Palace and Temple
When the emperor of China declared Confucianism as state relegion, he allowed the Kong-Family to build a big temple and palace. The Kong-Family were the only people in China, who were allowed to use yellow tiles and dragon-columns beside the emperor.
This temple complex lies just outside the town wall in the northeast corner of the town. It was the sacrificial temple of the Duke of Zhou. The complex covers an area of 75 acres and features some lovely sets of doors found in the wall that surrounds it. The temple is very peaceful and tranquil as it's not well known to tourists.
Kong Family Mansion - Chong Guang Gate
This gate (meaning Gate of Double Glory) was built in Emperor Hongzhi's reign during the Ming dynasty in 1503. Its name is from the vertical tablet which reads "Bestowing double glory from Emperor Zhu Houcong". It was known as the gate of ceremony.
This is the cone-shaped hill tomb of the great sage which is located in the Confucius Forest which itself lies a few kilometres to the north of Qufu. The original tomb erected here in memory of Confucius on the bank of the Sishui River had the shape of an axe. In addition, it had a brick platform for sacrifices. When the present tomb was opened by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution no human remains were found in it.
The tomb is cleared sign-posted from the gate-way into the forest cemetery. Next to it lie the tombs of Confucius' sons.
Admission: Included in the price of the Confucius Temple ticket.
Confused in Qufu
"Or was it Confucius was in Qufu?!?"
OK, similar to my visits to Beijing and Xi'an, I was working in Qingdao and still had no workers due to the Lunar New Year. Despite the managers assurances that they would return many days before.
So what did I do, I grabbed a map and tried to find something both close and interesting. That's when I found Qufu.
Being ~4hours overland from Qingdao it was relatively easy to get to, however halfway during my visit a snow storm rolled in so the trip back took over 7 hours. But I survived all the iced roads, the frozen rest stops and the near-blizzard conditions.
Qufu is the ancient home of Confucius, and the Kong family. (note the similarity here... KONG -- CONfucius) There are still some of the lineage living there today, but much of the limelight has passed from the ancient days.
Out of the north city gate is the cemetery, know as Confucius Forest. There are over 100,000 tombs going back over 2500 years since Confucius himself was buried there.
Qufu, I'm told, is a small town, tipping the scales at a over 100k people. There is an old city wall, wherein lies the sites of Confucius' Temple and Mansion.
In the heart of the old city, these sites are among the largest temples you can visit anywhere. And I must say that they were rather well maintained too.
[OK, did I mention the snow storm?!? See the photo and the one above... they were about 10 minutes apart, the drive home was fun... This was one of the last photos I could take before the visibility went to zero]
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