BIT World Travel Service
Escorted Tour - Taiyuan Overview

During the 77 years of disunion that followed the collapse of the Tang dynasty, northern China was up for grabs by the various kingdoms that came to be known as the Five Dynasties (907-960). Each laid claim to Taiyuan (then called Jinyang) until the first emperor of the Song dynasty (960-1279) stepped in and annihilated the city, going so far as to divert the Fen River so that it would wash away any evidence that Jinyang ever existed. Modern Taiyuan -- the capital of Shanxi Province -- is located on the site of the rebuilt city.

Today things are more tranquil, but not necessarily better for your health. A 1999 report found this sooty industrial city to be the most polluted in the country and city officials, shamed into action, began to take strides toward cleanup. The main thoroughfare, YingzeDajie, was widened in 2007, and while Taiyuan is still unlikely to win any awards for its living conditions, the new Shanxi Museum makes the city definitely worth a day or two of your time en-route to Wutai Shan or Pingyao.

Renowned Taiyuan Tourist Attractions
Jinci Temple

The site of Jin Ci is a large park with gardens and a lake, as well as pavilions, halls, and temples from various dynasties, beginning with the Song (960-1279). It isn't known when the original temple was built, but the earliest written reference to Jin Ci is from the 6th century. As you stroll the grounds, the one building that must not be overlooked is Shengmu Dian (Hall of the Holy Mother). Located at the back of the park, it is recognizable by its double-eaved roof and its extraordinary writhing dragons, each carved out of wood and coiled around one of the building's eight front columns. First completed in 1032, the hall was restored several times -- most recently in the Ming dynasty -- but without ever altering the original architectural style and design. Today, along with a handful of other Shanxi buildings, it is one of the earliest surviving wooden halls in China.

Twin Pagoda Temple

Two pagodas stand in this temple, making it more magnificent. Both of the pagodas stand straight like two pens, so it also gains the name of “Twin Pagoda of Pen”. Actually, the two pagodas are not built at the same time; the southeast pagoda is earlier than the northwest tower. The distance between the two pagodas are 60 meters, means complete and endless in accordance of Mijiao’s theory. Each of the pagodas is made entirely of bricks and stone. There is only one piece of wood in each floor of its eave. The techniques of the construction are exquisite and proficient. Looking from a distance, the height of the two pagodas are just the same and the two styles is very harmonious. Only close to the pagodas, can people see the differences of the two pagodas. The southeast pagoda is made of brick; the sculptures in the pagoda are elegant and refined and the diameter of the body of the pagoda is the same. So this pagoda is tall and straight. While the brim of the northwest pagoda is made of colored glaze, the sculpture is refined and delicate. The perimeter of the body of this pagoda vary greatly, thus it looks graceful and pretty.

Tianlongshan Grottos

Tianlong Mountain is also called Square Mountain, the altitude is 1,700 meters. The scenery here is beautiful. It used to be the summer palace of the father of Gaoyang Emperor of the Northern Qi Dynasty (420 - 589). Arising mountains stand around Tianlong Mountain; verdant trees grow on Tianlong Mountain. The fountain of the Longwang Grotto runs quietly. In front of the mountain, the water of the bourn flows slowly. Tianlongshan Grotto was first built in the Eastern Wei Dynasty (534—550), Gaohuan constructed grottos in Tianlong Mountain. Gaoyang, the son of Gaohuan, established Jinyang as another capital of the Northern Qi Dynasty (420 - 589). Continually, they built grottos in Tianlong Mountain. In the Sui Dynasty (580-618),Yangguang was Jin emperor, he continued to build grottos. Liyuan and his father started their great exploit in Jinyang. The construction of these grottos reached its peak.

The grottos scatters in the mountainside of the east and west peak of Tianlong Mountain. There are 24 grottos which were built respectively during the Eastern Wei Dynasty (534—550), the Northern Qi Dynasty (420 - 589), Sui Dynasty (580-618), and the Tang Dynasty (618 -907). Eight grottos in the east peak, thirteen grottos in the west peak and three grottos in the north of the mountain. The existing grottos have 1,500 statues, 1,144 embossments, alga wells and figures. The time of the excavation of these grottos differs one from another. The number of the grottos that excavated during the Tang Dynasty (618 -907) are the most, reaching 15. The grottos excavated during the Eastern Wei Dynasty (534-550) are appropriate and vivid, full of realistic life breath. The sculptures of the Tang Dynasty (618 -907) are even more precise and exquisite. The figures of the Tang Dynasty (619-906) are vivid and beautiful, the style of the knife are proficient and smooth. The Maitreya Buddha, of the ninth grotto “Manshan Pavilion” is eight meters in height, the ratio of the figure is harmonious, and the countenance of the Buddha is dignified and elegant. The figure of Kwan-yin below is eleven meters high. With glorious jade-like stones and transparent voile, her figure is plump and charming. While the figure of Puxian is smiling and mellow, it is the outstanding works of the stone carvings. Numerous pine trees and cypresses spread all over Tianlong Mountain. Especially the ancient cypress entwining the mountain, it is another wonder of Tianlong Mountain.

The Qiao's Grand Courtyard

The Qiao's Grand Courtyard is located 64 km southwest of Village Qiaojiabao in Town of Qi. This courtyard began to be constructed in the year 1756. After several extensions, it has become a grandiose architecture group, representing the unique style of the folk residence in the Qing Dynasty.

The courtyard was built in a closed cycle. Overlooked from above, the whole courtyard, covering 10642㎡, looks like two Chinese characters “喜” (means pleasure), including building area of 4175㎡. The whole courtyard was divided into six big yards and 20 small yards in the 6 ones. There are 313 rooms in these yards. The grand courtyard, with three walls facing the streets, is not connected with any other residences. The closed cycle wall is over 10 meters high and 1 meter thick. The alleys connecting the big and small yards are convenient to patrol.

The main gate is facing the east, with high top on it, alleyway in the middle and brick sculpt on the opposite site. Entering the main gate, a paved path will lead you to an ancestral temple standing opposite against the main gate.

All of the yards are in construction. Masters lived in the main house with tiles, others lived in the wing yard, in the houses with brick top, which represented the traditional ethics and moral principles. There are four main buildings and six pavilions in the main courtyard.

Recommended Tours:

Taiyuan City Day Tour
Highlights: Jin Ancestral Temple, Qiao Courtyard, Shuanglin Temple
You'll visit some of the most renowned attraction including Jin Ancestral Temple, Qiao Courtyard, Shuanglin Temple.

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