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15 July 2015

Humanities & Landscape

Tracing a Historical Changsha

Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, is a famous ancient city with a history of 3,500 years. It used to be a place of strategic importance in the Kingdom of Chu, and a famous prefecture of the Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC). Now Changsha is an important city with historical and cultural relics, and an ideal destination of tourists in Hunan province.


Though 3,500 years have elapsed after the founding of Changsha city, people can still feel the past prosperity of the ancient city from a great number of historical remains in the city. A woman corpse that has been well preserved for more than 2,000 years astonished the world along with the discovery of over 3,000 precious cultural relics which were excavated from the Han tombs in Mangwangdui, making people in the world gasp in admiration at the ancient civilization created by the ancient Chinese people. Yuelu Academy, one of the four most famous academies in China, is widely accepted to be among the oldest academies in the world.

 

Yuelu Academy

 
Yuelu Academy mainly comprises the Main Gate, the Lecture Hall, Lushan Temple Tablet, Yushu Library, Wenchang Pavilion, Six Gentleman Hall, Ten-sacrificial-vessels Hall, Grand Sunlight Platform, the Banxue Building, the Hexi Platform, etc.

The words Yue Lu Shu Yuan (Yuelu Academy) on the horizontal board of the Main Gate were inscriptions of Zhenzong, an Emperor of the Song Dynasty (960AD-1279AD). From then on, Yuelu Academy became well-known all around the country and students came to study in an endless stream. On the door posts of the gate are couplets which read Wei Chu You Cai, Yu Si Wei Sheng (the Kingdom of Chu, the unique home of talents; the Academy of Yuelu, the very cradle of all). This couplet originates from Chinese classics and it is very appropriate given the fact that talents have been brought up continuously by the Academy since its establishment.
 
Mount Yuelu
 

 
The name Mount Yuelu is related to a famous line from the book" Story of Nanyue" written by Liu Song of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420AD-589AD). The line reads eight hundred square meters around Nanyue, the head is Huiyan and the foot is Yuelu. And the mountain was ever since called Mount Yuelu.


As an extended part of the mysterious Mount Hengshan range, Mount Yuelu covers a total area of 8 square kilometers with its highest peak 297 meters above sea level. There are also many peaks with exuberant trees and reclusive and precipitous mountain streams.


Except for the beautiful natural sceneries, Mount Yuelu is also dotted with lots of famous places and ancient relics since Western Han Dynasty(206BC-25AD), such as Aiwan Pavilion, Lushan Temple, Wangxiang Pavilion, Lushan Temple Stele of Liyong (678AD-747AD) in Tang Dynasty, and the Monument to Emperor Yu carved in Song Dynasty, etc. Among the evergreen pines and cypresses also lie Huangxing's Tomb which is under state protection, and the Tombs of Cai E and Chen Tianhua, who were both outstanding revolutionists.

 

Mawangdui Han Tombs
 
The excavation from 1972 to 1974 of three tombs of the Western Han dynasty at Mawangdui in Changsha marks one of the major archaeological discoveries in the twentieth century. Over 3,000 cultural relics and a well-preserved female corpse were unearthed.


Among the uncovered relics are bright-colored lacquer wares representing the highest level of workmanship at that time, fine silks amazingly showing accomplished weaving technique, silk paintings with romantic themes of the Kingdom of Heaven, the craving for eternity, and silk inscriptions demonstrating knowledge and wisdom of the ancient people. The well-preserved female corpse is even a miracle in human antisepsis.

 
Tianxin Pavilion

 
Built in 1924 and covering an area of 40 mu (about 2.67 hectares), Tianxin Pavilion Scenic Spot is located at the center of Changsha city proper. It is known as the first garden in Changsha built to preserve the former site of ancient city wall and the ancient Tianxin Pavilion which is one of the famous pavilions with high historic and cultural significance in China. Now the scenic area is included in the list of national 4A level scenic spots.
 
Originally built in the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 BC-220 AD), the ancient city wall is 2,200 years old. In 1372, its earthen walls was reconstructed into brick ones on stone foundation. The 8.8-kilometer-long wall encompassed the downtown area of Changsha in the shape of rectangle. Now the extant ancient city wall is 251 meters in length and 13.4 meters in height. Barbican entrances to the city on south and north sides are elaborately equipped with cannon-cave, secret passage and warehouse inside, which makes the city wall easy to defend but hard to conquer and thus a place of great military importance. It is now of great value in ancient city defense research.
 
Located above the city wall, the over-500-year-old Tianxin Pavilion is a landmark in Changsha. The pavilion and the city wall enjoy a reputation of the Ancient Pavilion of Xiaoxiang and Famous City Wall of the Qin and Han Dynasties respectively. The three-storey main pavilion is 14.6 meters in height, with two 10-meter-high assisted pavilions respectively standing in south and north connected by veranda. Tianxin Pavilion is a typical garden architecture in south China of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1644).
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