Yangzhou dates back to more than 2,500 years ago.
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Encompassing 6,678 square kilometers and with a population 4.47 million, Yangzhou was one of the most important cities on the Grand Canal and is a delightful place to visit, retaining to some degree the feeling of its rich cultural and historical traditions. A vehicular ferry from Zhenjiang crosses the Yangtze River and from the north bank the drive to Yangzhou took half-an-hour. The vehicular ferry from Zhenjiang crossing the Yangtze River and from the north bank the drive to Yangzhou was out of use after the completion of the Runyang Bridge 润阳大桥 in 2004. Many traditional arts and crafts are still practiced: lacquerware, paper-cuts, lanterns, embroidery, bonsai (miniature tree in ground with a history of more than 1,800 years)---the art of dwarfing and shaping trees and shrubs in shallow pots by pruning, controlled fertilizer, etc. (miniature) gardens and seal carving.
Yangzhou has one of the great cooking styles of China and every foreigner knows—indirectly—about it, for Yangzhou is the home of the fried rice a worldwide favourite Chinese dish (Yangzhou chaofan).
Yangzhou dates back to more than 2,500 years ago in the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 B C). Jiangsu is the birth place of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, first constructed in 2,400 years ago, the Hangou (ancient name for canal) 邗沟in the vicinity of Yangzhou used to be the predecessor of the Grand Canal. Emperor Suiyang initiated the construction of the Grand Canal (1,747 kilometers from Hangzhou in the south to Beijing in the north; the canal zigzags 690 kilometers in Jiangsu Province) here in 605, which eventually made Yangzhou the hub of land and water transportation. Emperor Suiyang (569-648, reigned 604-618) visited the city three times in Grand dragon-boats. He built a palace, retired and was buried here, after being assassinated in 618. It was during the Sui Dynasty (581-618) that Chinese hydraulic engineering achieved its greatest triumph—the joining together of many canals into the Grand Canal, which linked the Yellow River and Yangtze River basins, thereby bringing flood control, irrigation, and improved communications for an area of thousands of square kilometers. The city was also a center of classical learning and religion. Emperors, prime ministers and men of letters through the ages visited Yangzhou and many held official positions, including the Italian great traveler Marco Polo (1245-1324), who was governor of the city for three years. By the Tang Dynasty (618-907) Yangzhou’s trading links with Arab merchants were well established. A foreign community numbering about a thousand lived in the city. The economy was based on the salt monopoly and on grain shipments to the capital. The silting of the Yangtze River and the flooding of the Grand Canal gradually undermined its center role, as grain shipments were increasingly transported by sea via Shanghai, rather then along the Grand Canal. Changes in the salt administration and the arrival of the railways were a blow in Yangzhou’s decline. During the late 18th century an individualistic school of painters sprang up known as the Eight Eccentrics in Yangzhou 扬州八怪.
Daming Temple 大明寺
Daming Temple is part of a complex of buildings. The temple was first built in the fifth century. Large incense burners with bells stand in front of the main hall in which services are held daily at 4 pm. The temple has strong ties with Japan. The Buddhist abbot, Jian Zhen (688-763) was invited to 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 resching the Japanese capital of Nara where he established a study center at one of the temples. His contribution in bringing understanding of Chinese literature and arts, architecture, medicine and printing understanding of Chinese literature and arts, architecture, medicine and printing to Japan was commemorated in 1963, 1,200th anniversary of the death of Jian Zhen, when a number of Chinese and Japanese Buddhists decided to build the Jian Zhen Memorial Hall. The walls are decorated with murals depicting his journeys. In 1980 the Japanese donated a wooden statue of Jian Zhen, a copy of the beautiful lacquer statue of the monk in the Nara Temple in Japanese Emperor Hirohito.
In early November 2003, a Grand commemoration meeting was held in Yangzhou to mark the 1,250th anniversary of Jianzhen’s successful arrival in Japan, including officials, Japanese guests, visitors from different areas, Buddhist monks and Buddlust believers.
Emperor Suiyang's Mausoleum 隋炀帝陵
Yang Guang, also known as Emperor Suiyang, was the second Emperor of the Sui Dyansty (581-618). He took power in 604 and is known for organizing construction of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, which stretches from north to south across East China. It remains a lifeline for transportation and water resources for that region. Emperor Suiyang is described as one of the most brutal, abusive dictators in Chinese history. One tale claims he had the Grand Canal built so he could sail to Yangzhou in East China’s Jiangsu Province to appreciate the jade-coloured blossoms there. Emperor Suiyang was buried beside a pool in Hanjiang District in Yangzhou. Legend has it that his tomb has been hit by thunders several times, thus the body of water nearby is known as “Thunder Pool.” The tomb is listed as a cultural relic by the province. The mausoleum to be rebuilt around the tomb will encompass 30,0100 square meters. The mausoleum will be the centerpiece of a complex that will also include a street crafted in the style of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Teahouses, restaurants and shops also will be planned. Dragon boat contests and folk art exhibitions are to be held regularly on Thunder Pool to attract tourists. The mausoleum has been partly open to the public and the whole project will be completed by 2005. Over 300 million yuan (US $ 36 million) of state investment has been fed into the project.
Fairy Crane Mosque 仙鹤亭
The Fairy Crane Mosque is one of the four famous old mosques in China我国现存伊斯兰教四大古寺之一 (the others are Huaisheng Mosque 怀圣寺 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, Fenghuang (Phoenix) Mosque 凤凰寺 Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province and Qingjing Mosque 清净寺 Quanzhou, Fujian Province) . It was first built in 1275 to serve the needs of the Arab traders and was rebuilt twice in the Ming Dynasty. Its ancient pine and gingko trees are believed to be around 800 years old. The Mosque is supposed to resemble a crane in shape: the main entrance is the head; the wells on either side, the eyes; the Left-hand path, the neck; the prayet 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 Muslims in Yangzhou, but the congregation at Friday prayers is less than 50. To See this Mosque on Wenhu Road, first check with your guide or China International Travel Service (CITS) whether permission has to be obtained in advance. Normally neither the Mosque nor Puhaddin’s tomb is open to the public, but wangle a visit if you can.
Ge Garden 个园
The Ge Garden was the home of a rich 19th –century salt merchant, Huang Yingtai 黄应泰.Its architecture, bamboo groves and landscaping are typical of the famous private gardens of Suzhou. The garden received its present name from its bamboo leaves, shaped like the Chinese character ge.
Pingshan Hall 平山堂
The great Song-dynasty scholar, statesman and poet, Ouyang Xiu 欧阳修 (1007-1072), built Pingshan Hall in 1048 to entertain his guests when he was prefect of Yangzhou 任扬州太守. His statue now stands in the hall. One of his students, Su Dongpo (1037-1101), also an official in Yangzhou, wrote a commemorative poem about Ouyang Xiu, which is engraved in stone on the walls. In the gardens of the temple is another of the seven great springs of China, mentioned in the Tang Dynasty Book of Teas. This one is reputed as the “Fifth Spring under Heaven.”
Slender West Lake 瘦西湖
Slender West Lake is a beautiful man-made lake dating from the Tang Dynasty and surrounded by weeping willows and pavilions. The Angling Platform钓鱼台at the end of the dyke of spring willows was credited used by Qing Emperor Qianlong. Through its arches different views of the beautiful Five Pavilion Bridge, built in 1757, are presented. The red pillars of the pavilions with their yellow-tiled roofs rest 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 legend has it that the moon is reflected in the water under each arch. Near the bridge is a white stupa (a tower-like Buddhist shrine), whose origin is attributed to the Qing Emperor Qianlong.
It seems that he remarked on a visit that though this scenic spot reminded him of Beihai Park in Beijing, 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 to the 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 lake totals more than 5 kilometers, resembling a scroll of landscape painting. The lake is one of the famous tourist attractions in China.
The Jianzhen Buddhist Institute in Yangzhou 扬州鉴真佛教学院
Gonstruction of the institute started in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province in October 2003. Encompassing about 20.5 hectares, with a building space of 35,000 square meters. It is the biggest of its kind in China. About 500 million yuan (US $ 60 million) will be fed into the entire project. There are five sectors on the campus, for areas of teaching, living, reception, administration, and practice of Buddhist. It is the only Buddhist institute of higher education in China to recruit postgraduates. The institute will take about five years to complete. Planned enrolment will be about 1,250 students from throughout the country. Both undergraduate and post-graduate courses in fields including Buddhism study, management of temple affairs, Buddhism art and cross-cultural communication will be provided for the students, who can communicate with overseas monks and nuns. Education in foreign languages is described as one of the most important characteristics of the institute. Well known scholars and eminent monks both inside and outside the country will be invited to teach or give lectures there.
The institute is named after Jianzhen, a renowned hierarch in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), who was born in Yangzhou in 688 and died in 763. Jianzhen was famous for his sermons in Japan. Though blind when he arrived in Japan in 753 after five unsuccessful attempts at sailing across the sea. Jianzhen was dedicated to transmitting his knowledge to the local society.
More About Jiangsu Province
- Nanjing Introduction
Located in the lower Yangtze River drainage basin and Yangtze River Delta economic zone, Nanjing has long been one of China's most important cities.
- Suzhou Introduction
Suzhou known for its resplendent gardens and beautiful scenery.
- Yangzhou Introduction
Yangzhou dates back to more than 2,500 years ago.
- Zhenjiang Introduction
Zhenjiang is situated in the central part of Jiangsu Province at the confluence of the southern Yangtze River and the Grand Canal.