Yellow River, the Mother River in China

The Yellow River is the second longest river in China, with a total length of about 5,464 kilometers. It is the world’s 6th longest river. It is agreed upon by almost all the Chinese people that the Yellow River is the cradle of Chinese civilization, the spiritual home of the Chinese people. It is the waters of the river and its spirit that nurture the whole Chinese nation. For thousands of years, this river has been admiring by literary giants, artists, as well as by the common people. The Yellow River is not just several letters. It bears special significance: the symbol of the Chinese nation, the spirit of the Chinese people and more importantly, civilization itself.

History

Neolithic (7,000 BC-3,700 BC), Bronze (3,700 BC-2,700 BC) and Iron Age Sites (770 BC), and so on can be found in the Yellow River’s drainage basin, which had been the center of ancient Chinese culture since the Azilian (Middle Stone Age). Here, the story of three cultural heroes: Suiren-shi who taught the Chinese to make fire by drilling wood, Fu Hsi who was the inventor of hunting, trapping and fishing and Shennong-shi who invented agriculture, was spread. It was these three legendary individuals that began the development of civilization in the Yellow River basin. After that, many ancient Chinese emperors, like Emperor Qin Shi Huang, Genghis khan (1162-1227, grandfather of Kublai Khan who is the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)) pushed the Yellow River civilization to a wholly new level of refinement, grace and spirituality which drew the attention of the whole world.

Geography

The Yellow River is divided into three distinct parts: the mountainous upper course, the middle course across a plateau, and the lower course across a low plain.

The Upper Course

The Yellow River originates at an elevation above 15,000 feet (4,600 metres) in the Bayan Har Mountains, in the eastern Plateau of Tibet. In its upper reaches the river crosses two large bodies of water, Lakes Ngoring and Gyaring. Those shallow lakes, each covering an area of about 400 square miles (1,000 square km), are rich in fish and freeze over in winter. The Yellow River in that region flows generally from west to east. The broad highlands of the upper course rise 1,000 to 1,700 feet (300 to 500 metres) above the river and its tributaries. The highlands consist of crystalline rocks that are sometimes visible as eroded outcroppings on the surface. The river enters a region of deep gorges, winding its way first southeast, then northwest around the A’nyêmaqên (Amne Machin) Mountains, where its fall exceeds 10 feet per mile (2 metres per km), and then east again between the Xiqing and Laji mountains.

The Middle Course

The middle course of the Yellow River, extending more than 1,800 miles (2,900 km), consists of a great loop and drains an area of about 23,000 square miles (60,000 square km). The river at first flows northeast for about 550 miles (880 km) through the sandy soils of the northern Hui Autonomous Region of Ningxia and of the western Ordos Plateau. It has many rapids there, and in a number of places it narrows. The river then turns eastward and flows for another 500 miles (800 km) through alluvial plains in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, in places branching into numerous distributary channels. In that stretch its fall is less than half a foot per mile (9 cm per km), and many of the channels have been developed over the millennia for irrigated agriculture.

The Lower Course

The lower Yellow River is about 435 miles (700 km) long with an average fall of about 3 inches per mile (5 cm per km). Downstream from Zhengzhou the Yellow River broadens out to flow through Henan and Shandong provinces across the North China Plain. The plain is a great, nearly featureless alluvial fan broken only by the low hills of central Shandong; it was formed over some 25 million years as the Yellow River and other rivers deposited enormous quantities of silt, sand, and gravel into the shallow sea that once covered the region. The plain has been densely inhabited for millennia and long has been one of China’s principal agricultural regions. The river has changed its course across the plain several times, and the region’s inhabitants have built extensive systems of levees and irrigation works in an attempt to control the river’s flow. The area illustrates perhaps better than any other place on Earth how human activity has combined with natural forces to shape the landscape.

Chinese Language, Mandarin, Dialects, Characters and Pinyin

Spoken by over one billion people, Chinese is indeed the greatest language in the world. But rather than one language, China has many “ languages” or “dialects” that are based on the same written language, hence differing primarily in pronunciation and speech.

Mandarin

Consisting of many diversifying dialect, Mandarin is perhaps the most well-known Chinese language group. This is mainly because Mandarin dialects are spoken by a 70 % majority of the Chinese people situated in northern and western regions. One of the mandarin dialects primarily spoken in China’s capital Beijing is also referred to as the national language.

Spoken by over a billion people, the Mandarin dialects are hence the largest of the Chinese languages. Mandarin is also a popular language to learn by visitors since it is referred to as the national language and used in many official channels. Learning the Beijing – Mandarin dialect is furthermore becoming a popular reason for European neighbors to study abroad in China.

As one of the six official languages used by UN (United Nations), Chinese now has earned itself greater status in the World. The official language of China is the Mandarin, which is the very name of ‘Hanyu’ or ‘Putonghua’, belonging to Sino-Tibetan.

Mandarin is shaped and based on the Beijing dialect and other dialects spoken in the northern areas of China. Students are often taught mandarin as ‘Yuwen’ in their schoolbooks. It is beyond all doubt that mandarin is used as a mother tongue by the most people accounting for about one fifth of the world’s population. Chinese once had very great influence on some peripheral countries with their languages and characters, such as Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

The Cantonese Dialects

Official language in Hong Kong and widely used in Gungdong, Southern Gungxi, Macau, Hainan, Zhuang region and other abroad settlements. The name Cantonese is argued to be derived from Canton, the English word for the Guangdong province.

Cantonese preserves more features of Ancient Chinese than do the other major Chinese languages; its various dialects retain most of the final consonants of the older language and have at least six tones, in contrast to the four tones of Modern Standard Chinese, to distinguish meaning between words or word elements that have the same arrangement of consonant and vowel sounds. The language has fewer initial consonants than Modern Standard Chinese and about twice as many distinctively different syllables. Before the mid-20th century the majority of Chinese immigrants spoke Cantonese.

Characters

The Chinese character has more than 3,000 years of history. It is a kind of hieroglyphic which originated from carapace-bone-script in the Shang Dynasty (16th – 11th century BC). It then developed into different forms of calligraphic handwritings like large seal script, small seal script, official script, regular script, cursive script and running script.

There are altogether 80,000 Chinese words or so that originate from ancient times; however, only about 3,000 words for daily use are available to express over 99% of the information in written form because a word contains many different meanings. The character is now of two kinds – Simplified and Traditional. Simplified style are often used in mainland China, Singapore, and oversea Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, while the latter is often accepted in Taiwan Province, Hong Kong, Macau and oversea Chinese communities in North America.

Pinyin

Pinyin, short for Hanyu Pinyin, which means “phonetic notation” or “phonetic symbols” while Pin means “spell(ing)” and Yin means “sound(s)”, is a system of romanization for Standard Mandarin. Pinyin was approved in 1958 and adopted in 1979 by the government in the People’s Republic of China.

Pinyin is a romanization and not an anglicization; that is, it uses Roman letters to represent sounds in Standard Mandarin Chinese. The way these letters represent sounds in Standard Mandarin Chinese will differ from how other languages that use the Roman alphabet represent sound. For example, the sounds indicated in Pinyin by b and p are distinguished from each other (by aspiration) in a manner different from that of both English (which has voicing and aspiration) and of French (which has voicing alone). Other letters, like j, q, x or zh indicate sounds that do not correspond to any exact sound in English. Some of the transcriptions in Pinyin such as the ang ending, do not correspond to English pronunciations, either. Pinyin has also become a useful tool for entering Chinese language text into computers.

Xiaotangshan Hot Spring, the Most Famous Hot Spring in China

Xiaotangshan hot spring, located in the town of Xiaotangshan, north of Beijing, is the most famous hot spring in China. With temperatures ranging from 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit), the Xiaotangshan hot spring contains a variety of trace elements that have great health benefits for the human body. Hot spring is a good choice in the cold and dry winter in Beijing. You can choose longmai hot spring village or Jiuhua hot spring resort, both of which are famous hot spring villages in Xiaotangshan town.

You can find more than 30 outdoor hot springs with different medicinal values in forests and bamboo forests, such as herb hot springs, salt hot springs, tea hot springs and so on. You can have a bird ‘s-eye view of the resort and feel relaxed and free when using the top-of-the-range spa.

There are also many exciting water entertainment activities, such as diving, wading, rafting, water skiing and so on. There are billiards, table tennis, karaoke and other entertainment facilities for you to choose. During the break, you can enjoy all kinds of delicious food and drinks.

Built in classical Chinese style, the rooms are richly decorated and fully equipped for the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The 48 distinctive pavilions, terraces and halls are connected by corridors decorated with murals and lanterns from the qing dynasty. There is a rose garden in the center. In the guestrooms, you can enjoy private Spaces, or enjoy a variety of spa treatments.

To the north of the resort, the sunshine horse club has a 400-meter (430-yard) track and professional riding guides. In addition, you can also enjoy sichuan cuisine, shandong cuisine and cantonese cuisine at seven Chinese restaurants.

Jiuhua hot spring resort is a resort in Xiaotangshan hot spring complex. In the style of classical Chinese gardens, it covers more than 133.3 hectares (1330 acres). This hot spring flows through each guest room and originates in the southwest of the outdoor hot spring area. The village has a variety of interesting attractions, such as a hot spring theme park and a hot spring swimming pool. In addition, you can enjoy a variety of saunas and exercises in different gyms.

The hot spring theme park consists of outdoor and indoor areas. The outdoor area has a central hot spring pool and other special hot springs. You can enjoy: red wine bath, rose bath, mint bath, vinegar bath, the east has six herbal hot springs. To some extent, herbal hot springs can prevent or relieve certain diseases. The xiandong pool in the south of the outdoor activity area is a semi-outdoor hot spring modeled on a karst cave. You can get a massage from the impact of the spa.

Then, you can go to the indoor area on the first floor of le kang palace. In addition to enjoying the indoor hot springs, you can also visit some interesting attractions, such as mermaid birth park, thunder falls, and mermaid slim spring. There are mud moxibustion combined with different natural herbs to relieve the pain of certain diseases, such as rheumatism and muscle soreness. Turkish fish therapy relaxes and cleans your body. Children’s water park and castle on the first floor, providing children with wooden horse, swing, rotating slide, water slide, mushroom waterfall and other recreational facilities.

In addition, you can also enjoy different types of sauna in the outdoor area and le kang palace. Up to the fourth floor, you can enjoy a relaxing massage. There are also sports facilities such as bowling, table tennis and billiards. You can play chess or exercise in the gym..

Wuxi, a Shining Pearl of Taihu Lake

Wuxi, a prefecture-level city in Jiangsu province, is called “Tin” for short. It was called “Xinwu”, “Liangxi” and “Jingui” in ancient times. Wuxi is located in the Yangtze river delta plain in the south of Jiangsu province. The Yangtze river to the north, Taihu lake to the south, the Beijing-hangzhou grand canal from Wuxi through; The territory to the plain, scattered distribution of low mountains, residual hill; North subtropical humid monsoon climate zone, four distinct seasons, sufficient heat. Wuxi has jurisdiction over 5 districts and 2 county-level cities, with a total area of 4627.47 square kilometers.

Wuxi is the national historical and cultural city, since ancient times has been the hometown of fish and rice, known as cloth wharf, money wharf, kiln wharf, silk capital, rice market. Wuxi is the cradle of China’s national industry and township industry, the birthplace of the south Jiangsu model, as well as the headquarters of the joint logistic support unit of Wuxi joint logistic support center. Wuxi culture belongs to wuyue culture, Wuxi people belong to jiangsu and zhejiang people, using wu language. Wuxi has yuantouzhu, lingshan Buddha, Wuxi zhongshi film and television base and other attractions. In November 2017, the review confirmed that the honorary title of national civilized city will be retained.

Travelers who come to Wuxi should pay a visit to Taihu Lake and those who visit Taihu Lake must take a visit to Yuantouzhu. The super view of Taihu Lake lies in the Turtle Head Peninsula. Either enjoy a leisure walk along the shore of the lake, or take a traditional boat quietly sailing on the water to embrace the glittering lake under the blue sky. On the northern bank of Taihu Lake is the a holy Buddhist land – Lingshan Grant Buddha which is the biggest bronze Buddha in the world. With a pilgrim soul, you can worship the grand Buddha, watch nine dragons bathing Shakyamuni, enjoy Ode to Auspice in the Brahma Palace and touch the largest Buddha’s hand for good luck and longevity.

Tips on Hot Spring, What Should You Pay Attention to

In winter, hot springs are the best way to dispel the chill and gloom; It benefits health and cures disease; However, it is not suitable for everyone and there are many points to note.

Remember, do not soak within an hour before or after meals. When you’re hungry or drunk, don’t soak. Get to know the water quality and mineral content of spring water and choose a spring suitable for your condition or illness. Spring water containing too much acid is not suitable for soaking.

Remember to remove all metal jewelry or accessories before bathing to prevent them from being eroded by minerals that some springs may contain.

Hot springs with hot water are not suitable for bathing. The optimum temperature for soaking is between 35°C(95°F) and 45°C(113°F). You should feel the water with your hands or feet first, put your feet in the water for a while, and then slowly soak in the water. Don’t dive directly into the water. Try a cooler spring first, then gradually heat the water.

It is unwise to soak for a long time. You can soak for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and take a break before showering. A massage or a hot spring is good for the body. You’d better not go to the hot spring alone, because sometimes unexpected things happen. If you feel chest tightness, dizziness or thirst, please immediately out of the spring to rest and drink water.

Generally speaking, you don’t have to wash your body after a hot spring bath because the beneficial ingredients can be better absorbed. However, if the spring contains a lot of acid or hydrogen sulfate, you need to take a bath. For people with dry skin, moisturizer is recommended to prevent moisture loss.

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow, the Famous Long Narrative Poem

Song of everlasting sorrow is a long narrative poem written by bai juyi, a poet in the tang dynasty. The poem vividly narrates the love tragedy between xuanzong and Yang guifei. With the help of historical figures and legends, the poet created a moving story with twists and turns, and through the artistic images he created, he reproduced the reality of real life and infected readers for thousands of years. The theme of the poem is “eternal hatred”. The poem had a profound influence on many literary works of later generations.

In this long narrative poem, the author narrates the love tragedy of xuanzong and Yang guifei in the anshi rebellion with concise language, graceful image, narration and lyric combination. Tang xuanzong and Yang guifei were all figures in history. The poet did not stick to history, but by a little shadow of history, according to the legend of the people at that time, the singing of the neighborhood degenerated into a twists and turns, which was very touching. As the stories and characters in the poem are artistic, they represent the complex and true human beings in reality, so they can ripple in the hearts of readers throughout the ages.

The beauty of huaqing pool impresses visitors during the day. In the evening, a large live-action historical drama called “song of everlasting sorrow” was staged here to feast the eyes of tourists. The drama tells a touching love story between xuanzong (618-907) and his favorite concubine Yang yuhuan. Their love story happened in huaqing pond more than a thousand years ago.

The song of everlasting sorrow is set in lishan mountain, jiulong lake, pavilions, palaces, willows and lake water. Advanced sound and light technology and specially designed stage successfully realized the integration of history and reality, nature and culture, earth and wonderland, making the performance more magnificent and true.

Song of everlasting regret is a long narrative poem created by bai juyi (772-846), a famous realistic poet in the tang dynasty. Now, the captivating poem has been adapted into a one-scene, 10-scene historical drama that tells a love story divided into four parts: falling in love, inseparable couples, leaving lovers, and a reunion in wonderland.

Mount Li, a Royal Garden Since the Zhou Dynasty

Mount Li is located in Lintong district, xi ‘an city, Shaanxi province. As part of huaqing pool, the mountain is close to the Qin terra-cotta warriors and horses museum. During the western Zhou dynasty (11th century bc-771 BC), it once belonged to the state of lirong, hence its name. It has been a royal garden since the zhou dynasty, so there are many royal villas here. There are evergreen pines and cypresses on the mountain, which make it look like a black horse.

Mount Li has been a tourist destination for many emperors throughout ancient Chinese history. Many legends about the emperor can be heard here. In ancient times, the mountain was the place where nuwa, the goddess who created humans according to Chinese legend, melted rocks and repaired holes in the sky to save the world. The world famous emperor qin shi huang built his mausoleum at the foot of the mountain, leaving behind a magnificent terracotta army. During the tang dynasty, the tragic love story between xuanzong and the beautiful lady Yang guifei took place here. Even during the qing dynasty, when she fled from Beijing to xi ‘an during the war, the empress dowager stayed for a while.

Laojun Palace is the place where Lao Zi is worshiped. Lao Zi was an ancient Chinese philosopher and the founder of Taoism. The Laojun Palace is a Taoism Temple. It is said that in Tang Dynasty, Emperor Xuanzong has accidentally seen Lao Zi’s manifestation twice in the temple. The white jade statue of Lao Zi was once worshiped in the temple, however during the Tang Dynasty it was partly destroyed in war. The statue is now reserved in the Shaanxi Historical Museum.

Huaqing Pool, Famous for Romantic Love Stories

30km east of Xi’an and beside the Terracotta Army, Huaqing Pool features the Imperial Pools of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), Pear Garden, Frost Flying Hall, Nine-Dragon Lake, Five-Room Building and Mount Li. Huaqing Pool is famous for the romantic love story of Tang Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Yang Yuhuan.

Within Huaqing pool, there are also five hot spring pools: lotus pool, begonia pool, star pool, master pool and prince pool. The lotus pool was the private bath of emperor xuanzong of the tang dynasty and looked like a lotus. Begonia pool, also known as guifei pool, shaped like begonia, originally for Yang yuhuan. It is said that the star pool has no roof, so people can take a bath at night and enjoy the whole star. The grand master pool is for officials, and the prince pool is, of course, for princes.

The pear garden in Huaqing pool is the most famous royal theatre in China. In the garden, xuanzong and his concubine Yang yuhuan created many tunes and dances. However, the most famous one, the song of ni shangyu, has long been lost.

On the west side of the pear garden stands the frost-flying heaven, also known as the frost-flying hall, which was the residence of emperor xuanzong of the tang dynasty. The name frosty flight comes from an interesting story. It is said that the whole hall is warm even in winter because of the hot springs. When the snow fell on it, all the snow turned to frost at once.

Tourists are not allowed to use hot springs in this scenic area. If you really want to have such an experience, many hotels near the scenic area welcome you all year around. They have hot springs for you to enjoy. With an even temperature of 43°C (109°F), the ever-flowing water here contains minerals and organic materials that have therapeutic effects on the skin.

Empress Dowager Cixi, a Notorious Lady in China

Usually, when we refer to the empress dowager Cixi, we tend to compare her to wu zetian of the tang dynasty (618-907). To be sure, the two powerful women do have a lot in common: they both served under three emperors, became their husbands and sons, and each had real imperial power for nearly half a century. But the difference lies in that Wu Zetian ascended the throne by herself, and her reign was regarded as an indispensable link between li shimin’s zhenguan and li longji’s kaiyuan prosperity. Cixi’s reign was considered the weakest of the qing dynasty. As a result, she has been considered a notorious woman and even betrayed her country.

The empress dowager Cixi was one of the few women in the imperial era of Chinese history who had long been in power and who had been able to manage the balance of power between close courtiers to maintain their absolute authority.

When Cixi was in power, the centralized power of the qing court and the Chinese sovereignty were faced with various threats from internal and foreign countries. From the standpoint of defending the authority of the qing empire and its own power, her measures were not successful, but in the context of history, most of them were reasonable.

In terms of personality, Cixi’s methods of seizing power from the palace struggle were cruel. Died in 1861, heshen in jehol summer resort, queen had become Ye He the Laplace, Wilson of joint (such as the royal clan coup from royal far the happy prince to carry through huawei first prince, zheng end, actual to minister lu su shun hand eight ministers group, as the core of life won the regime, and three of them (walls, end China, lu su shun) to be put to death. In order to establish and maintain her dictatorial power, empress dowager Cixi showed little mercy on her political opponents, even controlling her son tongzhi and his successor guangxu.

Emperor Guangxu, Whose Life Was Full of Tragic Elements

Emperor guangxu was born on August 14, 1871, as aisin gioro zaitian, the seventh son of emperor daoguang. In 1874, emperor tongzhi died of illness. Since the empress dowager cixi had no heir to the throne, the machiavellian empress dowager chose zaitian (cixi’s mother was cixi’s sister) to continue her reign. In 1887, emperor guangxu was inaugurated. However, real power remained in the hands of cixi, who continued to rule behind the scenes for two years. From the beginning of guangxu’s accession to the throne, he was destined to be manipulated by his adoptive mother, cixi.

During the reign of emperor guangxu, the two most notable events were the Anti-Japanese War and the 1898 reform. In the war of resistance against Japanese aggression, he resolutely opposed compromise and repeatedly forced the qing army to fight with the Japanese. However, he was overwhelmed by the weak and corrupt qing government, which was defeated in the sino-japanese war. After learning a painful lesson, emperor guangxu began to think about the reform to adjust the imperial order and prevent the decline of the whole country.

In 1898, together with a group of reform advocates, he promulgated the state policy and began the reform. Unfortunately, this fierce reform movement lasted only 103 days and was strangled by rival parties that staged a coup against all reform parties. After that, emperor guangxu lost his imperial power again and was placed under house arrest by cixi.

In 1900, the so-called eight-power allied forces invaded China. Facing a deadly crisis, emperor guangxu had decided to stay in the capital to calm people, but before Beijing fell he was taken to xi ‘an by the empress dowager cixi. When they returned from xi ‘an the following year, he was still far away from state affairs. Until 1908, he died of depression and was buried in the tomb of the western qing dynasty.

In short, although the guangxu emperor’s political life was fraught with tragedy, he was seen as a progressive monarch. As a pioneer of capitalist transformation, his deeds broke the ideological prison of feudal autocracy and opened the ideological liberation of China. Therefore, emperor guangxu was regarded as an enlightened emperor who first tried to adopt the western political model to govern China.