Search results for China

Bingling Temple, One of the Noted Four Caves in China

Bingling temple is located in Yongjing County, Lanzhou city. Bingling thousand Buddha cave in the temple is one of the four famous Grottoes in China, second only to Mogao Grottoes in terms of artistic value, and was listed in the world heritage list on June 22, 2014. Bingling temple, founded in the Western Qin Dynasty, has a history of more than 1600 years since it was expanded in the Northern Wei, Western Wei, Northern Zhou, Sui, Tang, yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Ice cream means “Ten Thousand Buddhas” in Tibetan. Bingling thousand Buddha cave was built in the Western Jin Dynasty (265-316). These caves were excavated many times in subsequent dynasties. There are 183 niches, 694 stone carvings, 82 clay sculptures, and 900 square meters (1076 square yards) of murals in good condition. Bingling qianmiao Grottoes is famous for its stone carvings. It is located on the West Cliff of Dashigou, about 200 meters (about 600 feet) long. The main characters are Sakyamuni, Guanyin, wuliangshou Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, etc. With elegant posture, elegant robes and ribbons, statues are the same as life. Among these caves, cave 169 is worth mentioning. Produced in the Northern Dynasty (386-581), it is the most magnificent and exquisite clay sculpture to preserve Guanyin, Dali Buddha (Dali means powerful power in Chinese). Dali Buddha has a round face and sits cross legged. When we see this sculpture, we will feel its expression is very solemn. On both sides stood Bodhisattva, dressed in hair and waving with bare arms. Color shows us the Buddha and Buddha. No. 125 cave, where Sakyamuni stone sculptures are preserved, should not be missed.

At the end of Yuan Dynasty and the beginning of Ming Dynasty, the yellow school (Gelu school) of Tibetan Buddhism was introduced into Bingling temple. On the basis of inheriting the folk art of the previous generation, Bingling Temple Grottoes absorbed and integrated the foreign Buddhist art, and created a vivid sculpture image and painting art with a new posture and simple technique.

Yangling Mausoleum of Han Dynasty, the First Underground Museum in China

The Yangling Mausoleum of the Han Dynasty, in short Han Yang Ling, is located at Zhangjiawan Village, about 20 kilometers north of Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province. It is a joint tomb of Liu Qi, a notable emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, and his empress Wang. It was built in the year 153 AD and covers an area of 20 square kilometers. It is a magnificent and abundant cultural relic, comprising the emperor’s tomb, empress’ tomb, the south and north burial pits, ceremonial site, human sacrifice graveyard and criminals’ cemetery.

Neatly arranged and centered with the emperor’s tomb, Han Yang Ling Mausoleum reveals the strict hierarchical social structure. The Outside Pits Exhibition Hall was opened in 2006 and is the first underground museum in China.

Liu Qi, the fourth emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, and his father, Liu Heng, the emperor of the Han Dynasty, jointly created the first rule of the Chinese monarchy, the rule of Wenjing. In the third year of the later Yuan Dynasty (141 BC), it collapsed in Weiyang palace of Chang’an City and was buried in Yangling [5]. Yang Mausoleum was built in the fourth year of the Yuan Dynasty (153 BC), from the beginning of emperor Jingdi of Han Dynasty to the burial of the queen. The construction of Yang Mausoleum lasted for 28 years.

The archaeological research achievements of Hanyang mausoleum have attracted worldwide attention. Its drilling, excavation and research achievements have laid a solid foundation for the study of the burial and burial system of the Western Han Dynasty imperial mausoleum, provided a large number of detailed material materials for the study of the political, economic and cultural life of the Western Han society, and played a leading and reference role in the archaeological research of the Western Han tombs. The Yangling archaeological exhibition hall The opening to the outside world of “wenjingzhi” shows the whole world the grand occasion of “the rule of wenjingzhi”.

Haihe River, the Largest Water System in North China

Haihe River is the largest water system in North China and one of the seven major rivers in China.The Haihe River is regarded as the ‘mother river’ of Tianjin. Covering a catchment area of 122,700 sq miles, it is a great contributor to the improvement of Tianjin, and ties closely to the lives of people living there for generations. People visiting it today to appreciate its scenic beauty as well as its historical and cultural atmosphere. The Haihe River is a crucial river in Northern China formed by the convergence of five rivers in Tianjin. Historically, it was open to navigation 1,800 years ago and gradually became a junction for navigation in the Sui Dynasty. Through centuries of development, it became a trading center gathering a great influx of businessmen from around the nation. Today the former shipping center is a place for relaxation.

Regions along the river present beautiful views starting from Sanchakou to Daguangming Bridge. Countless attractions along the banks make the river a popular holiday destination.

Of all the sights, the Haihe Park is the most attractive. Like a jade belt attached to the banks, it is an ideal place for pleasure and rest. Two groups of bronze sculptures are particularly noticeable. Verdant trees, beautiful blossoms, green lawns, long corridors under ivy-laced frames, fountains, and sculptures decorate the park. Residents prefer to spend their leisure time ambling there. Visitors can get a general knowledge of Tianjin from the locals. Haihe Cultural Square is a key project in the comprehensive renovation of resorts along the river. It gained this name from the adjoining ancient culture street.

Focusing on cultural traditions and folk customs of Tianjin, the designer endowed the square with a style of solemnity and simplicity. Meanwhile, a modern element enters the design. The high-tech lighting, the causeway pavement and the wooden floor make the square a shining pearl of the bank.

Yungang Grottoes, One of the Three Major Cave Clusters in China

Yungang Grottoes punctuate the north cliff of Wuzhou Mountain, Datong.  Yungang Grottoes graphically tell the story of past glory. Yungang Grottoes are magnificent and colorful, which can be regarded as the top of Chinese stone carving art in the 5th century AD and the treasure house of ancient Chinese carving art. Yungang Grottoes of Datong is deemed as the Three Largest and Most Famous Grottoes Clusters together with Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, and Longmen Grottoes of Henan. Located at the southern foot of Wuzhou Mountain, the grotto area was excavated along the mountain, imposingly stretching 1 kilometer with rich contents. Covering over 18,000 square meters engraving area, there are existing 45 main caves, 209 subsidiary caves, more than 1,100 niches, and more than 51,000 stone statues, among which the largest statue measures 17 meters and the smallest only 2 centimeters. One of the largest stone caving art treasury famous both home and abroad, the Yungang Grottoes was inscribed as a key cultural relic under the state protection in 1961, a world heritage site in 2001, and a 5A national Scenic Area in 2007.

Yungang Grottoes is hailed as a Miracle in Chinese Art with its time-honored history, large scale, rich contents and superb carvings. The whole Yungang Grottoes is grand and dignified with prominent themes, and can be divided into three parts, the eastern, central and western, and the niches are densely distributed like a honeycomb. The eastern part takes pagodas as the principal thing; hence its name pagoda caves. Each of all grottoes in central part can be parted with a front room and back room; each grotto houses a Buddha, and basso-relievo covers cave walls and roofs. In western part, small grottoes and niches are in the majority and were built in later Northern Wei Dynasty.

Started in 450, the grottoes is a relic of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). Absorbing Indian Gandhara Buddhist art, the sculptures here developed traditional Chinese art melded with social features of the time.

During the reign of Emperor Xiao Wen a monk named Tanyao took charge of the construction of Yungang Grottoes. The largest cave is No.6, which is 20 meters (65.6 foot) high, standing a 15-meter (49.2-foot)-high pagoda-like column decorated with Buddha statues and designs. On the four sides of the tower pillar, and on the east, south and west walls of the cave, 33 embossed panels depict the story of Saykamuni.

Zhaozhou Bridge, One of the Most Famous Bridges in China

Zhaozhou Bridge is about 25km (15.53 miles) from the southeast of Shijiazhuang City, and it was designed by renowned constructor Li Chun.

Zhaozhou Bridge is the earliest and best-preserved open-spandrel stone arch bridge now in existence. The name was bestowed by Emperor Zhezong of the Song Dynasty (1085-1100 A.D.), meaning ensuring people safe lives and aiding people. Designated by the State Council as being among China’s foremost protected monuments in 1961, Zhaozhou Bridge was also selected by the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) as the twelfth “milestone of international civil engineering” and a bronze monument was presented by the ASCE.

The first view of the Park that jumps to the eye is the archaic door to the mountain.

Zhaozhou Bridge stands out as a shining pearl set among the interspersed pavilions, the green grass and the majestic pines. The bridge is restored, but you can still see the relics of the old bridge, which are “national treasures”, in the exhibition room. In addition, there are also showrooms with an introduction to the surrounding environment and culture and a model designed for the expansion of Zhaozhou Bridge Park in future. If the whim hits you, you can row a boat on the blue-green water; Meanwhile, you can also have a taste of tea, read the legends of this bridge and get to know the influences of a bridge to the culture of a nation. You can also sit under the pavilions or the trees for comfortable and sweet dreams.

With a total length of 64m (211 feet), a span of 37m (121 feet) and a height of 7m (24 feet), the Zhaozhou Bridge is a single-arch stone bridge that has the longest span and history. The bridge is sophisticated yet elegantly constructed. Taking in the whole view, you will find it a single-arch bridge. However, it is actually a vertical combination of 28 arches. The two smaller spans in the shoulders of the bridge is an innovation in the history of the bridge construction, giving the stone bridge a fairly pretty design. Why is the Zhaozhou Bridge famous? Zhaozhou Bridge has its own architectural features: the greatness of the span and the smoothness of the arc not only cut the use of stone material but also facilitate travel. The two small spans in the two shoulders increase the drainage area to ease the flow of water, cut the use of stone material, lighten the bridge, and enhance the stability. The vertical combination building method makes every arch an independent body so that it would be convenient and economical for construction and restoration.

The sculptures on the bridge, such as the dragons, flowers and etc, are powerful, elegant, vivid and profound, demonstrating the artistic style and the essence of the Sui sculpture. As important as the Eiffel Tower and the Panama Canal, this bridge is honored as ‘the first well-known stone bridge in ancient China.’

Rishengchang Former Bank, One of the Earliest Exchange Shops in China

The Rishengchang Former Bank (Rishengchang literally meaning sunrise prosperity), one of the earliest exchange shops in China, is located on West Street in Pingyao Ancient City, Shanxi Province. The rectangular compound faces north and is 65 meters (71 yards) long and 20 meters (22 yards) wide. In total it occupies over 1,300 square meters (approximately a third of an acre). It was established in 1823 during the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). At that time it had over 35 branches in China’s major cities. In December 1995, Shanxi Provincial Government listed it as a Provincial Key Cultural Relic under the Reservation and it is now the Chinese Exchange Shop Museum.

In the Qing Dynasty, China’s currency was silver. If merchants had to carry a large number of coins, there were obvious problems in safety and convenience. The exchange shop provided a convenient option, so the bill of Exchange began to be used and created an early form of bank. Cash deposited in one branch can be paid in the form of notes in another branch, which is a safe way to transfer funds from one merchant to another without time and distance restrictions. Nisheng Changyuan bank has won the reputation of “connecting the world with foreign exchange”, which means that silver and paper money can be circulated all over the country. Before the establishment of modern banking system, Rishengchang bank had a great impact on China’s economy in 108 years from its opening to its final bankruptcy. Due to the great influence of Rishengchang on the development of China’s banking industry, it has become a place of considerable interest to tourists in recent years.

The shop is within a compound with three courtyards. In the front of the compound, five rooms facing the street served as the gate of Rishengchang Former Bank. The board with the name of the shop hangs in central position above the five rooms. Passing through these rooms, you will come to the first courtyard in which four cashier’s offices are situated on either side of the passage that runs along the axis of the compound. In the second courtyard, the three south facing halls were used for the exchange business.

In the second courtyard there are also rooms which housed the staff who worked in the exchange shop, while the second storey served as store rooms. The third courtyard served as accommodation for the senior staff and due to its location away from the noise of the road also provided a resting place for important customers. For security, a net made from metal thread was fixed over the top of the whole compound. Small bells were hung on the net to sound a warning if intruders tried to enter the premises.

Pingyao Ancient Ming-Qing Street, Wall Street of China

Pingyao Ancient City was established in the centre of Shanxi Province, and is well-known for the Local Resident Houses of the famous Jin (short name of Shanxi)  Merchants who indulged in business and then returned many years later when they were quite rich. At this sight, we usually can’t help wondering ‘How has a prospering business like this existed in Pingyao’. Here, on the Ancient Ming-Qing Street, the called ‘Wall Street of China’ and where Liang’s Compound is located, we’ll find an answer.

Ancient Ming-Qing Street was the noisiest centre of business at that time. The street is not very wide, with various kinds of shops orderly arranged along the road. These shops were all built with bricks and stones completely in the style of Ming and Qing architecture, which are all the prototypes of the aged buildings and quite different from the imitation works now. In the granite thresholds of each decent house, two lines of deep trails left by the running-over carriages can still be found, which provides evidence of the former bustle of business and also the pride held for them in the old days.

Pingyao had been the focus of trade and lead the national finance for decades since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). On the main streets of South Avenue, West Avenue and East Avenue, various shops, firms and banks are scattered, along with a wide range of businesses, including a teashop, cloth shop, salt shop, silk shop, general merchandise shop, hockshop, exchange shop among others. West Avenue, where the known nowadays as the ‘Countryside Grandfather’ of sundry Chinese banks, Rishengchang Former Bank is located, was called ‘the First Financial Street of Great Qing (1644-1911)’.

Nowadays, many shops on the Ancient Ming-Qing Street have been rebuilt to be used as museums or restaurant. For example, Baichuantong Exchange Shop now displays furniture, calligraphy, household utensils and other articles of the previous housemasters. Yonglonghao Exchange Shop has been rebuilt as the national lacquer museum and Yunjincheng Chinese Medicine Shop as Pingyao Traditional Famous Food Restaurant.

Walking to the centre of the Ancient Ming-Qing Street, you can see a tall pavilion building. Here almost all the businesses in this city were concentrated back then. This building, also called City Building, along with the City Wall, has become witnesses to the long history of this ancient city in the people’s eyes. A well is hidden in the southeast of the building, the color of its water is said to be closest to gold. Hence the building is also called ‘Golden Well Building’. The spot had entered into the directory of Twelve Sceneries of Pingyao in the Qing Dynasty and this area is also listed as a key spot now under provincial cultural protection.

Entering the Ancient Ming-Qing Street, you can not only feel the atmosphere of the flourishing businesses formerly established but also appreciate the really ancient building designs. Don’t pass by the chance to properly taste some of the delicious food available in Pingyao, such as noodles made as dishes, savory beefs as well as the uniquely fragrant and dainty ‘Wantuo’. With so many interesting and historical attractions to visit and divine concoctions to sample, this area is sure to make a lasting impression on you once you venture here.

Zhonghua Gate, the Biggest Castle-style City Gate in China

Zhonghua Gate is the South Gate of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. As a precious cultural relic, it has the double characteristics of the largest castle gate in China and the most complex castle in the world. It is the magnificent scale, exquisite structure and superb construction technology of this castle that have left an important position in China’s military and architectural traditions.

Construction of the castle took twenty-one years, from 1366 to 1387. The Zhonghua Gate, originally called the ‘Gate of Gathering Treasure’ carries a legend from the time of its creation in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). According to the legend, when Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, had the gate built, the ground kept sinking. The gate collapsed again and again. It was not until a treasure bowl was buried underground that it stood firm. In 1931, to commemorate the revolution of 1911 and the Republic of China (1919-1949) that emerged as a result, the Gate of Gathering Treasure was renamed Zhonghua Gate. In Chinese Pinyin, Republic of China is written as Zhonghua Minguo.

Nanjing was the capital of China during the Ming Dynasty under the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. Zhu Di, the son of Zhu Yuanzhang, moved the capital to Beijing in 1420. In 1366, Zhu Yuanzhang began to build a wall around the city of Nanjing to defend it from attack. The Gate of Gathering Treasure was built on the site of a previous gate, the south gate of the city built during the Later Tang Dynasty (923 – 936). The new one, the grandest among the thirteen gates of the new castle, was an architecturally complex structure composed of three closed courtyards and four arched doors serving as the entrance. There were double paneled wooden doors and with additional stone door set behind. If the enemy broke through the wooden doors, they could be separated and trapped in the three closed courtyards upon dropping the stone doors.

Twenty-seven tunnels were built in the castle to store large quantities of food and weapons and to hold approximately 3,000 soldiers. Wide and steep ramps were built on the east and west side to allow people to carry materials upward. The entire structure was built with massive bricks mortared together with special cement made from lime, sticky rice juice and tung oil. In order to guarantee the quality of the construction, every brick underwent a strict quality control process. The brick makers and builders were ordered to mark their names on each brick. Even today, it is possible to find Chinese characters and numbers on the bricks. No doubt, this detailed attention to quality of construction is one of the reasons why the condition of the castle remains so remarkably good today.

Nanjing Presidential Palace, the Biggest China Modern History Museum

At No. 292, Changjiang Road, Xuanwu District, the Nanjing Presidential Palace, originated in the Ming Dynasty as a royal residence, is now the biggest China Modern History Museum. More than 90,000 square meters, the Nanjing Presidential Palace covers three exhibiting sections: the middle section, the western section, and the eastern section respectively, comprising altogether eleven halls.

Through the western style gatehouse rebuilt in 1929, there are audience waiting rooms on both sides. Going forward, this road leads to the great hall, an ancient Chinese building with double eaves. The great hall has undergone many dramatic changes, but it is always ready for various occasions, such as the completion of Sun Yat-sen’s West Wing at the back of the Great Hall in 1912.

A North corridor connects the great hall and the auditorium as well as the retro second level hall in the late Qing Dynasty. The second level hall serves as a ceremonial place for the reception of envoys. Go north, pass a reception room and Kirin gate, and you will arrive at the government administration. There are many interesting materials in the exhibition. Go on, and you will arrive at the main building of Nanjing presidential palace, that is, Zichao building. There are five floors in the tower, one for civil servants, two for president and vice president, and three for meetings.

Xuyuan is located in the west side of Nanjing presidential palace, so it is also called “Xiyuan”. As a typical garden in the south of the Yangtze River, Xuyuan has stone boat,Lianyi Pavilion, Yinxin stele house, etc. The most notable building is the office of the interim president, where the first cabinet meeting of the interim republican government took place on 21 January 1912. Later occupied by military organizations of the National Government.

It had once been the site of an administration building and is now used to display some important historical documents and records. Exhibitions on different themes are often held here.

Xuyuan Garden, Famous for its Unique Southern China Gardening Style

Xuyuan Garden was built in the Ming Dynasty. It was named after the prince Zhu gaoxu who lived here. Xuyuan Garden later became the residence of the governors of Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Xuyuan, also known as Xiyuan, is located on the west side of the palace of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851-1864). The kingdom was founded by a peasant leader, Hong Xiuquan, who declared himself king. Xuyuan Garden later became the presidential palace of Sun Yat Sen (1912-1949), the interim president of the Republic of China. Visitors will find that Xuyuan Garden is the epitome of modern Chinese.

While Xuyuan Garden in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province covers an area only a little more than four acres (1.6 hectares), it occupies an important place in Chinese history. Despite its relatively small size, it is also renowned for its unique southern China gardening style. It is located in the Presidential Palace, at No. 292 on Changjiang Road.

Xuyuan Garden’s scenery is definitely worth viewing especially because of its historical significance. It is one of the two most famous gardens in Nanjing City, the other being Zhanyuan Garden. With water covering about half an acre of its total area, Xuyuan Garden is small, but exquisite. Its architecture is rather ingenious, exhibiting the unique beauty and charm of southern gardening. One of the most popular spots here is Buji Zhou, a handcrafted stone boat. Other attractions include Tongyin Guan; Xijia Lou; Wangfei Pavilion and Yuanyang Pavilion.

Buji Zhou was built in 1746 by Yin Jishan, governor of Zhejiang Province and Jiangsu Province. The stone boat has become a symbol of Xu Yuan. It’s made of marble, 14.5 meters long (about 47 feet), 4.6 meters wide (about 15 feet), and 2.7 meters high (about 9 feet). Its roof is covered with yellow glazed tiles. Its brick railings are carved with many fine colored paintings on both sides of the boat. The ship is divided into fore and aft compartments. There is a stone walkway leading to the ship. The ship was named and inscribed by Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) during his tour in southern China. Buji state has two meanings: one is about its lakeside; the other is about the belief that the country can enjoy permanent stability only with the support of the masses. Xu Yuan’s breeze blowing, the lake ripples, giving people a feeling of boat floating on the waves.