Zhengzhou is the capital city of Henan Province, and an important railway hub on the Beijing-Guangzhou and Xian-Shanghai rail lines. It is home to the national grain wholesale market and a new high-tech science park. Along with its modern economic position, Zhengzhou played a key role in China's early civilization as the site of an early Shang dynasty walled city some 3,500 years ago. Here and at nearby Anyang China's early bronze industry developed for military and ritual use, and remains of the ancient Shang city foundations and wall are still visible on the outskirts of town.
Situated south of the Yellow River and east of the Songshan River, Zhengzhou was one of China's earliest cities, thought to have been the second capital of the Shang dynasty some 3,500 years ago. Archaeological sites around Zhengzhou have yielded abundant Neolithic pottery and technologically early forms of the bronze ritual vessels and weaponry that were defining elements of Shang material culture. Zhengzhou's status as a transport and economic center has roots as far back as the Sui and Tang periods (late 6th to early 10th century), when canals connected Zhengzhou's grain markets to the Yellow River. Zhengzhou's importance declined along with nearby Luoyang after the Song established their capital at Kaifeng to the east. Zhengzhou emerged as a transportation hub again in the 20th century with the building of railroad lines. It played an important role in the railroad "Strike of February 7" in 1923, and has become one of Asia's most important freight transfer hubs.
At the foot of Mt. Huanggai, occupying an area of 100,000 square m, this temple was originally built during the Qin dynasty. The architectural style of its central hall is very similar to that of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in Beijing's Forbidden City.
The temple houses 4 large iron statues supposed to be guardians. They were cast in the Song dynasty. The 300 cypress trees in the temple compound have lived more than 1,000 years. The Grand Central Mountain Hall, with its scarlet walls and golden tiles, stands in the midst of many other palaces, chambers, pavilions and corridors.
Driving southwestward from Zhengzhou for an hour and a half will bring you to Mt. Songshan. Its peak, towering 1,550 m above sea level, is the highest of the 22 peaks of the Funiu Range.
Songshan rises from the Central China Plain; being the middle-most of the 5 sacred mountains of China, it is sometimes called Central Mountain. It contains scenic spots and places of historical interest, of which Shaolin Temple, the Songyang School of Classical Learning, the Han Imperial Palaces and the Star Observatory Terrace are the best known.
One of the 4 most famous ancient schools of classical learning in China is located to the south of Central Mountain Temple. The simple buildings house many historical relics. In the courtyard there are 2 cypress trees more than 1,900 years old; their trunks are so thick that 5 people with arms fully extended can barely form a ring around them. It is said that these trees were named "cypress generals" by Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty.
Situated in the heart of Mt. Songshan in the Central Sacred Mountains, about 90 kilometer southwest of Zhengzhou urban districts, Shaolin temple is named for its location in the dense forest at the northern foot of Shaoshi Mountain, a major part of Songshan. It is regarded as the ancestral temple of the Zen Sect of the Chinese Buddhism, the origin of the world-famous Shaolin Kungfu, a top tourist attraction of China, also known as the "No.1 Famous Temple under Heaven".
Built in the Northern Wei dynasty, the temple has been as old as more than 1,500 years, with a total area of over 30,000 square m. Right here Bodhi Dharma, the founder of the Zen Sect of the lndian Buddhism, sat in meditation in a natural mountain cave for 9 years and preached Zen in China for the first time, thus Dharma is also respected as the Founder of the Chinese Zen and Shaolin Temple as the birthplace of Chinese Zen.
Tang dynasty is the first golden period for the temple, with a total of 2,500 monks. The prosperity was attributed to the historical fact that 13 Shaolin monks good at cudgel fighting bravely rescued Li Shimin, a king of the Tang dynasty who later became a great emperor in the Chinese history, and the movie of Shaolin Temple was just based on that story. So the Shaolin Kung Fu is named after the temple and the temple wins a great fame with its Kungfu. The main scenic spots are Permanent courtyard, the Forest of Stupas, the First Founder's Hall, the Second Founder's Hall and Dharma Cave, etc.
Yellow River Scenic Area is located in the eastern section of Mt. Yueshan, 27 kilometer to the northwest of Zhengzhou City. The area is 4.5 kilometer long with its eastern end at the Yellow River Bridge and western in the ruins of the ancient battle field of King Liubang and King Xiangyu. The distance from north to south is 6 kilometer with the southern end at Kuhe River and northern end in the south bank of Yellow River. This area is 100.72 meter above the sea level while its peaks such as Wulong Peak (Five Dragon Peak) are all 190 meter above sea level.
Yellow River Scenic Area covers an area of about 27 square kilometer with Mt. Yueshan and Mt. Guangwushan as its center. About 20 years ago, there is still a wilderness.
In 1970, aiming to solve the problem of water supply and irrigation, a water project was launched by the government and was completed 2 years later. After that, another 7 years was spent in building a scenic area to enhance the culture of the Yellow River and during the Chu-Han War, Liubang and Xiangyu once confronted here.
Cultural scenic spots include Yueshan Temple, Mt. Wulongfeng, Battlefield of King Liubang and King Xiangyu, Huayuankou scenic zone etc, which are different in styles, but reveal the same tune of the Yellow River culture.
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