2003 Root-Seeking China Tour
Under the joint auspices of American Youth Culture and Education Exchange Center, Chinese American Youth Summer Camp. A Trip to China for Seeking Ancestor in past four years was of a great success.
Through the tour, the visitors learned a great deal about China's culture, heritage, and language. They saw with their own eyes how rapidly China had developed over the years. Their experiences had taught them to recognize themselves through their ancestors and will forever leave a mark in their lives.
In the year of 2003, we will form a larger scale summer camp - "A Trip to China for Seeking Root in 2003"- uniting different societies that concern about the affairs of youth. This is our fifth tour of Chinese rook seeking. In this year it is a 13 day tour. We will visit Beijing, Mt. Huangshan, Yixian, Tunxi, Jixi, and Shanghai.
This China Tour Date: July 19- July 31, total 13day
Landing only: $988.00 + $100 registration fee. The youth can register, who are healthy, of good character and scholarship, and ages is 12 and up in America. The parents, friends, and relatives are welcome to take part in it. Adults can also enjoy the same price with the youth.
Youth who is under the age of 12 needs accompanying by parents or relatives in China throughout the journey. The member limit in America is 80.
If you have any questions, please contact us at 408-996-1668
Brief introduction of the cities & views
The Great Wall,the Wall of 10,000 Li, is considered to be one of the most impressive structures in the world. It winds across deserts, valleys and mountains like a chain. It is said to be the only man- made structure visible from the moon.
Construction of the Great Wall started in the 7th century B.C. The vassal states under the Zhou Dynasty in the northern parts of the country each built their own walls for defence purpose. After the state of Qin unified China in 221 B.C., it joined the walls to hold off the invaders from the Xiongnu tribes in the north and extended them to more than 10,000 li or 5,000 kilometres.This is the origin of the name of the "10,000-li Great Wall".
The Great Wall was renovated from time to time after the Qin Dynasty. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368,and took 200 years to complete. The wall we see today is almost exactly the result of this efforts. With a total length of over 6,000 kilometres, it entends to the Jiayu Pass in Gansu Province in the west and to the mouth of the Yalu River in Liaoning Province in the east.
The Great Wall varies in height and breadth due to the specific conditions of the terrain. On Badaling mountain, it is about 7-8m high and 6-7m wide. The Wall is so wide that five horsemen or ten men can march along it abreast. There are gateways built at intervals along it inside from which the walk on top of the wall, paved with a triple layer of bricks, can be reached.
The wall was not only valuable as a defence system, it was also a significant theronghfare. Great masses of people could cover long distances through rough areas comparatively fast and comfortable, whereas otherwise transportation would have caused considerable problems.
The Palace Museum, also called the Forbidden City, is one of the Country's most important sights, for it is a symbol of traditional China and likewise the biggest and best preserved masterpiece of Classical architecture.
The Forbidden City was completed in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty. It was the home of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qin dynasties. Naturally it was the scene of many important events affecting the course of Chinese history,including political struggles and palace coups,some of them extremely tragic.
The Forbidden City occupies a total space of more than 720, 000 square metres. It is surrounded by a moat of 50m wide and a wall 10.4m high with watch towers at each of the corners.The building in this palace complex are measured in 9,999.5 bays.The surrounding palace walls are 10 metres high and have a total length of 3,400 metres,and are protected by a 52-metre-wide moat. The Forbidden City consists of two parts, the Outer Court and the Inner Court.The Outer Court centres around the Hall of Supreme Harmony,the Midway Hall of Harmony and the Hall of preserved Harmony,which are flanked by the hall of Literary Glory and the Hall of Military Prowess.The Inner Court centres around the Hall of Celestial Purity,the Hall of Union and Peace and the Hall of Terrestrial Transquility,which are flanked by the Six East Palaces and the Six West Palaces. The layout is orderly and symmetrical.
Every year millions of Chinese and foreigners throng to the huge palace grounds to see the treasures and precious objects, power and splendor abundance and extravagance of former emperors.
Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is located in the southeastern part of Beijing. This compound is one of the largest parks in the city, covering 273 hectares,two times the size of the Palace Museum.The Temple of Heaven was built in 1420.Emperors of the Ming and Qin dynasties came here to pray for a good harvest in spring and for rain in summer, and to offer sacrifices to heaven in winter.
The Temple of Heaven is composed of Western Heavenly Gate, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests,Imperial Vault of Heaven, Echo Wall, Circular Mound Altar, Hall of Abstinence and East Gate.
On the national coat of arms of the People's Republic of China, the Tian'anmen Gate is represented as the symbol of the revolutionary new China. Tian'anmen Gate is located north of Tian'anmen Square and leads to the Forbidden City. It was built as early as 1417 and mentioned as the main gate of the former Imperial Palace, Chengtian Men. The gate is surrounded by a ring-moat,the Golden Water Spring,which was arranged to guard the Imperial Palace.The 33.7-metre-high Tian'anmen Gate was used by the emperor for grand ceremonies, for the lauching of military expeditions under his personal command, and for his royal wedding. Imperial edicts were issued from the gatertower.In front of the entire complex stand two ornamental columns with carved decorations on the white marble.They are symbols of heavenly peace and the emperor's authority.
Tian'anmen Square was originally designed in 1651;it was cemented and quadrupled in size in 1958.Now it covers an area of 40.5 hectares and can hold up to one million people;thus,it is one of the largest public square in the world.It is surrounded by several impressive structures. The oldest of these is the Tian'anmen Gate to the north. To the east are the Museums of Chinese History and Revolutionary,to the west the Great Hall of the People and to the south the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall and the Qianmen Gate.In the middle of the square is the Monument of the People's Heroes.Tian'anmen Square has often been the scene of big demonstrations,mass meetings, parades and celebrations since it was built.
The Summer Palace The Summer Palace,Garden of Harmonious Unity,lies in a northwestern suburb of Beijing. This is one of the largest and best preserved Imperial Chinese gardens;it is an outstanding example of classical Chinese garden landscaping.Man-made Kunming Lake,Longevity Hill,the man -made hills as well as halls,pavilions and temples blend harmoniouslyinspite of their individual styles.
The emperor of the Jin Dynasty laid the foundation stone in 1153 and he had Garden of the Golden Water laid out.During the coming eras, the garden and lake were again enlarged and deepened. Under the Qianlong Emperor,Large-scale work was done,and the park was made its present size of 290 hectares.Three-fourths of it are taken up by Kunming Lake. Since the Qianlong period ,the garden has been called Garden of Clear Ripples.As the imperial family spent most of the hot summer months here, the palace was soon called the Summer Palace.
Mt. Huangshan a Marvel of Natural Beauty(1)
Located in the southern part of Anhui Province, the Yellow Mountains extend across - Shexian, Yixian, Taiping and Xiuning. They rose above the earth surface as a result of movement of the earth's crust over a hundred million years ago. Later they underwent the erosion of Quaternary glaciation and have gradually become what they are today. Magnificent and imposing, it is a famous scenic spot full of wonderful sights.
The Yellow Mountains known as Yishan in the Qin Dynasty (221 -207 B.C.) got their present name in 747 A.D. (the 6th year of the Tianbao reign of the Tang Dynasty), when Li Bai (701 -762), the great Tang poet, wrote about them in these lines:
Thousands of feet high towers the Yellow Mountains
Autumn dresses the mountains in red and purple, as maples are all blazing - red; winter turns them into a world of frost and ice with silver boughs and rocks everywhere. So from ancient times it has been frequented by tourists seeking their mystery and admiring their scenery. They come to the conclusion that the fantastic pines, the grotesque rocks, the sea of clouds and the hot springs are the four major attractions of the Yellow Mountains. As a matter of fact there are marvels almost everywhere especially in the following scenic areas: Wenguan (Hot Spring), Yupinglou (Jade Screen Tower), Xihai (West Sea), Beihai (North Sea), Yungusi (Cloud Valley Temple) and Songguan (Pine Valley Nunnery).
Owing to the peculiar terrain, the Yellow Mountains' climate is marked by a vertical change, and the vertical distribution of vegetation is also distinctive: plants on the summit, on the middle levels and at the foot belong to the frigid, temperate and subtropical zones respectively. There are more than 1500 species of plants, of which trees comprise one third. So the Yellow Mountains occupy an important place in China's botanical research. Here you will find century-old pines, firs ginkgoes, Chinese torreyas, Chinese sweet gums, nanmus, camphorwoods and the precious Magua trees, remnants of the glacial era. The Yellow Mountains abound in flowering plants; many of them are rare ones, such as Goddess Flower, the Yellow Mountains Azalea as well as camellia, plum, lily crape myrtle, orchid, Spring Herald Ina Flower and so on. It has a rich store of medicinal herbs; more than 300 kinds are found here, the notable ones being glossy ganoderma, ginseng, Chinese goldthread rhizome and Chinese cinnamon. Maofeng tea of the Yellow Mountains is well known at home and abroad.
Mt. Huangshan a Marvel of Natural Beauty (2)
The Yellow Mountains also provide the natural habitat for a wide variety of fauna. Among the animals there are monkeys, goats, deer and David's deer. There are rare birds such as the red - billed leiothrix, the silver pheasant, the octave-tone bird and the oriole, all good singers. The red-billed leiothrix (called ''love birds'' in Chinese) are so lovely that they have become favorites of foreign tourists and are exported by pairs. Besides, chukkas from the streams is good to make delicious dishes with.
The temperature in Yellow Mountains is agreeable all the year round. It is cool in summer, averaging 20C at the North Sea Guest-house (1,630 metres above sea) and 25C at Hot Spring (630 metres above sea) in July (the hottest month) . As clouds often shut out the sun, hot weather never stays long, and this makes Yellow Mountains an ideal summer resort.
Scientific researches such as geological prospecting, botanical meteorological survey, medicinal herbs collecting, etc. are carried out by respective work teams from all parts of the country. There are artistic activities here too, with painters, photographers, writers, poets, musicians and actors, Chinese and foreign, coming to do creative work or enrich their experiences.
DWELLING HOUSE AND ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE (1)
In the Southern Song Dynasty, as the capital was moved to Lin' an, Emperor Gao Zong went in for large-scale construction. The new palace, with all the gardens and ponds, was ten times as large as that in Kaifeng, the old capital. His courtiers followed suit. Most of the military officers and civil officials who had moved to the South built private mansions and pavilions. This not only stimulated Huizhou merchants to engage in the trades of bamboo, wood or lacquer, but also helped to bring up Huizhou craftsmen in large numbers and to spread the southern architectural art. Huizhou merchants who returned home after making a fortune followed the vogue and had new houses painstakingly designed and built. Their purposes were, on the one hand, to meet the demands of their luxurious life and, on the other hand, to ensure and increase their vested interests through patriarchal-feudal activities. They were therefore eager to construct houses in their hometown. Villas, gardens and temples were built, arches and steles set up, ancestral halls renovated, roads and bridges improved, and real estate purchased to increase the clan property. Consequently, a distinctive Huizhou architectural art as a system came into being and gradually took shape. Setting foot on the soil of Huangshan Municipality, whichever county you are in, you will find yourself in "another world . There are over 5,000 sites of cultural vestige. Among all other places in China, Huangshan boasts the most and the best-preserved ancient architecture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Ubiquitous are ancient streets, lanes, houses, pavilions, bridges, pagodas, temples, arches, ruins, graves and steles, which differ greatly in function and design. The streets and lanes are all paved with flagstones, which incline gently to one side. The pavement is neat and smooth, but the stones are pitted so that they are not slippery in rainy days. The paths wind and turn in all their chastity and elegance. A nostalgia for the olden days will well up in the tourist' s heart as he strolls along. Official residences and ancestral temples are similar in style with whitewashed walls and grey tiles. The enclosing walls are higher than the houses. The top of the wall goes up in steps here and there. As such walls look like a horse's head, they are called horse-head walls , and as they ward off wind and fire as well as burglars, they are also known as wind-and-fire walls . The common people's homes, on the other hand, are generally a compound with houses around a courtyard on three or four sides. Most houses are two-story, and there are a few with three stories. The doorframe is built of stone, with a roof or an arch over the gateway. The front door opens to a winged forecourt, which ventilates the rooms and provides more natural light. In some of the forecourts there are flowerbeds or fishponds. On the ground floor is the central hall, which is flanked by bedrooms. In some houses a stage is set up opposite the hall. The upper floor veranda usually runs around the court on three or four sides. Some wealthy families have special benches set along the balustrade where the ladies of the family used to sit idling away their leisurely hours by viewing the sight. These benches are both practical and artistic, locally known as beauty recliners . In the feudal China, the standards of dwelling places were officially stratified according to the owner' s social position. Any house constructed beyond the restriction was an open offense to the owner' s superiors and would induce severe punishment. Therefore the local gentry, in their effort to avoid appearing ostentatious, went in for exquisite decoration in the interior of their houses. Beams, pillars and purling are all gilded or painted, and the art of carving-on wood, brick, and stone-is displayed to the full. Exquisitely carved on the brackets, upturned eaves, lattice, arch, balustrade, shrines, etc. are landscape (sun, moon, clouds, waves, mountains, rivers, pavilions, gardens), animals and plants (flowers, grass, insects, fish, birds, beasts), legendary stories, mythical figures, historical events, and common practice (farming, weaving, fishing. cutting wood, studying for an official career, acting with filial piety and fraternal duty). The carvings, done with superb workmanship, cover a large range of subjects and contain substantial contents-a true gallery of the local conditions in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The otherwise motionless and monotonous still life is so vividly animated that it seems a naturally integral part of the family.
The ancient town of Yixian County has been referred to as "Wonderland for its unique appeal. Li Bai once described in his lines Yixian boats a wonderland and wonders see no end . And the local people like to entitle their houses Home on Wonderland" and inscribe it on a horizontal board hung over the gate. Besides ancient bridges, towers, tablets, arches and other historical and cultural remains, extant in the town are 3,000 dwelling houses built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which reveal in some way the features of ancient residential quarters. And all around town are green and shady trees and murmuring streams. The whole atmosphere is characterized by peace, harmony, freshness and simplicity, which will soothe all worldly cares. In Xidi village, referred to as the residence museum , there are 600 dwelling houses, 99 lanes and over 90 wells. With a population of about ten thousand, it has been described as "a village with a thousand households and ten thousand inhabitants . The overall arrangement of the houses is as intricate as a maze- easy for one to get in but hard to find his way out. 122 houses built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties are extant in the village. Among them are classically and elegantly decorated scholars' residences such as "Lufu Mansion , solemnly designed officials' residences such as "Minister' s Mansion , and the magnificently constructed Nanping ancestral temples complex. In addition, well preserved in the village is the ancient Silk-Ball Pavilion, where beauties once threw their silk balls at the handsome boys of their hearts. This is a place for tourists to dwell upon the exciting sight far back in the olden days.
DWELLING HOUSE AND ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE (2)
The ancient buildings on either side of Tunxi Street are of another flavor. The street is 1.5km long, paved with brown stone slabs and flanked by shops, workshops and dwelling houses. Red walls, green roofs, double-eaves, engraved balustrade and carved window lattice feature a typical style of Huizhou architecture. Various sign-boards are hung over the different shops and firms, such as the time-honored Tongderen Herbal Medicine, Chengdexing Sauce, Tonghe Scales, Huibaozhai Ink, Tianyugai Umbrellas, Buyunxuan Shoes, Fulongzhuang Local Products, etc. The naming of the shops still retains an ancient style of implicitness. The 5-metre-wide street is always crowded at the market time. Shoppers and tourists rub shoulders, noises, selling cries and music mix with each other, and the sweet smell of cooking fills the street* Such is a scene typical of the markets in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Situated in Qimen County is an ancient house called Xinwuli , or Six Counties Under One Prefecture by the local people. Built by Ni Wangzhong, a court minister in Tongzhi's reign of the Qing Dynasty, it covers an area of 1,600m2. There are various interpretations concerning the name Six Counties Under One Prefecture . Some say it is related to the architectural form, for the house consists of a central hall and six rooms. But the most commonly accepted interpretation goes with the owner's life story. Ni was successively the magistrate of six counties in Zhejiang and then became the prefecture magistrate. So back in his native place Zhukou Village he had his house laid out in this six-one structure to commemorate his official career. The grand central hall is used to receive guests and hold banquets. Around it are six rooms, which serve as living room, study and bedrooms. The whole house symbolizes his official posts in six counties and one prefecture. With courtyards, fishponds, gardens, carved beams and painted pillars, the overall arrangement of the mansion is reasonable and in a neat formation, reflecting the architectural style of the time and the social status of the owner.
The town of Shexian County, one of the famous cultural and historical towns in China, was once the capital of Huizhou Prefecture. It has been booming in culture, and hence regarded as "the most famous cultural town in the Southeast . As a result there are countless sites of historical or cultural interest. It is said that there are several thousand ancestral temples in Shexian County alone, as well as over 200 dwelling houses, workshops, towers, pavilions, temples and other buildings of the Ming Dynasty, and a lot of architecture of the Qing Dynasty. There in the county are also dwelling house gardens, ancestral temples and memorial arches, left behind by rich merchants and bureaucrats and regarded as the three ancient architectural masterpieces ; magnificent bridges, ancient pagodas and temples; as well as some precious ancient mural paintings and exquisitely copied stone inscriptions by famous calligraphers of different dynasties. Among the most ancient buildings are the two Song Pagodas (Xinzhou Stone Pagoda and Changqing Temple Pagoda) and Dongqiao Watchtower, all built more than 800 years ago; Taiping Bridge, built 700 years ago; as well as Laowu Mansion, the Green Pavilion and some temples and houses, which are about 400~500 years old. Collected in the Steles Garden are over 200 stone inscriptions of famous calligraphers' handwritings. The inscription of Yuqing Copybook and Qingjiantang Copybook are the best preserved, converging the calligraphically essence of different schools from the Jin to the Ming Dynasty, represented by Wang Xizhi, Ouyang Xun, Huai Su, Huang Tingjian, Mi Fu, Meng Fu, Dong Qichang and other master calligraphers.
DWELLING HOUSE AND ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE (3)
As regards memorial arches, one of the three architectural masterpieces . Shexian County ranks the first in number. Recorded in the Ming Dynasty Annals of Huizhou prefecture are 186 various memorial arches in the county. Though there have been no other statistics ever since, the number of the arches could not be smaller than that. Therefore, Shexian is commonly, regarded as a town of memorial arches . As many have been ruined through the vicissitude of time and nature, now only 94 remain. Nevertheless, they reveal in one-way or another the moral values of the time in terms of politics, economy and culture, for the arches were all built in praise of loyalty, filial piety, chastity, or righteousness. Such memorial arches were upheld as ethically significant and were meant to bear the values permanently. Most of the arches are made of stone. Only a few are in post and panel structure. They are varied in shape, but generally in the single-fronted, double-or quadric-posted towering-up style. Some are two- or three-or even five stories with double eaves. There are also square ones with four or eight posts. In some places the arches were built into a complex-in single file or in rows, which is rarely seen in other parts of the country. The memorial arches may roughly be classified into three types: scholarly honor, imperial honor and ethical honor. In ancient Huizhou, where literary learning was a prevailing practice, as many as I, 531 people succeeded in the imperial examinations in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. A family sometimes achieved this scholarly honor successively for several generations. The family thus gained great honor and the successful scholars became feudal bureaucrats. It was not uncommon that a scholarly honor arch was set up to show the glory. For instance, the four-poster and five-storied Jiangs Scholarly Honor Arch standing by the eastern entrance of Shexian County built in the Ming Dynasty is engraved with the names of 14 members of the Jiang clan who had passed the imperial examinations either at the provincial level or the highest level. And the imperial honor arches were built at the emperor£ª s favor to those who had made outstanding achievements in their official career. It was a special honor to be granted by the emperor to set up such arches as "Prime Minister and Number One Scholar Arch , "Huisheng (labor minister) Arch , Wuma (governor) Arch , and Four Generations in Court , which was built in honor of Cao Wenzhi and Cao Zhenyong, who entered the Qing court in succession, and thus the Cao family enjoyed a four-generation glory. The ethical honor arches, on the other hand, were built to praise people's integrity, such as charity, righteousness, filial piety and chastity. Some arches were set up in honor of longevity, like the Long- Lived Couple Arch for a loving couple of the village who lived to about 100 years old in the Ming Dynasty. The most ancient arch in Shexian County is the one named "Zhenbaili' in Zhengcun Village built in the late Yuan Dynasty. It is a stone-gate arch in pseudo-post-and-panel style with two posts, three story's and one gate. On the stone posts are grooves to fix in wooden door leaves, so the local people call it "Chastity Door. Xuguo Arch in the main street, on the other hand, is reckoned as the most magnificent of all. Built in the 12th year of Wanli's reign (1585) in the Ming Dynasty, it consists of two three-gated, four-posted and three-storied stone arches in the front and at the back, each flanked by two single-gated, two-posted and three-storied ones, forming a rectangular structure 11.4m high, 11.54m from north to south and 6.37m from east to west, with four fronts and eight posts. So it is also called eight-posted arches . They are made of gray stone. On the stone posts, beams, brackets and horizontal slabs over the gate are carved exquisite pictures. The inscriptions on all the four fronts are in the neatly beautiful handwriting of Dong Qichang (famous calligrapher). This majestic piece of architectural art is really unique. And Tangyue Arches Complex ranks the largest in size. Three arches were built in the Ming Dynasty and four in the Qing Dynasty. The seven arches stand in a line in the order of loyalty, filial piety, chastity and righteousness across the broad stone pavement at the village entrance. They were built to the good deeds of the Bao family in terms of political career, filial piety, chastity and charity. Nothing reveals more clearly the evil of the feudal ethics than the chastity arches. The so-called chastity refers to a woman's once-and-for-all attitude toward her marriage or engagement even when her husband or fianc* is dead. Women in the ancient Huizhou used to be bound in their marriage, while their men were out most of the time on business. They spent their life waiting for their husbands to return home. These women were in fact widows with husbands . Then at the end of their life they were probably honored as chaste women with their names engraved on the chastity arch! This was a most common case for the ancient Huizhou women. Of the 94 memorial arches extant, 34 were for chastity. The brick chastity arch built in the 31st year of Guangxu's reign (1906) was the last one, on which was engraved the names of 65,078 women of chastity or filial piety in Huizhou Prefecture. It is the sad life story of all the ancient Huizhou women.
The architecture of ancient Huizhou has drawn the attention of architects from all over the world. Sun Pengcheng, a Chinese-American, who has won the United States's highest honorary award for architecture, commented "Huizhou is a source of inspiration for architects, designers, gardeners artists, sculptors and artistic craftsmen in their creation . Chunhuayuan (Spring Park), an imitation of Huizhou' s Shuikou gardens, was completed in Frankfurt in 1989. China's national flag was thereby hoisted in front of the Parliament Building of Germany for this special occasion. The German people greatly admired this oriental classic park, saying that it had brought them an ever-lasting spring. In order to centralize the preservation of Huizhou architectural heritage, the relics preservation organizations relevant have set up in Qiankou an ancient residences museum, with ten Ming and Qing houses rebuilt by disassembling the old ones and assembling them into new ones. The museum provides adequate facilities for the study of the ancient Huizhou architecture as well as adds to the charm and mystery of the Huangshan Tourist Zone.
DWELLING HOUSE AND ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE (4)
THE BUFFALO SHAPED ARCHITECTURAL COMPLEX
The Buffalo Shaped Architectural Complex is situated in Hongcun Village 11km north of Yixian county town. In addition to the countless rows of brick buildings, the village is crisscrossed with irrigation ditches. The village lies at the foot of a mountain facing a stream. The whole layout looks like a buffalo, hence the name. The spring water from the mountain flows endlessly around the houses through the ditches winding southward like buffalo intestines, from Banyuetang, the pond , into Nanhu, as the stomach . The running water is never stale.
MING RESIDENCE MUSEUM
Ming Residence Museum, also called Zixia Villas, is situated in Qiankou Town of Huizhou District at of Zixia Mountain. It covers an area of 16,000m2 and centralizes buildings of historical, scientific, cultural and artistic significance, including a stone memorial arch, a stone arch bridge, a road pavilion, three temples, and four dwelling houses-ten pieces all-together. Before they were disassembled, these buildings had been sparsely scattered in various places, and they were assembled here according to the original formation so as to reveal historical and cultural style and features of the Ming Dynasty Huizhou.
XIDI VILLAGE ENTRANCE
Xidi Village, a place where the Husclan lived in compact communities, is situated to the east of Yixian county town. Erected at the entrance to the village is the magnificent Hu Wenguang Stone Arch, and well preserved in the village are ancient dwelling houses, gardens and a silk-ball pavilion.
In the grace of Emperor Wanli, a mansion was built by Zheng Shuangxi, an outstanding scholar successful in one of the highest imperial examinations. The mansion sits on the western end of Hongqiao Bridge in Yansi Town. The brick carvings on the gateway arch is of great reference value in the study of the baking of carved bricks in the Ming Dynasty.
The West Garden is a spacious and exquisite garden attached to the front part of the house. It is partitioned by tracery walls, with which the garden appears deeper in perspective. The whole layout is remarkably reasonable.
THE WEST WING ROOM
All the walls are made of planks. On the double-leaved door, the windows and the lattice are carved exquisite designs with superb workmanship.
LUFU MANSION SCHOLARS RESIDENCE
The 300-year-old mansion was built during Kangxi's reign in the Qing Dynasty. It is the best-preserved ancient dwelling house in Xidi Village. Hu Fuji, the owner of the house, keeps his family heirlooms such as The Learning of Five Generations, the portraits of their ancestors, ancient paintings, pumice stones, etc., which are of great appreciative and academic value.
It was a local practice in ancient times for girls from rich and powerful families to choose their marriage partners by throwing a silk-ball at young suitors. In front of the pavilion, there used to be an open ground and wide lanes. One can easily imagine the bustle and excitement in those days.
TUNXI. CAPITAL OF HUANGSHAN CITY
Tunxi has been one of the most important towns in southern Anhui since ancient times. It lies in the upper reaches of the Xin'an River on the vital communications line linking up the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang. From Tunxi highways extend to all parts of the country, the Anhui--Jiangxi Railway stretches westward, and airlines lead to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hefei, Hangzhou and other coastal cities. With all the facilities for travel, Tunxi is also a service center of the Huangshan Tourist Zone.
The Ancient Tunxi Street is so antique and quaint that it has been referred to as The Town of the Song Dynasty . And as the street scenes are good for shooting films of ancient stories, Tunxi Town is also regarded as an ideal Film and TV Town . The Song Dynasty (1127--1279), began to develop between the Late Yuan (1271--1368) and the early Ming Dynasty (1368--1644), formed a power around mid-Ming, flourished during Jiajing's reign (1522--1567), reached their culmination during Qianlong's reign (1736--1796), and then declined during Jiajing's and Daoguang's reigns (1796--1851). The history of Huizhou merchants covers about 600 years, and for 300 years they dominated the region. They occupy a significant place in the history of Chinese commerce. In the Southern Song Dynasty, as the capital was moved from Kaifeng to Lin' an (now Hangzhou), the political and economic center shifted to the South. This stimulated the economy of the neighboring areas to develop, and then the Central Plains culture was introduced to the South. Huizhou was situated in an important place between Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. It was significant to the economy of southeastern China as a communication hub between the South and the North. As a result of Huizhou' s particular geographical conditions and the need to develop economically, landowners began to take up business. At the beginning of the Southern Song Dynasty, according to records, Huizhou people were engaged in trade everywhere , selling tea, ink, paper and wood. After JiaJing' s reign in the Ming Dynasty, the number of traders amounted to 70% of the total Huizhou population. As the saying goes, It is a Huizhou practice that thirteen year-olds start their career in town and at seventeen they do business all over the country . Usually at the age of 1 2 or 1 3, Huizhou children began to work as apprentices in town. The shortage of land and the superfluity of manpower drove the farmers away from farming. The Ming Dynasty Anhui Chronicle comments, Many Huizhou people take up business, because they have no other choice . Generally they did a small trade, and most of them were under the control of a big business. They were not born merchants. Their success was an outcome of various social factors and their painstaking efforts. The Huizhou Chronicle of the Jiaqing years (1796-1821) describes them as properly dressed, well-spoken , fully aware of prices, knowing when to buy and when to sell, and gaining extra profits from selling local goods at other places . The earliest people who left Huizhou to make a living away from home never suspected that a flourishing Huizhou business would spread almost all over the country , and that Huizhou merchants would gain a national fame . The Huizhou business was almost all-embracing-tea, grain, salt, silk, cloth, wood, paint, paper, ink, pottery, etc., simply anything profitable. They opened teahouses, restaurants, hotels and pawnshops. The salt trade and pawnbroking, however, were the most prosperous. It is recorded in Shexian Chronicle-Local Conditions that of all the trades in Shexian, salt, pawnbroking, tea and wood are most prosperous, though salt prevailed in the past . The pawnbroking in those days was actually usury. Wei Chaofeng, a Huizhou pawnbroker depicted in Fantastic Stories, deprived a scholar of his real estate in three years' time by way of exorbitant rates of interest. By the years of Guangxu's reign (1875-1909), one could hardly find a pawnbroker who was not from Huizhou. There was no place too far for Huizhou merchants to expand . They pressed eastward to the north of Jiangsu, westward to Yunnan, Guizhou, and Gansu, northward to the east and south of Liaoning, and southward to Fujian and Guangdong, and further south they sailed to Japan, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries --their footmarks left on almost half of the globe . The resourceful Huizhou merchants were well versed in the expertise of obtaining a position so as to attach themselves to the court. Their strategy was to "provide funds for academic pursuits with business profits, get political positions through academic pursuits, and ensure business profits from the political positions" . Therefore, politics and commerce were closely related in Huizhou merchants. Having gained fame and fortune, they returned home in all their glory and went in for large-scale construction, building mansions, ancestral temples, guild-halls, roads and bridges to honor their ancestors and to extend the influence of the clan. They were bent on establishing academies, schools, and examination centers and cultivating feudal intellectuals to consolidate the patriarchal clan system. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, famous officials and talented scholars came forth in large numbers. According to statistics, between the Song and Qing Dynasties (960 - 1911), 2, 018 people from five counties (Shexian, Yixian, Xiuning, Qimen, Jixi) were granted the title of jinshi after they passed final imperial examinations, which were held every three years and presided over by the emperor; and during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911), the literary works of 343 people from Shexian County alone were included in Best Poems or Best Essays. There are stories about three successive Jinshis from one place, four Hanlins (members of the Imperial Academy) within ten li , "father and son both ministers" , "brothers both prime ministers , and three generations of imperially-honored courtiers" . With academic studies and etiquette greatly advocated, Huizhou was a cradle for talented scholars who made achievements in various domains. Huizhou culture, enriched with these achievements, displays a splendid view of liberal arts and history.
Huangpu RiverHuangpu River ranges 114 kilometers from Dingshan Lake, the source, northward to Wusong Kou, where it converges with the Yangtze River. 40 km of the river is within the metro-Shanghai. Although it is only about 400 meter wide and 9 meter deep, it sustains about one third of the China's total international trade. The river is the blood of Shanghai, the city stays alive based upon its existence.
A cruise trip along the river is essential for tourists to get a panoramic view of the fascinating city. Along the river, tourists can view the city's skylines, the Old City Town, all the bridges built along the river, its busy port area, the Bund with historical buildings of the Western styles, Hongqiao International Airport, Changxing Islet, Chongming Islet, and the site of ancient fort. At Wusong Kou, the mix of the heavily silted water of the Huangpu River with the clearer ocean tide creates three beautiful layers of color: yellow, green, and blue.
Oriental Pearl TV Tower
The Oriental Pearl TV Tower is one of the major achievements that symbol the rapid economic development and construction boom in Shanghai. Built in 1991, and located on the the east bank of Huangpu River, the 468 meter tall TV tower has become the new landmark of the city.
By elevator, it takes only 40 seconds to reach the upper sphere, 263 meters above the ground. From there, tourists can get a panoramic view of the fabulous city.
The TV tower is a modern entertainment complex that combines tourism, recreation, and cultural activities together. Souvenir stands, cafe, jazz band, and exhibitions are all available. It is also linked through bridges and corridors with another complex of spherical structures, which houses cinemas, restaurants, bazaars, and exhibition centers.
Nanpu BridgeThe Nanpu Bridge is another achievement that symbols the rapid economic development in Shanghai, especially in the Pudong Economic Development Zone. Until the construction of this bridge in 1991, there had been no link between the east and west banks of the Huangpu River other than ferries. Development and expanion of the city were confined to the west side.
The bridge is hung on two H-shaped abutments through cables. It spans 8,346 meters in total. Tourists can ascend to the bridge through elevators. On the bridge, tourists can have a charming view of the wonderful city, as well as the vigorous river.
Jade Buddha Monastery
The Jade Buddha Monastery is located in Anyuanlu street in western Shanghai. It dates from 1918 and is well worth a visit, not only for its two wellknown, valuable jade buddha statues. The monastery is still inhabited by monks. The temple consists of three main halls and two courtyards. there are statues of the four celestial kings in Tianwang Dian Hall. Gilded statues of Maitreya buddha and Weituo are also located there. Daxiong Baodian, the Treasure Hall of the Great Hero, contains three large, gilded Buddha statues:the buddhas of the past, present and future. There are 18 gilded Luohan statues to their left and right. One of the two jade Buddhas, a 1.9-m-tall portrayal of the real Buddha sitting at the moment of his enlightenment, stands on the second floor of Wentang Hall together with a collection of valuable Buddhist writings. The second Buddha statue, located in a hall on the western part of the temple grounds, portrays the reposing Sakyamuni during his passage into nirvana, 96 cm long.Each of these Buddha statues is carved out of a single piece of white jade. In addition to these two main attractions, the Jade Buddha Temple also has a collection of interesting sculptures, the oldest of which date from the 5th century, as well as a collection of 7,000 Buddhist classics. Some of them date as far back as the Tang era(618-907).
City God Temple
The City God Temple is located south of Yuyuan Garden. There used to be a temple to the local deity, which the inhabitants believed would protect them, in every city. The city deities were frequently real persons to whom the town owed something. Today, an arts and crafts store is in the temple.
Yuyuan garden is northeast of the Old Town. A high official had it designed in the Suzhou style as a private garden and built from 1559-1577. Later, it was restored several times. In spite of its relatively small area of two hectares, it seems considerably larger due to the skillful arrangement of 30 different landscape scenes. The garden consists of an inner garden which is in the southern part and substantially smaller than the outer one, but then, it is more impressive and romantic, if it is possible to visit it in the early morning hours in order to enjoy it alone. The outer part is in the north and contains numerous halls, pavilion and lakes. In 1853, the Pavilion of Spring in the northeast was the seat of the Xiaodao Hui, the Society of Little Swords, who led an uprising against Qing rule and occupied Shanghai for 17 months. Today, weapons and coins made by the Xiaodao Hui society, among other objects, are exhibited in this hall.
Longhua Pagoda and Longhua Temple
Longhua Temple is on the west bank of the Huangpu Jiang river inLonghua district in southern Shanghai. Its 40-m-high pagoda makes it an important sight.
Historic documents indicate that a pagoda was built here as early as the 3rd century. The present pagoda dates from 977. It was restored several times in later centuries and is built of wood and bricks.
Longhua Temple dates from the same period.
A bronze bell from 1382 said to weigh 1, 500kg is a feature of interest. In 1954, the entire complex was restored and a park added. It is especially pretty here in the springtime when the peach trees are in bloom.
Songjiang and Huzhu Pagoda Songjiang, also known as Huating, is an ancient town 40 kilometres to the west of Shanghai with a history of over 2000 years. There stand five ancient pagodas: Square Pagoda, Xilin Pagoda, Huzhu Pagoda, Li Pagoda and Xiudaozhe Pagoda. Huzhu Pagoda, which tilts to the west, is on Tianma Shan mountain in Songjiang district and was built in 1079. In 1788, important wooden parts were destroyed by fire, upon which old money was discovered between the bricks. In the hope of finding even greater treasures, the people tore more bricks out of the western side. Owing to this, the pagode tilted several degrees and has threatened to collapse for the last 200 years. It has become famous because it still stands in spite of all fears. The Sheshan Catholic Church, Ancient Screen Wall and Zuibai Pond are also the famous scenic spots in the area.