Linggu Monastery or Valley of the Soul Monastery.
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The Monastery lies 1.5 kilometers east of Dr Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum and was built in 514 and was moved to the present location on 1381. In order to build his grand mausoleum on an auspicious site, the first Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang had first to remove the existing temple, the Lingguo Monastery, to its present wooded peak. All that remains of that Ming temple is the 46-meter long Beamless Hall, made of brick with no supporting wooden beams. A magnificent Pailou or Archway leads to the hall. West of the hall is the flat Coiled Dragons Stone, found beside a nearby pool, on which monks meditated. The present Lingguo Monastery dates from the late Qing period and is occupied by a community of monks.
To the north of the Beamless Hall stands the nine-storey Linggu Pagoda, which was constructed in 1929. For the energetic, the long climb to the top is rewarded with a magnificent view over wooded countryside.
But there were exceptions. In the 1901 Treaty signed between the Qing government and the Eight-power Allied Forces (aggressive troops sent by Britain, the United States, Germany, France, tsarist Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria in 1900, to suppress the anti-imperialist Yihetuan Movement of the Chinese people, known to the West as the Boxer Rebellion), there was an article ordering that the Chinese government set up an archway in memory of Ketteler, who was German minister counselor. He beat a Chinese passer-by with his stick one day and then dragged the man into the consulate grounds. This incident angered the Chinese people who were already organizing themselves to fight the imperialist invaders. For the foreign diplomats’ safety, the Qing government sent a note, telling the foreign missions to leave Beijing for Tianjin. In defiance of his counterparts in the diplomatic corps, the next day Ketteler drove with his interpreter to the Chinese premier’s residence to lodge a protest against the note. He was killed on his way through the archway at Dongdan in Beijing. The Qing government submitted to demands of invading foreign forces and erected a marble archway for Ketteler at Dongdan, in addition to an wooden one there. After the First World War (1914-1918), the marble archway was moved to the Zhongshan (Dr Sun Yat-sen) Park and was renamed “Gonglizhansheng” meaning “Justice will always prevail.” In 1952, during an Asian Pacific Peace Conference, the name of the archway was changed to “Safeguard Peace.” The inscription on it was in the late Guo Moruo’s handwriting. (Guo Moruo 1892-1978, writer, poet, historian, and archaeologist).
Among archways, the ones with glazed tiles were viewed as more important. According to the laws of the Qing Dynasty, only the archways that fronted imperial buildings could have glazed-tiles. Today, a few glazed-tile archways still remain. There is one in Beihai Park, and in the Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City each.
In the ancient times, ordinary people were not allowed to run through the passageways; they had to slow their steps to a respectful walk. By some archways, there were stone slabs where officials had to step down from their horses or carriages. It was only after the Qing Dynasty was overthrown that rickshaw boys could hurry though the archways.
Archways at the major crossroads have been removed, but archways in front of temples are still considered treasured archways. Most of them were beautifully designed, typical of ancient Beijing architecture.
Since 1949, the People’s Government has brought all these archways a new life. Wooden archways have been repainted, while stone archways repaired.
More About Nanjing
- The Modern China Relics Museum
was officially opened to the public on 2003.
- Linggu Monastery
or Valley of the Soul Monastery.
- Nanjing Ming Tomb
Construction of the mausoleum started in 1381 and was completed in 1413, taking more than 30 years to finish.
- Nanjing Museum
One of the most fascinating exhibits is the large wooden copy of a statue of a man showing all the body’s acupuncture points.
- Nanjing University
Founded in 1902, celebrated its 100th birthday on May 20, 2002.
- Murals in Qixia Mountains
Archaeologists made a significant discovery in Dunhuang research recently in this capital of Jiangsu Province.