Langzhong Ancient Town
Located in the northern part of Sichuan Province and in the midstream of Jianglingjiang River, Langzhong Ancient Town is a famous historic and cultural town. Situated in the southern part of the urban area of Langzhong City, Langzhong Ancient Town is the only ancient town that has been conserved completely in Sichuan Province.
Langzhong enjoys a long history. In the Warring States Period, it was the national capital of the State of Ba. From Han Dynasty to Tang Dynasty, it was the astronomical research centre of China. In Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, Langzhong had been the temporary provincial capital of Sichuan for 19 years at a time. Because of its unique geographical location, Langzhong has been the political, economic, military and cultural center of Sichuan Prvince all along.
Langzhong owns varieties of cultures.
Langzhong is one of the birth places of Chinese nation’s original culture, and it was found that human beings multiplied and lived there early in the Neolithic period. Other cultures include the culture of Himba, the culture of geomancy, the culture of three kingdoms, the culture of imperial examinations, astronomic culture, religious culture, folk culture, cooking culture and red culture.
The Characteristics of the Scenic Spots
1) Ancient Streets
The ancient streets there comprise an entity treasury that contains Ba City and Shu City’s ancient buildings. What are most wonderful are the ancient streets that have various widths and lengths, just like lyrics, among which, the ancient yards, the ancient houses and the ancient trees are dotted. So unique and exquisite are the ancient streets that they are worthy of being called an exotic flower in Chinese architectural culture.
2) Ancient Courtyards
Combining the characteristics of quadrangle dwellings in northern China and those of the gardens in southern Yangtze River delta, Langzhong’s ancient dwellings show different styles of buildings — some rank like a string of beads, some are like the Chinese character "品", some are like the Chinese character "多".
3) Ancient Paper-Cut for Window Decoration
The paper-cut for window decoration there is a wonder of folk buildings. One of the main characteristics of Langzhong’s ancient buildings is the dainty and exquisite sculpture and carving with various shapes.
Main Scenic Spots
Surrounded by mountains and waters, Langzhong enjoys a reputation as “a fairly land” and the “fortress of Ba City and Shu City”. And the long history has granted Langzhong magnificent culture and more than 200 places of interest, which are still shinning brilliantly till now.
There are 4 key units of cultural relics under national protection and 13 units of cultural relics under provincial protection in Langzhong.
Zhang Fei Temple: As a resplendent pearl on the travelling route of three kingdoms’culture, the Zhang Fei Temple can never be missed. Zhang Fei was one of the five valiant generals of Liu Bei, the emperor of Shu-han kingdom in three kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.). After Liu Bei attacked and seized Sichuan, he appointed Zhang Fei to guard Langzhong. During the seven years when Zhang Fei guarded Langzhong, he maintained peace and security in the territory and developed farming and sericulture. However, he was murdered by his two subordinates in 221 A.D. Later, he was buried in Langzhong. Esteeming his loyalty and bravery, the people there built a temple in memory of him.
Other famous scenic spots include:
- The Tang Dynasty Pagoda, which always seems to tilt to one side from whichever angle it is seen; Five Dragons Temple, a building of Yuan dynasty;
- Yong’an Temple, in which there are six kinds of artistry, namely buildings, embellishments in writing, stone carvings, wood carvings, clay sculptures and paintings;
- Huaguang Tower, which is known as the first-class building of Langzhong, with styles of both Tang dynasty (618-907) and Qing dynasty (1636-1911);
- Gongyuan or Qing Dynasty Imperial Examination Hall, a place for scholars taking imperial examinations in Qing dynasty, and is a place where many number one scholars came into being.
- Heavenly Palace, a place for astronomers to observe astronomical phenomena;
- Pavilion of Prince Teng, which was built by the 22nd son of Emperor Gaozu of Tang and once praised highly by Du Fu, a famous poet of Tang dynasty, in his poems;
- Jinping Mountain, a four-A-class scenic spot, which is named so because the mixed flowers and trees there seem like brocade and the two peaks parallel like a screen;
- Baba Temple, a temple to commemorate Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi who once preached Islamism in Langzhong; Dongshan Gardens, on the hillside of which the Big Buddha Temple is located;
Langzhong Masjid , the modeling of which seems simple, solemn and imposing, with carved beams and painted rafters;
- The former home of Luo Xiahong, a world-famous astronomical almanac scientist who created Taichu calendar and the first armillary sphere in the world.
Local special food
What is especially worth mentioning is the special food there, which is known to all, far and near: the Baoning vinegar, Zhang Fei Beef, Baoning sweet steamed buns, Baoning wine, preserved duck eggs, noodles cooked with Chinese sauerkraut and tofu pudding, cold beef noodles with sesame sauce, noodles cooked with chopped entrails of sheep and beef, northern-Sichuan bean jelly…
The Baoning vinegar is brewed from rice, maize, high-quality spring and more than 70 elements of Chinese traditional medicine. Having Baoning vinegar can kill the bacteria in humans’ bodies, protect people from catching a cold, whet the appetite, invigorate the spleen, clearing away the heart-fire, benefit the lung and reduce blood press.
Zhang Fei Beef tastes palatable, neither salty nor light, neither soft nor hard. Outside the beef is ink-black while inside the beef is red; this is why it is called Zhang Fei Beef, for it is like the image of Zhangfei, a general of Shu-han state in the three kingdoms period, who had a black face but was loyal to his lord. In 1998, the beef won a prize in China’s Ministry of Commerce and got a bronze prize in the first Chinese Food Expo.
Baoning sweet steamed buns have neither the soda taste of Chinese-styled buns nor the acescency of western-styled bread. When eaten hotly, the buns taste fragrant, sweet and soft, and when eaten coldly, they taste crisp, sweet and refreshing. And the buns once got a bronze prize in the Panama International Expo in 1912.
Every day at 9:30, 14:30, 17:30 and 18:00, there are respectively four buses that leave from Chengdu’s Chengbei Station for Langzhong. The sleeping berth costs 54 RMB while sitting tickets cost 40 RMB.
I updated this article on November 27, 2012
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