Luoyang

The ancient city of Luoyang, located along the southern banks of the middle reaches of the Yellow River, in one of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China. More than 70 rulers had their capitals here; hence the name Capital of Nine Dynasties. In addition to many places of interest, Luoyang takes pride in its peonies. Every April, the city’s Peony Show attracts numerous visitors from home and abroad. Luoyang is also famous for its three-colored glazed pottery, bronze ware, and palace lanterns.

Longmen Grottoes: The world-famous Longmen Grottoes is located 12km south of Luoyang. Here two mountains, namely, East Hill (Mt. Xiangshan) and West Hill (Mt. Longmen), confront each other with the Yi River traversing northward between them, just like a pair of Chinese gate towers. So during the Zhou and Qin dynasties, it was called Yi Que (Gate of Yi River). Later, when the Sui established its capital city in Luoyang, the palace gate was just facing Yi Que, hence the name Longmen which means Dragon Gate.

Spanning a length of over 1,000 meters on the hillsides along Yi River, Longmen Grottoes, together with Mogao Caves in Dunhuang (Gansu Province) and Yungang Grottoes (Shanxi Province), are reputed as the three great stone sculpture treasure houses in China. In 2000, Longmen Grottoes was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Longmen Grottoes were first sculptured and chiseled around 493AD when the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) was moved from Datong to Luoyang. The entire construction of Longmen Grottoes totally lasted more than four hundred years through the Northern Dynasties, Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and up to Song Dynasty. Today, there are still 2345 caves and niches, 100,000 Buddhist images ranging in size from 2 cm to 17.14 meters, more than 2800 inscribed tablets, and 43 Buddhist pagodas remaining in both East Hill and West Hill. Among all this remains, 30 % date from Northern We Dynasty, 60 % from Tang Dynasty and the rest 10 % from other periods.

Temple of the White Horse: Founded in the year 68, the Temple of the White Horse has been known as China’s first temple since the introduction of Buddhism. Legend says that 2 Indian monks brought Buddhist scriptures to Luoyang on white horses and the founders named the temple after this event. Many of the halls and statues found in this monastery date back to the Yuan and Ming dynasties (1206-1644AD).

Lord Guan’s Forest: Lord Guan’s Forest is also known as Emperor Guan’s Temple. Guan Yu was a famous general from the Three Kingdom period (220-263AD). The loyal warrior was executed by a rival ruler, but his head was salvaged by his supporters so that he could be given a honorable burial on these grounds. The buildings that make up the temple are beautiful Ming creations that are richly decorated yet remain tasteful and elegant. Within the trees and buildings are many monuments honoring Guan life including a 20 meter (67ft) high statue enclosed by an octagonal red wall, a stele pavilion and beautifully designed murals telling the story of his life.

The Museum of Ancient Tombs: The Museum of Ancient Tombs is the first such museum in China, with distinctive scholastic and artistic value. It has 22 restored ancient tombs dating from the Han dynasty (206-220BC) to the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127AD). Many colorful murals have been restored and pottery pieces and other relics extracted from the tombs are also on display.

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