi-religion and therefore worshiped as a Buddha.

The main entrance is a 5-room- wide tower with three doorways leading to the inside; each door of the gate tower, red in colour, is inlaid with 81 golden rivets, the treatment only for Chinese kings and emperors. The halls behind the gate tower are magnificent and full power and grndeur. Inside the first hall there is the statue of General Guan Yu in the sitting position who wears an imperial crown and imperial robe with the design of dragon on it which are the attire only for a Chinese king or an emperor. On both sides of the statue of Guan Yu there are two standing statues: Guan Pin, Guan Yu's son, on the left, holds a big seal and Zhou Cang, Guan's disciple, on the right, holds a big sabre. The second hall is the Hall of Warriors. On both sides of the second hall are two accompanying halls of the Hall of Zhang Fei and the Hall of Five Brave Generals. Behind the second hall is the third hall, the Hall of Spring and Autumn, in which there are two statues of Guan Yu, one in the sitting and the other in the supine position, both are reading by a candle, a history book " Spring and Autumn". On the walls around are drawings telling stories of Guan Yu like "Three Generals fighting Lu Bu", "To Capture Jingzhou", " A Battle at Changsha" and so on.

At the rear is a backyard in which there is a pavilion called "Dragon Tablet Pavilion", which was established in the Qing Dynasty. On the pavilion there is horizontal plaque and inside there is a big tablet with the inscription commemorating Guan Yu.

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Imperial Street of the Song Capital

Following the architecture of the Song Dynasty the Imperial Street of the Song Capital was painstakingly designed and constructed in 1985. The street, 40 meters wide and 400 meters long, is flanked by a variety of classic storied buildings, pavilions and other constructions, typical of the style of the Song Dynasty. But most of these ancient style buildings now serve as clothing stores, provisions shops, local flavour snack shops, restaurants, department stores, etc. the majority of which are named after the corresponding names used in the Song Dynasty, and the salesmen, saleswomen, waiters and waitresses working in these places are all wearing ancient Song Dynasty costumes. On the west side at the north end of the street erects the Fanluo Hotel which is a complex structure composed of 5 ancient storied buildings on the south, north, east and west and in the center, forming the pattern of a rose. Opposite to the Fanluo Hotel is the Dragon Pavilion Lake which is decorated by petite pavilions and bridges on it, really a resort for tourists.

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Iron Pagoda

Built in the first year ( 1049 AD) of the reign of Emperor Huangyou of the Northern Song Dynasty, the Iron Pagoda is located at the northeastern corner of the city of Kaifeng. The pagoda was originally named Kaibao Temple Pagoda as it was housed in Kaibao Temple; but later it was changed to be Iron Pagoda because it looks like iron-cast though it is made of bricks. The Pagoda is 55 meters high ( 13 storeys)in the form of an octagon, with much of its base deeply embedded in the earth because of the inundations of the Yellow River over the past years. The exterior of the whole pagoda is covered with more than 30 different-shaped, brown-colored glazed bricks which bear more than 50 designs of sitting Buddhas, standing Buddhas, flying Apsaras, unicorns, deva musicians, and others, all of which are beautifully shaped and viivdly portrayed.

Inside of the Southern Hall of the pagoda stands a branze Buddha of 5 meters tall which was also left over from the Song Dynasty.

The pagoda has undergone in the last 1000 years storms, floods, wars and earthquakes, and still stands there as it was. Now the whole area is changed to be a park, Iron Pagoda Park with an exhibition room of historic relics attached to it.

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Dragon Pavilion

Dragon Pavilion is located in the northeastern part of the Kaifeng city, where originally the imperial palaces of the Nortern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 AD) and the Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234 AD) , and later also the residence of Prince Zhou of the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644 AD) were. In the 31srt year (1693 AD) of the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty built here was a pavillion called Longevity Pavillion inside the great hall of which there was a tablet inscribed on it with the words of "Long Live the Emperor", hence the name Dragon Pavilion. During each major festival high officials, both military and civilian, would come here to pay homage to the emperor. In the 25th year (1846 AD) of the reign of Emperor Daoguang the pavilion was ruined in the wind storm and rebuilt 11 years later.

The pavilion stands atop a 13-meter high gigantic brick platform. Leading to the great hall of the pavilion are 72 steps of stone in 3 terraces; between steps inlaid are granite slabs with designs of dragon on them. In the middle of the great hall there is a huge black mound called "Dragon Mound", on which, according to the history, the imperial edict was read.

In 1986, a waxworks chamber was set up in the great hall of the pavilion; this is the first of its kind in the mainland of China. The wax figures include 9 emperors and many famous civilian ministers and military generals of the Northern Song Dynasty.

There are two lakes flanking the pavilion: the Pan's Lake on the east and the Yang's Lake on the west, this adding to the magnificence of the pavilion.

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Baotu Spring

Located in the center of Jinan, Baotu Spring is the most famous of the 72 major springs in the city. Baotu Spring's pool is rectangular in shape, 30 meters long and 20 meters wide, and is encircled by stone balustrades. The spring gushes out in three fountains bubbling like boiling water about a foot high. Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644--1911), on an inspection tour to the south, stopped here and tasted the water of the spring. He was so pleased that he conferred on it the title "First Spring Under Heaven".

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Thousand Buddhas Mountain

Qianfo Mountain, one of the major places of interest in Jinan, is located about 2.5 kilometers southeast of the city, 285 meters above sea level. During the early years of the Sui Dynasty (581--600), Buddhism became popular in the area and Buddhist disciples built many temples and carved numerous Buddhist statues on the rocks of the mountain, which is how the mountain acquired its present name. The mountain, overgrown with grass and plants of various kinds and ageless pine and cypress, at a distance is like a giant wearing a huge green carpet dotted with pavilions, towers and terraces. The most famous is Xingguo Temple built in the Tang Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Taizong (627--649). On the south side of the temple is Qianfo Cliff, carved with more than 60 Buddhist statues. The largest ones are over 3 meters high and the smallest ones are only 20 centimeters. Now the mountain is a park rich in both natural beauty and historical relics of China.

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Daming Lake

Located in the northern part of Jinan, the provincial capital of Shandong, Daming Lake covers an area of 46 hectares in an 86-hectare garden. The lake, with a history of over 1400 years, is fed by waters from Zhenzhu Spring, Furong Spring and many other springs. The prominent scenic spots and historical sites include Lixia Pavilion, built on a tiny island with weeping willows billowing out over the lake, Beiji Temple, a Taoist temple, with two towers, a bell tower and a drum tower flanking the temple, and many memorials in memory of successful men of letters and respected officials in the old days. Poets and scholars of the past dynasties came here and left behind many famous poems of admiration and appreciation of the beautiful scenery. The most well-known is "Lotus on four sides and willows on three; half the city is lake and half is mountain scenery", written by Lui Fenggao of the Qing Dynasty (1616--1911). When the Italian traveller, Marco Polo, who visited China during the Yuan Dynasty (1271--1368), saw the place, he described it as a beautiful gardern, pleasant and restful, with more fine scenery than a visitor could enjoy.

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Family Mansion of Confucius, Temple of Confucius and Tomb of Conficius

Confucious Residence
To the east of the temple is Confrcius' house. If was once Confueius' eldest grandson;s Yamen and named Lord Yansheng's Residence. During the Han Dynasty Emperor Gao Zu , named Liu Bang, made offerings at Confucius' tomb in the highest degree.The emperor also conferred on Confucius' ninth generation direct grandson and his sons after him an official post supervising sacrifices to Confucius on behalf of the country . In the course of history, many titles were conferred on Confucius and his descendants. The title of Yansheng was given to his descendant in the Song Dynasty. In the 10 th year of the Ming Hong Wu reign an independent Residence of Lord Yansheng was set up, with the Yamen in the front and the domestic household at the back . It has 480 rooms and houses many files and relics.

In December,1994 The Confucius Temple, Residence and Confucian Woods was listed in the Chronology of Recognition of World Heritages in China.

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Tai Mountain

Towering in the middle of Shandong Province, Mount Taishan is oneof China's most famous scenic spots and regarded asthe first of thefive sacred mountains in ancientChina for its majesty and beauty. It covers a total area of 426 km, and its summit, the Jade Emperor Peak, rises 1,545 meters above sea level. In China's history many emperors ascended Mount Taishan to hold memorial ceremonies as an expression of their gratefulness to heaven on their success in establishing a new dynasty. For many centuries, Buddhism and Taoism flourished in the mountain, therefore many temples and nunneries were built. Now historical sites and numerous stone-carved inscription can be found all over the area, such as, Wangmu Pool (the Heavenly Queen Pool), Hongmen Palace (the Red Gate Palace), Nantian Gate (the South Gate to Heaven), and Bixia Temple (Azure Cloud Temple).

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Dai Temple

Situated in Tai'an city, south of Mount Taishan, Dai Temple is one of the most important historical sites in the area. Visitors usually start their journey to Mount Taishan from here. The temple, where emperors of many past dynasties offered sacrifices to the sacred mountain, is over 2000 years old. Encircled by 10-meter-high walls, the temple is a rectangular palatial complex occupying an area of over 96 thousand square meters. The halls of the temple were all modeled on the ancient Chinese royal palaces in style.

The place is studded with tall cypresses and steles and has numerous cultural relics and historical monuments to interest the seeker and art lovers. The splendid Tiankuang Hall is the temple's main building. A masterpiece of the Song dynasty (960 --1279), the hall, together with the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Dacheng Hall of the Confucius Temple in Qufu, rank as the three most magnificent palatial buildings in China.

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  Information provided by China National Tourism Administration.

 

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