Three Visitors Cave

Three Visitors Cave (Sanyoudong), located on the cliff of the Xiling Mountain is 10 km northwest of Yichang and near the Xiling Gorge.

There are two stories related to the origin of the cave's name. The first "travelers" were three of the Tang Dynasty's most famous literati, Baijuyi, his brother Baixingjian and Yuanzhen. In 819 D.C., Yuanhe 19th year of the Tang Dynasty, the great poet Bai Juyi and his younger brother came cross another great poet Yuan Zhen. The three visited the cave together and they played there for the whole night. They said again and again that there was no place better than this fairy cave. Then Bai Juyi wrote the "Preface" to the cave. Thus the cave gained the name after the three poet travelers. These are the early three visitors. After that the Three-Visitor's Cave spread its beauty.

Three Visitors Cave (Sanyoudong) Three Visitors Cave (Sanyoudong)

The "Later Three Tourists" were Su Xun and his sons, Su Shi and Su Zhe of the Song Dynasty, each of whom inscribed a poem on the wall. From then on, the cave had greater reputation.
Three Visitors Cave (Sanyoudong) Three Visitors Cave (Sanyoudong)

The interior of the cave is an irregular rectangle, about 30 meters long, 23 meters wide, and 9 meters high, with jagged rocks that give the cave an element of mystery and wonder. Huge stalactites hanging in a row like pillars separate the cave into two parts. The front part is bright and spacious, its stone walls covered with poems and inscriptions by visitors. The rear part is dark and serene, with a narrow side passage leading to the outside. The smooth, round ceiling of the rear cave resembles the face of a clock; and when struck with a stone, it sounds like a chime. When the stone falls to the ground, the sound is more like that of a drum. This phenomenon has been called the 'heavenly clock and earthly drum.'

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