|Langzhong Ancient City |
With water surrounding on three sides, Langzhong Ancient City is situated in the embrace of mountains, and that is how it got its present name. It has been “An Important Place of Bashu” since ancient times and has a beautiful reputation of the “Langyuan Fairyland”. It is not only an old revolution base of Sichuan and Shanxi but also a famous cultural and historic ancient city in China. Langzhong Ancient City is one of the best preserved ancient cities in China, and is regarded as four ancient cities of China along with Lijiang in Yunan, Pingyao in Shanxi and Xixian in Anhui.
The 1.29 km² ancient city has buildings including avenues, alleyways, local dwellings, mansions, Yamun and temples. There were 39 roads in the Ming Dynasty which increased to 49 roads in the end of Qing Dynasty. Most local dwellings are Beijing styled courtyard houses and buildings with gardens. Strong local features can also be found in the buildings there. The dwellings with different shapes represent the architecture of Duozi courtyard house, courtyard house and house inside courtyard. Parvis, ponds, corridors and pavilions embody the artistic designs; carved beam, painted poles and paper-cut on the windows speaks for the rich culture of China. Huaguang Tower, Examination Hall in Northern Sichuan, Zhang Fei Temple, Guanyin Temple, Baba Temple and The Museum of Famous City Exhibition all unfold the unique charm of the ancient city.
The buildings of Langzhong Ancient City were built according to the theory of astronomy and geomantic theory, which is a perfect embodiment of Chinese geomantic theory and architecture as they were built as an indispensable part of the mountains, water and city by integrating the natural beauty Jialing River, Jinping Mountain and Dongshan Gardern together.
Zhang Fei Temple
The Marquis Heng Ancestral Temple of the Han Dynasty, which is called Zhang Fei Temple locally or Xiong Wei Temple during the Ming Dynasty, is located on the northern side of the Xijie Street of the ancient city. There is Zhang Fei’s tomb and a ceremonial hall. The original temple was destroyed in wars and fires and was rebuilt several times, like the saying, “time has changed, but the grave is still the same”. The present temple is a group of buildings of courtyard houses rebuilt during the Ming and Qing Dynasties occupying a land of more than 6,000㎡. It is made up of the gate, Diwan Tower, monuments, main hall, back hall, side rooms, pavilion and tomb with a construction area of 2,200㎡. The Marquis Heng Ancestral Temple of the Han Dynasty is a brilliant pearl in the tourist route of Three Kingdoms Culture in northeast Sichuan and also a cultural relic under state-level protection.
Zhang Fei Tomb
The Zhang Fei Tomb is behind the back hall. There is a pavilion built in front of the tomb with a stone arch and Zhang Fei’s statue inside. The 1.65 m high iron Zhang Fei Statue cast during Yongle’s reign of the Ming Dynasty was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. The present one is made of earth. Zhang Fei’s tomb is in the shape of an oval which is 42 m from north to south, 25 m from west to east and 8 m high with flourishing trees and green grasses around it.
Close to Jialingjiang River, Jinping Mountain is located in the southern suburb of Langzhong. The mountain is special and steep with beautiful flourishing flowers and trees and peaks connecting together like a screen, all of which gave it its present name. It has always had a reputation of “the first mountain along Jianglingjiang River”. Its main peak is 480 m high and it is connected to Zhuangyuan Mountain, Majia Mountain and Niujia Mountain, which forms a natural screen of the Langzhong Ancient City. It boasts of beautiful scenery as there are many cultural relics and historic sites in the scenic spot with temples, pavilions and pagodas among flowers and trees.
Star Watching Tower and Luo Xiahong Statue
Located on the Huanghua Mountain on the east of Jinping Mountain, the Star Watching Tower and the Luo Xiahong Statue were built to commemorate Luo Xiahong, a famous Chinese astronomer in the West Han Dynasty. Luo Xiahong built the earliest astronomical observatory in China on the Panglong Mountain in the north of Langzhong and made the first armillary sphere, which established the earliest foundation of the armillary sphere theory. He also invented the “Tai Chu Calendar”, the first calendar recorded with definite characters in China. Its special location and the tradition of astronomical study have attracted many astronomers and thus formed a stage of astronomical study with brilliant stars in ancient China. A bronze statue of Luo Xiahong and a bronze of armillary sphere are in front of the 24 m high 4-storied tower. People can learn about the history of the development of the ancient astronomy study in China during the Han, Tang and Song Dynasties in Star Watching Tower.
Du Gongbu Ancestral Temple
The Temple was built on the base of mountains with a solemn and elegant style of the classical architecture of the Tang and Song Dynasties. It is said “the ancient temple hidden in the mountains”. Du Fu had travelled in Langzhong twice and he left many poems. More than 70 wooden carving calligraphy and paintings of Du Fu’s poems like “A song of Langshan Mountain”, “A song of Langshui River” are hung in the front hall of the temple. In the middle of the main hall there is a statue of Du Fu and ancient cultural relics are on display in the rooms on the two sides.
Liewen Marquis Ancestral Temple in the Song Dynasty
Liewen Marquis Ancestral Temple in the Song Dynasty is also called Zhang Xian Ancestral Temple and occupies a land of more than 6km². Zhang Xian, a famous general of the Southern Song, Yue Fei’s son-in-law, born in Jinping Mountain, was framed with Yue Fei by Qin Kuai and killed in Fengbo Pavilion.
Stone Stele Forest
There are several writings of famous people in ancient times, which are carved on stones delicately in the Stone Stelae Forest. There are big stone steles higher than ten feet, and the small steles of only one foot. The inscription of “The general of the Han Dynasty Zhangfei leading ten thousand brave warriors defeated the gangster Zhang He in Bameng Mountain”, which is said written by Zhang Fei himself, is in the middle of the stele forest. There are Du Fu’s “poems”, the “Tiger” by Zhang Shanzi, the “Guan Yin” by Wu Daozi and the “Bamboo” by Zheng Banqiao, all of which is called “the Four Treasures of the Stone Stele Forest.
Tengwang Pavilion is located in the middle of Yutai Mountain 3.5 km away from the north of Langzhong. In 662, Li Yuanying, the Prince Teng, supervised the building of Teng Wang Pavilion when he was the governor of Longzhou (Langzhong) as an entertaining place for banquet, performance and hunting.
An ancient building of Xieshan-styled double eaves roof of the Tang Dynasty style, Tengwang Pavilion looks grand and magnificent. There is an eight meters high fish-shaped Dagoba in front of it which was built in the fourth century, more than 200 years earlier than Tengwang Pavilion. The dagoba has a special visual effect. At the Green Rock Cliff on back of the Pavilion there is a cave where people can find the calligraphy of Shao Yuanshan—the poem “Tengwang Pavilion” written by Du Fu on the wall inside the cave. There are carved poems of literators of different dynasties written upon their visiting. On the right of the pavilion there is a courtyard house Yutai Villa, in front of which there is a seven meter high bronze statue of Zhang Fei riding on a horse with an eighty-foot spear in his hands.
Du Fu, the poem sage of the Tang Dynasty, has visited Langzhong twice, and written a lot of poems at the inspiration he got from climbing Tengwang Pavilion. In his “Tengwang Pavilion” and “Yutai Mountain” he wrote “situated on steep Bashan Mountain, the pavilion built by the prince is only accessible by ladders of thousand Zhang, Birds sings in the forest of bamboo in spring, the bark of dogs echoes in the clouds”