Yanan was the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from January 1937 to March 1947.
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Xi’an was the center of the reactionary rule of the Kuomintang in Northwestern China. The late Chairman Mao Zedong cited the two cities as symbols of revolution and counter-revolution. Yan’an was the cradle of the Chinese revolution.
Yan’an, 270 kilometers to the north of Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, But it has a special significance for those who want to learn something about contemporary Chinese history. In the period 1936 to 1947, Yan’an was the base of the Communist Party of China. There are many sites now open to the public, such as the headquarters of Fenghuang Mountains, Yangjialing, Zaoyuan and Wangjiaping, where the late Chinese leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai spent some time commanding the Chinese revolution. The Yan’an Revolution Museum, about 1 kilometer southeast of Yangjialing, has an extensive collection—old uniforms, hand-made weaponry, and many photographs and illustrations. The museum also presents folk artisans wearing traditional clothes and performing waist drum dance and xintianyou (folk songs of Northern Shaanxi). Visitors can taste all kinds of local snacks made mainly of wheat flour. There are many comfortable hotels but is the tourist wants to experience real traditional life, s/ he can visit the yaodong Hotel. It is cheap but the tourist will obtain a rewarding experience while staying in Yaodong Hotel. A railway line links Yan’an with Xi’an along the Luohe River.
Yan'an Pagoda 延安宝塔
The 44-meter-tall octagonal pagoda, built in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907), is a state key cultural relic and is located on top of the Pagoda Hill. It is the symbol of the city, which used to be the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s and early 1940s. Over the past 50 years, the local government had allocated special funds twice in order to protect the pagoda, but this has not totally prevented the threat of future landslides. Heavy rains have caused a number of landslides on the hill over the past few years, seriously threatening the pagoda. According to the survey done in 2000, the nine-storey ancient structure had tilted more than 30 centimeters northwestward. The rehabilitation project of the pagoda on Mount Pagoda will be carried out in two phases. One is consolidation of the hill through piling while the other will See concrete barriers built to control landsides. Wars throughout history, irresponsible action by nearby villagers and nature has together led to soil erosion on the hill. And the soil and the destruction of vegetation were the major reasons for the landslides. To complete the consolidation, some 300 households have been moved out of the hill area. The Yan’an local government has allocated 8.2 million yuan (US $ 987,000) to move the households. A total of 35.8 million yuan (US $ 4.31million) of state investment has been fed into the restoration project of the pagoda.
Huangdi Mausoleum 黄帝陵
Located in Huangling County黄陵县, about 180 kilometers north of Xi’an, the Huangdi (Yellow Emperor) Mausoleum has been a sacred place for Chinese people from all over the world over the past 2,000 years. On the Qingming Festival which falls on April 5 every year, Chinese people from home and abroad flock to the Mausoleum in order to pay homage to Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, who was the legendary ancestor of the Chinese nation and the symbol of Chinese civilization. Known as the most important ancient grave in China, the Huangdi Mausoleum has long been attractive to Chinese people.
Situated about 1 kilometer north of Huangling County (area 2,288 square kilometers, pepulation 120,000), the Qiaoshan Mountain桥山 was simple and magnificent with the Jushui River flowing at its foot. A carpet of evergreens and luxuriant ancient cypress trees covered the hill, extraordinarly prominent on the vast Yellow stretch of earth. At the foot of the mountain was the Xuanyuan Temple (Xuan Yuan轩辕 another name for Huangdi). According to historical record, the temple was first built at the western foot of the mountain during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Later in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it was restored and over 1,000 eypress trees were then planted in the temple compound. While in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), however, the temple was badly damaged by flooding. Emperor Song Taizu (Zhao Kuangyin赵匡胤---founder of the Song Dynasty, 927-976, reigned 960-976) ordered the moving of the temple to the eastern foot of the mountain where it now stands. In the following dynasties, the temple was restored many times. The cultural relics were neglected during the “cultural revolution,” which made it survive those turbulent years. When visitors enter the gate of the temple, they will See a huge cypress (According to the local forestry bureau, the cypress is 29.5 meters tall, 2.47 meters in diameter and 10.7 meters in girth. With a crow covering 400 square meters, the cypress, like a huge palm, provides shade to the small temple, named the Temple of Baidi, meaning the Place of Cypress in Chinese), which takes seven or eight people to encircle the tree with their arms stretched out. No wonder, many researchers regarded it as the “father of world cypress.” Legend relates that the tree was planted by Huangdi himself, which would make it over 4,000 years old. Above the door of the magnificent main hall was a large horizontal tablet with a four-character inscription: renwenchuzu meaning founder of human civilization. When visitors stroll along the path up to the mountain, they will See a stone tablet lying on the path: “From here, anyone—no mater who they were official or common people—should go on foot to pay their respect to Huangdi.”
Huangdi (he is believed to be the founder of the Chinese nation), the legendary ancestor of the Chinese nation, is believed to have lived 5,000 years ago in Xianglongxia next to the Jushui River at the foot of Mount Qiaoshan. With the surname Gongsun and given name Xuanyuan, Huangdi was clever as a boy according to Sima Qian (c.145 or 135 BC-?), a historian of the Western Han Dynasty. At that time, the Yellow River valley was an agricultural center, benefiting from a warm climate, fertile land, forests and abundant water sources. Then the region was inhabited by a number of tribes, of which Huangdi’s was the largest one. Huangdi was a great tribal chief at the time when China’s primitive era was drawing to a close. He initiated the Chinese civilization and is said to have invented jade weapons, carts, boats, bows and arrows. And his wife Leizu嫘祖was reputed as discoverer of sericulture. Under the leadership of Huangdi, the tribe grew powerful and many of his officials contributed to the development of the Chinese civilization. Cang Jie, an imperial historian, created the Chinese pictography; Da Rao, one of his officials invented the first Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch calendar and Ling Lun, his official composer, made musical instruments. The brilliant achievements of Huangdi and his tribe were indispensable to the later success of China as one of the world’s great civilization. Huangdi’s achievements went down in history also because he punished the evil and unified the Chinese nation for the first time. During that period, Chinese people laboured, lived and multiplied on the vast land around the Yellow River valley. Yandi, the Emperor Yan, and the Qiang people inhabited in the middle, Taiqiao and his people of Yi group lived in the east, Chiyou and his people of Man tribe in the south, and Qiang, Di and Rong tribes in the north and west. Huangdi and his tribe were nomads in the west and later migrated south to the middle of the country. In a battle launched by Chiyou’s to take control of Central China, Yandi wa defeated and turned to Huangdi for help. Their combined forces defeated Chiyou and Huangdi unified China after 52 battles.
The Mausoleum looks like a huge hump evergreen with weeds. In front of the Mausoleum was an ancient pavilion where the memorial ceremony used to be held. The tablet was inscribed with four characters “qiaolinglongyu桥陵龙驭” meaning “riding a dragon over the Qiaooshan Mountain.”
Legend continues that when Huangdi was 110 years old, a Yellow dragon appeared in the sky, summoning the Emperor to heaven. When the Emperor riding on the back of the dragon was about to leave, his subjects, who were reluctant to let him go, tried to drag him back by his clothes. However, all that was left were some of the emperor’s clothes and his hat. In commemoration of Huangdi, his descendants buried his remains at the Qiaoshan Mountain, where they built a Mausoleum in honour of Huangdi. Another famous legend was about the construction of Qixiantai (the praying stage) in the mausoleum. It was said that Emperor Wudi (Liu Che刘彻, 156-87 BC, ruled 140-87 BC) of the Han Dynasty leading an 180,000-strong troop made an inspection tour to the border and passed by the Qiaoshan Mountain in the autumn of 110 BC. He was fascinated by the legends of Huangdi and decided to hold a ritual praying for longevity and a lasting reign. He ordered the soldiers to build a praying stage in front of the Huangdi’s tomb. Thus, 180,000 soldiers piled up the earth and completed a 20-meter high stage within a night. Emperor Wudi’s dream did not come true. But the praying stage has survived and become a significant relic site in the mausoleum. Increasing attention has been given to the renovations of the Huangdi Mausoleum over the past few decades. Today, the cultural relics have taken on a completely a new look. The tablet corridor in the Xuanyuan Temple has become one of the biggest attractions. The tablets dating back to the Song (960-1279), Yuan (1279-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties have recorded many historical events in China and significant rituals taking place in the mausoleum. The history of modern China is also highlighted in the tablets. For example, the victory of the Revolution of 1911 (the Chinese bourgeois democratic revolution led by Dr Sun Yat-sen [1866-1925], which overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911) and Hong Kong and Macao’s return to the motherland in the late 1990s. The praying stage built during the Han Dynasty has been renovated. The newly completed stone steps and railing have made it much easier for visitors to climb onto the stage where they could have a panoramic view of the boundless forest of cypress. Back in the 1930s, the local researchers had once counted the cypress trees in the Mausoleum and found there were 61,286 in total. Over the past few decades, most of these trees have survived and the number has so far increased to 80,000. Like a troop of guards protecting the ancestor’s mausoleum, the cypress trees have added a lively touch to the cultural relics.
Legendary Story of Huangdi 黄帝的传说
Chinese people often refer to themselves as the descendants of Huangdi, a part-real, part-legendary personage. In Chinese history, many extravagant tales have grown up around Huangdi, Chinese legends claimed that he lived in Xianglongxia next to the Jushui River at the foot of Qiaoshan Mountain, during the time of patriarchal clan community 5,000 years ago. He was the mystical shief of one of the strongest tribes in the middle valley of the Yellow River. During the period, many tribes came to settle around the Yellow River engaging in farming. The different tribes clashed with each other over land disputed as each tribe sought to have more farmland. Since the constant battles caused much suffering to the people. Huangdi decided to put an end to this chaotic situation. He worked out a moral code and trained his army. With his army, after warring 52 battles against other tribes, Huangdi conquered a wide area along the Yellow River and was made chief of the tribal union. Because his tribe honoured the virtue of earth, he was given the title, Yellow Emperor, after the Yellow colour of earth, the symbol of farming. Later he unified three major tribes in the Yellow River and Yangtze River areas and became the leader of all the tribes on the central plains. Legend continues that Huangdi invented the cart and the boat, and that his dialogues with the ancient physician Qi Bo 岐伯were the basis of China’s first medical book, the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Medicine黄帝内经. His wife, Lei Zu, taught the Chinese how to weave silk from silkworms and his minister Cang Jie仓颉（也作苍颉） devised the first Chinese characters. For thousands of years, Huangdi has been the symbol of Chinese civilization, and today he represents the desire for the reunification of the nation.