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WHAT TO SEE IN YANGZHOU


  The streets of Yangzhou reveal much that is charming and interesting. Stroll down Guoqing Lu past craftsmen painting mirrors and making bamboo steamers and cloth shoes, then along Dujiang Lu where wooden-fronted shops, partitioned with rattan matting, sell household goods, basketware and fireworks, and itinerant sugarcane vendors hawk their wares. The road eventually reaches the Grand Canal, where,from the bridge, boat life can be observed as it passes by. The courtyards of the small, grey-tiled houses are cluttered with pots of flowers and miniature penjing plants-a specialty of the region. Rows of white cabbage and strips of turnip hang out to dry.One may also walk along the small canals.

  The Imperial Jetty, where the Qing emperors disembarked, is situated on the canal in front of Xiyuan Hotel. Visit also Yechun Yuan, where a poetry club used to meet in the Qing dynasty (1644--1911). 1t is now a tea-house and specializes in Yellow Bridge Buns, which were first created to supply the troops during the Sino-Japanese War. Further on is the Luyang Cun, a garden filled with miniature plants,goldfish and birds.

SLENDER WEST LAKE (SHOUXI HU)
  This is a beautiful man-made lake dating from the Tang dynasty (618--907) and surrounded Yangtze Riverby weeping willows and pavilions. The Fishing Platform at the end of the Dyke of Spring Willows was reputedly used by Emperor Qianlong (reigned 1736-96). Through its arches different views of the beautiful Five Pavilion Bridge (Wuling Qiao), built in 1757, are presented. The red pillars of the pavilions with,their yellow tiled roofs Test on 15 stone arches; extravagant claims are made about the splendid moonlit scene at the bridge at the Mid-autumn Festival--in a particularly auspicious year the moon is said to be reflected in the water under each arch. Near the bridge is a white stupa, whose origin is attributed to Emperor Qianlong. It seems that he remarked on a visit that though this scenic spot reminded him of Beihai Park in Bei jing,it was a pity that there was no white stupa to complete the resemblance. The zealous local officials worked through the night to carve a full--sized stupa from salt. The emperor was duly impressed and, when he returned north, the permanent version that stands today was built. The Friendship Hall contains a stone tablet with a description of Marco Polo's three--year governorship in Yangzhou, and his portrait. The lovely Yu Garden was built in 1915 as the residence of the local warlord, Yu Baoshan.'

WENFENG PAGODA
  This seven-tiered wooden and brick pagoda stands beside a busy stretch of the Grand CanalYangtze River south of the city, where boats load and unload goodsbamboo matting, soya Beans, rice and cotton.Most of the boat are made of concrete;very few are of wood. Men beating gongs parade up and down with carts;they do the shopping or the boat people who are too busy to go ashore and do their own. The pagoda offers a good overview of the town.

XIANHE MOSQUE (FAIRY CRANE MOSQUE)
  This ancient mosque was first built in 1275 to serve the needs of the Arab traders and was rebuilt twice in the Ming dynasty (1368--1644). Its ancient pine and ginkgo trees are believed to be around 800 years old. The mosque is supposed to resemble a crane in shape f the main entrance is the head, the wells on either side, the eyes, the left-hand path, the neck, the prayer hall, the body, the north and south halls, the wings,Arabic scrolls executed in Chinese calligraphic style hang in one of the halls.There are some 3,600 Hui (Muslims) in Yangzhou.

TOMB OF PUHADDIN
  Puhaddin was a l6th-generation descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam. He came to China in the second half of the 13th century and was in Yangzhou between 1265 and 1275, helping to build the Fairy Crane Mosque. He travelled to Shandong Province to spread the word of ls1am, but became ill and died there. He was buried, according to his wish, in Yangzhou.
   A fine, carved white marble stairway leads to the cemetery. The majority of the 25 tombs here are those of Chinese Muslims but a few are the tombs of early Arab traders; the architectural style of the tombs is completely Arabian.

YANGZHOU MUSEUM

  This building was originally erected in l772 around the tomb of Shi Kefa (1601--45) who was inYangtze River command of Yangzhou when the Qing armies moved south to consolidate their power. A supporter of the Ming dynasty, Shi and his 4,000 troops held out against the Qing army for ten days, five times refusing to surrender and fighting to the death. The museum's most prized possession is its collection of 18th--century paintings and calligraphy by the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhuo,whose rejection of the orthodox style of the day was a major breakthrough in Chinese painting.

GARDENS
  The rich salt merchants of Yangzhou left a legacy of many exquisite gardens The delightful Ge Garden north of DongguanJie was the home of a rich 19th-century salt merchant, Huang Yingtai. lts architecture, bamboo groves and landscaping are typical of the famous private gardens of Suzhou. The garden got its name from its bamboo leaves, shaped like the Chinese character for ge. On Xuningmen Jie is the popular He Garden, built by He Zhidao. It once belonged to the Qing Court's ambassador to France, and some Western architectural influences can be seen.

WENCHANG GE (PAVILION OF FLOURISHING CULTURL)
  This 'mini' Temple of Heaven, dedicated to the god of literary success, is three strays high and took ten years to build, just before completion it burnt down, only to be immediately rebuilt in 1585. Originality situated on a bridge across a canal, the area was transformed into a wide roadway, so Wenchang Ge now stands at the intersection of WenheJie and ShitaJie. Nearby is the Stone Pagoda (Shi Ta), a highly valued Tang-dynasty relic. Its six sides are decorated with floral patterns.

TIANNING TEMPLE (TEMPLE OF HEAVENLY TRANQUILLITY)

  The Present buildings date from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), though a temple existed here in the Song dynasty (96orl279). The Qing emperor, Qianlong, had a travel lodge built on one of his inspection tours. The temple is next to the Xopan Hotel.

DAMING TEMPLE
  Daming Temple is part of a complex of buildings. The temple was built in the fifth century. Large incense burners with bells stand in front of the main hall in which services are held daily at 4pm.

  The temple has strong ties with Japan. The Buddhist abbot, Jian Zhen (688--763),was invited tYangtze Rivero teach in Japan, and made five attempts to go there, but failed each time.It was on his sixth attempt, at the age of 66 and by then blind, that he succeeded in reaching the Japanese capital of Nara, where he set up a study centre at one of the temples. His contribution in bringing understanding of Chinese literature and arts, architecture, medicine and printing to Japan was commemorated in 1963, when number of Chinese and Japanese Buddhists decided to buitd the Jian Zhen Memorial Hall. The walls are decorated with murals depicting his journey. In 1980 the Japanese donated a wooden statue of Jian Zhen, a copy of the beautiful lacquer staute of the monk in the Nara Temple in Japan.In front of the wooden statue is an incense burner presented by Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

  Pingshan Hall was built by the great Song-dynasty scholar,statesman and poet,Ouyang Xiu, in 1048 to entertain his guests when he was prefect of Yangzhou. A statue of him now stands in the hall. A student of his, Su Dongpo, also an offical in Yangzhou, wrote a commemorative poem about Ouyang,which is engraved in stone on the walls.

  In the garden of the temple is another of the seven great springs of China, mentioned in the Tang-dynasty book of teas. The one is known as the "Fifth Spring under Heaven."

  Parts of the Tang(618-907) city walls can be seen in the vicinty of Daming temple and on Guangyin Hill, the site of the Sui Emperor Yangdi's palace.

Yangzhou

• What to See In Yangzhou

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