Luoyang Tourist Attractions
The city is connected by rail with Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, Xi'an and Zhengzhou, while a small airport makes flights possible to Canton, Beijing, Nanking, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Xi'an and Ürümqi.
Finds from the area show that settlements existed here even in Neolithic times (Yangshao and Longshan civilization). Luoyang was from 770 BC the capital of nine dynasties - firstly the Eastern Zhou dynasty (770-221 BC) under the name Wangcheng - and was therefore the military, economic and cultural center of the country.During the period of the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220), who likewise resided here, a huge library was built and large imperial academy was founded where some 30,000 students studied over the years. This period coincided with the invention of paper by Cai Lun and the advent of Buddhism. In AD 68 the Temple of the White Horses, the oldest Buddhist monastery in China, was built.During the era of the Three Empires Luoyang was the capital of the Wei empire and subsequently of the Western Jin dynasty (265-316). The rulers of the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534), who also had their residence here, were great patrons of Buddhism and during this time more than 1000 temples were established. At the end of this period Luoyang was destroyed and rebuilt under the Sui (581-616).In the Tang period (618-907) the city was the eastern capital alongside Chang'an. Since this time Luoyang has been known as the City of Peonies, reputedly a symbol of wealth.The famous poets Du Fu and Li Bai lived and worked here. Empress Wu Zetian (reigned 690-705) had a special affection for Luoyang.After the Jin moved their capital to Kaifeng in 937, Luoyang then lost its former importance and from then on was reduced to the status of a small provincial town.It was not until the second half of this century that Luoyang experienced a revival - thanks to two important industrial concerns, a tractor works and a ball-bearing factory.The manufacture of lamps and lanterns also has a long history here.
Wangcheng Gongyuan Park
Wangcheng Gongyuan Park lies in the heart of Luoyang on the site of the former royal city (Wangcheng), built by the Zhou in the 11th C BC The park is renowned for its wealth of peonies. Most of the 180 types of peony are represented here and tradition has it that the flower has been grown here for more than a thousand years.Of historical interest are two tombs from the Han period (206 BC-AD 220) which were discovered in the 1950s near the old city center and then transferred here. The older of the two dates from the 1st C BC and contains wall paintings which are among the earliest in China. The second tomb dates from the Eastern Han period (24-220) and contains two stone doors decorated with carvings.
The Luoyang Museum was opened in 1958. Situated in Wangcheng Park, it is housed in the Guandi Miao temple dating from the Ming period (1402-1644). On display are finds made by archaeologists during the 1950s in the area surrounding the city. Exhibits include Neolithic ceramics and early Chinese bronze and porcelain vessels dating from the Song era (960-1126).
Luoyang Tomb Museum
The burial chamber of Emperor Xuanwu's tomb, dating from the year 516 and situated on the northern fringes of the town, forms the center of the Tomb Museum. A further 22 historical burial chambers were found in Luoyang and surroundings, brought here and linked by underground passages. The graves date from between the 1st and 12th C and are largely painted or decorated with reliefs. Some burial objects are also exhibited.
There are many attractions in the Luoyang surrounding area.
Temple of the White Horses
9km/5.5mi from Luoyang, on the eastern edge of the city, stands the Temple of the White Horses, built in AD 68, which is considered to be one of the oldest in China. Its name is linked to a legend: the Han Emperor Mingdi sent two monks to India in 64, in order that they should study the holy scriptures of Buddha there. The two monks made friends with two Indian priests called Kasyapamatang and Dharmaranya and asked them to bring the sutras to China and promulgate their teachings. The two Indian priests came to Luoyang with the Buddhist writings on two white horses (hence the temple's name). In order to provide safe storage for the sutras the emperor had this temple built. More than 1000 monks came here in order to hear the teachings of the two priests. When the latter died they were buried in the temple. Their tombs can be seen in the gateway of the temple. The present buildings occupying the site date from the Ming period (1368-1644). In front of the temple stand two equestrian sculptures made of stone, dating from the Song period (960-1279).
Southeast of the White Horse Temple towers the 24m/79ft high thirteen-story Skyscraper Pagoda, which was built under the Later Tang dynasty (618-907) and rebuilt under the Jin dynasty. It is a typical example of the Tang period style.
Songshan Mountain, one of the five sacred Buddhist mountains, is home to the oldest observatory in China, the 5th C Monastery of Shaolin, and the Songyang Academy.
Tomb of Bai Juyi Mu
The tomb of Bai Juyi is to be found on the Summit of Poetic Perfection (Pipa Feng) on Xinagshan Mountain on the east bank of the Yihe. The famous poet (772-846) was for many years court tutor to some of the hereditary princes of the Tang dynasty and spent the last years of his life at the foot of Xiangshan.
Tomb of General Guan Yu
The head of Guan Yu (?-219), a general of the Shu kingdom who was beheaded on the battlefield, is reputed to lie under the great burial mound, 7km/4.5mi south of the city. For the Chinese people he is still a symbol of loyalty, trust and moral integrity, even today, because of his self-sacrificing deeds.
Map of Luoyang Attractions