Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (and every day during all the national holidays) you can go see the spectacle of the dancing fountains in the new and modern area of Luoyang (south of the old Luoyang). According to my wife’s father, who is very trustable, these are the biggest fountains in the whole of Asia. A couple of years ago, I went to see the dancing fountains in Barcelona also, and these are similar but also different. It’s the same concept, but the ones in Barcelona are more pitoresque, where the ones in Luoyang are huger and more massive.
The spectacle starts at 20.00 and lasts for half an hour.
This is suppose to be the first buddhist temple in China, dated since the 1st century, when a Tang Dynasty monk traveled to Afghanistan and met 2 indian monks. Both monks were invited back to Luoyang with buddhist scriptures and statues in 2 white horse.
Adjoining to this temple there is a pagoda, where you stand about 20feet away and clap you will hear a sound similar to a frog.
I came to this park during the Spring Festival, when the parc is filled with puppets and lights that all refer to the Spring Festival. It's not during the whole Spring Festival that you have this special decoration, but only during the last week of it, more or less. I haven't been here during the day, but the park (40 hectares) also has a zoo, a history and culture area and some recreational facilities. Ideal to come here with kids.
It's also one of the best places to come to during the Peony Festival.
Just outside Luoyang, city of peonies, two hills - Xiangshan and Longmenshan - face each other across the Yi river as it flows northwards towards the Yellow River. The two hills, draped in cypress trees and slender pines, form a natural gateway, and the area has long been called the Yiqu (gateway of the Yi).
Here, since AD493, along an 800 metre stretch of the gorge, the pious have carved statues of Buddha, bodhissatvas and arhats into the soft sandstone cliffs. The first carving was started when Emperor Xaowen moved his capital frm Pincheng in Shanxi to Luoyang that year. Once started, the work continued through the dynasties. This was no new fad though: the Yungang Shikou near the old capital had been similarly decorated over the years.
At the Longmen Shiku, there are now more than 2300 caves and niches, 2800 inscriptions and more than 100,000 Buddist images. As well as providing a unique sample of Buddhist art style over the years, the carvings and inscriptions create a window on Chinese historical court life.
Northern Wei Dynasty: the deep, narrow Guyang Cave with its spectacular carved ceiling, which was the first cave created; Binyangzhongdong, which took centuries to complete; Liahuadong; Weizi Cave, Huangfugong Cave
Tang Dynasty: Fengxiansi, Wanfodong, Qianxisi, Kanjinsi, Dawanwufodong.
[Continued from Part 1]
The Tang Fengxiansi is, for many, the highlight, with its 17m high Losana Buddha, accompanied by Ananda and Kasyapa. Nearby the bodhisattvas Manjusri and Samantabhadra attend, with other attendants and disciples keeping them company. The intricacy of the carving is best exhibited by the mischievous Yaksa being stamped on by the heavenly king to the right. The main buddha is rumoured to have been modelled on the face of the powerful, yet rather nasty, Empress Wu Zetian. Early in the morning, the warm glow of the stone and the steaming mist rising from the Yi (in winter) create a supremely peaceful scene.
Other Tang highlights include the left hand wall of the Wanfodong with its sheer wall of tiny niches and one larger niche high up near the ceiling. Look out for the carved musicians.
I particularly like the Wei Binyangzhongdong caves, which are among the first caves you reach from the north. The Tang statues are more three-dimensional and realistic than the earlier relief Northern Wei carvings: many prefer the Tang art, but it is worth remembering that the earlier carvings were more spiritual in nature, and completed in a time of great uncertainty and constant strife across much of China.
The western side of the gorge is where most of the carvings are situated, and on the eastern side the temples and pagodas proliferate. The Longmen Caves can be seen in an hour and a half, but the whole gorge is a peaceful pace to relax and recharge batteries.
Some of the more spectacular carvings are, sadly, no longer in-situ, as Longmen Shikou was pillaged by Western archaeologists in the 19th and early 20th Century. Next time you pass the MoMA in New York, you might enquire as to when they intend returning the roof carvings ripped out of the Longmen Caves. Equally sadly, during the campaign against the Four Olds in the Cultural Revolution, many carvings and statues were badly damaged or destroyed, giving Western collectors and museums the easy excuse that they were 'protecting' the relics.
You can tell from my Luoyang site that, at least for me, the town is about the Buddhist caves! The day I went it was pretty dreary! Rain and snow mixture all day long. But I did enjoy the caves! Louyang was established in 1200 BC and has been the capital of 10 Dynasties! Luoyang is one of the best Historical sites in all of China. At the time I didn't realize it and I just spent a passing few hours here. I should have given it a couple of days worth of exploring the caves.
Every year, in April there is a Peony Festival in Luoyang, and the best time is from 15 April to 30 April. I went to National Peony Garden a little bit early, it was on 9 April. Only a few of them blossomed in north garden, but in south garden I was excited to see those gorgeous and brilliant peony spreading all over the garden. How can I describe their beauty?
But a bad thing happened, my camera didn't work after I took 3 photoes because I forgot to charge battery. So I could only look at them in order to memorize them.
The King City Park is famous for its Peony flowers. Some where artifically in bloom, even in late October. The park is large and hilly and for extra cost you can see the zoo.
This definately looks like a third world zoo. The animal cages are small and sad. Some animals are getting a new place to live and more colorful, but are still small. Most animals either sat still or paced back and forth. These monkeys were the only real entertainment. Well, that and the thousands of flowers.
This was founded by an Indian monk around 1st century AD. The story says those who first came had White Horses, thus the name (Baima means white horse).
It has large grounds with several temples, a little park land, and of course, a pagoda. The historical importance may have been lost on me, or maybe I was just pagodaed out. If Buddhism is of interest to you, this is a must, if it isn't then this is just swell, not grand.
Luoyang Museum - 10 RMB
Luoyang Ancient Tombs Museum - 10 RMB (half-price for students). A bit spooky. Maybe due to the fact that I was there alone! The big blue sign (with white characters) sign for it is on the left side of the road, opposite the museum turn-off. Even if you miss the bus stop, the next stop is only about 500 metres away.
Luoyang Folk Customs Museum - 10 RMB (half-price for students). Somewhat interesting but it was quite dim inside the buildings, and also quite dusty! They had photos of convicts undergoing "gua3 xing2", different stages of it. Not for the faint-hearted. The museum is near the Wenfeng Ta and old city area.
Admission is 60 RMB (includes admission to West Hills, East Hills, Bai2 Yuan2 (Bai Juyi's former residence) and erm, something else which I can't remember right now), student price 30 RMB. It's only 5 RMB to rent an audio guide (no time limit), great value I must say!
Spent one whole day wandering happily there. It's easily the most worthwhile sight of Luoyang. The wonderful audio guide staff said that I was the one who took longest to return the audio guide. :P I almost felt sorry for keeping them waiting.
The peony parks are best visited in April, they are all over town:
(From West to East)
1) Peony Park
2) Central Park (I don't know the exact name)
3) Xiyuan Park
4) Wancheng Park
+ 3 parks north of the city toward the airport
The Grottoes house tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples and are among the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art in existence today.
The sculptures, many once painted, were carved into caves excavated from the limestone cliffs of the Xiangshan and Longmenshan mountains.
A massive restoration and preservation effort went into regenerating these carvings before the UNESCO award was issued in 2000. Over the years, the caves suffered significant damage from weather erosion, vandalism by the anti-Buddhist movement of the 9th century, significant looting at the hands of souvenir-hunters in the 19th & 20th centuries before culminating in further desecration during the Cultural Revolution.
The restoration project has been a resounding success and with English translations at each part of the cave system, visitors can follow the progression from the models made in the early days until the Tang era where the grottoes became more elaborate, complex and even included women.
The grottoes were started around the year 493 under the guidance of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) and continued for about 500 years until the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). This period of productivity included the Tang Dynasty (618-907) who, through ther immense wealth and strong Buddhist beliefs contributed towards approximately 60% of the total build including that which we see today. Patrons included royalty, rich aristocrats, emperors and wealthy religious groups.
The scenery measures 1,000m from north to south, there are over 2,300 holes and niches, 2,800 steles, 40 dagobas, 1,300 caves and 100,000 statues.
Please refer to the Travelogues for photos and additional narrative:
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/145713/f671c/#ixzz1s5J34iGh
Luoyang has a new museum, pyramid-like modern structure. It is huge, looking from the outside and quite impressive structure consider it is located in the middle of China. I think the Chinese Government wants to build all new museum for all states and important cities, for example like this one and Shanxi Musuem that I visited in Taiyuan.
This Museum has two stories of exhibitions, they include:
- Exhibition of Heluo Civilazation
- Exhibition of Ancient Stone Carving Art
- Exhibition of Calligraphy and Painting.
- Exhibition of Ancient Treasure of Luoyang.
- Exhibition of Pottery Figurines of Han and Tang Dynasties.
- Exhibition of Tri-Colored Earthen wares of Tang Dynasties. (Famous)
- Exhibition of Qing Imperial Cultural Relics. (Famous)
- Exhibition of Ancient Fresco Art.
Admission: Free (Need to get the ticket from gate)
In Chinese: 洛阳博物馆， luo yang bo wu guan
Las grutas de Longmen se comenzaron a construir en el año 493 , cuando el emperador de la dinastía Wei trasladó la capital a Luoyang desde Datong , donde habían realizado los trabajos en las grutas de Yungan .
Longmen significa puerta del dragón pues las dos montañas se asemejan a una puerta con el río Yi corriendo por el medio
La visita suele empezarse por la montaña del Oeste , donde están las grutas más conocidas , después de verlas se cruza el río a la montaña del este y allí también hay alguna gruta que están restaurando y un templo
La figuras tienen influencias China e Hindúes , debido a que el Budismo y sus imágenes llegaron de china y de la India
Durante la revolución cultural las estatuas sufrieron grandes daños
Precio de la entrada : 60 Yuan + 80 Yuan ( taxi, espera tres horas )
The Longmen caves began to be built in the year 493, when the Emperor of Wei Dynasty moved the capital from east Datong to Luoyang, where they had done the work in the Yungan caves
Longmen means dragon gate because the two mountains are similar to a door with the river Yi running down in the middle
The visit usually begins in the West mountain where the caves are best known, after seeing them , cross the river to the mountains where there are also some caves that they are being restoring and a temple
The figures i have Chinese and Hindu influences due to Buddhism and its images came from China and India
During the cultural revolution statues suffered extensive damage
Admission is : 60 Yuan + 80 Yuan (taxi waiting for three hours)