Chengdu Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Chengdu
Capital of Sichuan ProvinceChengdu was the capital of the Shu (Zhou) kingdom which was conquered by the Qin in 316 BC. Under the Qin and Han dynasty (221 BC to AD 220) it advanced to become the political, economic and cultural center of southwest China.
Even at that time the breeding of silkworms and weaving of brocade were already highly developed industries.One of China's oldest and most respected state schools was founded here. In the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280) Chengdu, by now the capital of the state of Shu Han, saw the art of brocade weaving flourish as never before. In the 8th C. it became a center of trade, commerce and industry, which included lacquered and silver filigree work. At the time of the Five Dynasties (907-960) Emperor Meng Chang (919-965) arranged for large numbers of little hibiscus trees to be planted along the town wall and the streets. Chengdu became the capital of Sichuan in 1368.As a result of its history Chengdu is even today still often known as Brocade City (Jin Cheng) or Hibiscus City (Rong Cheng). It is also a major traffic hub and industrial town with a considerable volume of light and heavy industry. Currently, the city is gripped by a great building bonanza, concentrating mainly on the erection of tower blocks. Moreover, its fourteen colleges, including Sichuan University which was founded here in 1927, make it an important cultural center.After the Cultural Revolution Chengdu's tradition of tea-houses was revived. Predominantly, these are tea-gardens. Guests buy a portion of tea leaves and receive a cup with lid. A water dispenser walks around the tea-house and tops the cups up with hot water as required.
Temple of Prince Wu
The first temple was built by a Li Xiong in 302 in honor of Zhuge Liang (181-234), strategist and statesman famous until the present day, who was also chancellor of the Shu Han empire (221-263). For his services Zhuge Liang was made a Prince (Marquis) in 223. This temple, which was rebuilt in 1672, is situated in the southwest of Chengdu.In the central hall stands a gilded clay figure of Zhuge Liang, in front of which are three bronze drums dating from before the 6th C BC. The two small figures on either side of the Prince are of his son and grandson.There is also a temple here dedicated to Liu Bei, the ruler of the Shu Han empire. To the west of it lies the 12m/40ft high burial mound which contains his last remains. Twenty-eight terracotta statues of ministers, generals and high officials of the state of Shu Han are displayed in the east and west covered walks. In front of each statue is a small stele inscribed with details of the life of the person concerned.
The Manjushri Temple in the north of the town covers an area of 5ha/12.5acres. The complex comprises five temples in wood and stone, and was built in 1691 above the ruins of an earlier monastery dating from the time of the Southern Dynasties (420-589). The Hall of Shuofa Tang houses ten iron statues of Buddhist guardian gods from the Song period (960-1279) and in the Cangjing Lou are to be found more than 100 bronze sculptures of Buddhas and Buddhist saints from the Qing era (1644-1911).Daci Si, in Dongfeng Lu Street, dated originally from the Tang period (618-907), but the present buildings are of the Tongzhi period (1862-74). At one time the temple was decorated with some valuable wall paintings.
Du Fu's Cottage
The house of Du Fu, the famous poet of the Tang dynasty, will be found in the west of the town on a bend of the Huanhuaxi river. However, this is not the original thatched building in which Du Fu lived for four years from 759 to 763, because that one did not survive the poet for long. The buildings which the visitor will see today are replicas in stone and wood dating from 1500 and 1811 which were restored in 1949.The complex comprises several sections which portray the life and work of Du Fu. Adjoining it is a beautiful park with little bridges, pavilions and a garden of bamboo.
Chengdu's important mosque, south of the bell-tower in the old town, was partially destroyed in a Japanese air-raid in 1941.The prayer hall, 15.7m/51ft long and 11.7m/38ft wide and covered in enameled tiles, remains intact.''Seventh year of the empire of Qianlong'' is the inscription on a beam in the building which indicates the year of construction: 1742.
The park became well-known through the famous poetess Xue Tao (769-834), who lived here. In the park stands the four-storied 30m/100ft high Tower of the View of the River (Wangjianglou). A few yards away the visitor can see a fountain from the Tang period (618-907); the famous poetess is said to have used its water to produce the red paper she used and which still bears her name. In the park stand several buildings, all of which are in her memory; these include the Tower of Poetic Recitation (Yinshi Lou), the Pavilion of the Washing of Paper (Wanjian Ting) and the Tower of the Washing of Brocade (Zhou Lou). She was particularly fond of bamboo plants, and a grove of 140 different species of bamboo was laid out in her memory.
Tomb of Wang Jian
Known as ''The Eternal Mausoleum'' (Yong Ling), the well-preserved Tomb of Wang Jian (847-918), ruler of the Early Shu empire, lies in the northwest of the town. The 15m/50ft high building, divided into three chambers, was opened up in 1942. In the central chamber will be found the king's artistically decorated sarcophagus, and in the chamber behind it is a stone statue of Wang Jian.
In the Cultural Park (Wenhua Gongyuan) in the west of the town stands the old Taoist Qinyang Temple, which dates from the Tang period (618-907). The present buildings are of the Qing period (1644-1911). Note the Pavilion of the Eight Trigrams (Bagua Ting) with its eight stone pillars on which are carved dragon patterns, etc.
Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is located in Chengdu and is home to at least 12 pandas. There is a museum that features the reproductive problems of the bears. It is recommended that visitors come for viewings during feeding time in the morning, otherwise the pandas are generally sleeping.
Jianmen Pass (Jianmen Guan) and the Sichuan Road (Shudao) were once the most direct routes to Sichuan during ancient times. Along the way are many historical and cultural sites. The pass it noted for the steep slopes that fall within a range of 72 peaks.