Located in the West of Henan Province, Luoyang got its name due to its location in the adret of the ancient Luoshui River. It is a historic city with more than three thousand years history. It was the capital city for nine dynasties, including the East Zhou, East Han, Caowei, West Jin, North Wei, Sui, Wuzhou, Late Liang, Late Tang, so it is named as the “Ancient Capital of the Nine Dynasties”, ranking top one among the seven ancient capitals in China. The Heluo area with Luoyang as the center is the important origin of the Huaxia Civilization.
The most prosperous period of Luoyang was in the Sui and Tang dynasties with a population of more than one million. Known as the oriental start of the “silk road”, it had wide political, economic, cultural exchanges with countries of Europe, North Africa and Asia.
The ancient capital Luoyang also boasts rich humanistic cultures. The fables about Fuxi, Nuwa, Yellow Emperor, Tangyao, Yushun, Xiayu in ancient China were mostly originated from here; the generation and development of traditional Chinese cultures: Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, are closely related with Luoyang; the Book of Changes and The Eight Diagrams were generated here; Laotze wrote the Daoism here; Confucius once asked the ceremony here; The Historical Book of Han Dynasty and Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government were complied here; Zhang Heng invented Armillary Sphere and Seismograph here; and the great poets Du Fu and Li Bai left their ever-lasting poems here.
The rich and abundant historic culture of Luoyang has done its contribution to the Chinese nation and also leaves endless wealth and relic sites for the following generations to visit and ponder on the past. Luoyang Longmen Grottoes is one of the three art treasures of the Chinese stone inscription; the first temple Baima Temple was the first temple built after the introduction of Buddhism into China and reputed as “Shiyuan” and “Zuting” of China’s Buddhism; the Mangshan in the north has the largest ancient tomb cluster in China shaped since East Zhou Dynasty and more than 400 thousand precious cultural relics have been excavated here and the first ancient tomb museum in the world has been built here. In addition, Luoyang is also famous for its three colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty, Luoyang peony, Heluo Peculiar Stone (Yellow River Peculiar Stone), Luo embroidery and the Guanlin, one of the three famous Guandi Temples in China.
The ancient capital Luoyang is among the first batch of China’s historic cities declared by the Chinese government.
1. Longmen Grottoes
Longmen Grottoes The Longmen Grottoes, an apotheosis of the art of stone carvings in ancient China, are regarded as one of the three greatest grottoes in China, together with the Yungang Grottoes in Datong and Thousand-Buddha Caves in Dunhuang. The Longmen Grottoes are located south to downtown Luoyang, on the cliffs along the banks of the Yi River. With a total length of 1 km from south to north, they were first chiseled out during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) and mended now and then for as long as over 400 years, which, until now boast a history of over 1500 years.
Currently, the total number of existing grottoes is more than 1300, with 100,000（10 thousands） plus Buddha figures, among which the largest is as high as 17.14 meters, while the smallest measures merely 2 centimeters. They are but a complete embodiment of the artistic accomplishments of the ancient working people in China. Among the grottoes, the Middle Binyang Cave, Fengxian Temple and Guyang Cave are the most representative ones, and most were created in the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian (624-705AD), who was one and only empress in Chinese history, also a fervent Buddhist. The main Buddha Vairocana is 17.14 meters in height, with a head measuring four meters long and her ears are 1.9 meters long. Folk legends say that the Vairocana Buddha was modeled on the empress herself. Except for various exquisite sculptures, Longmen Grottoes also preserve a large quantity of historical materials in terms of religion, fine arts,
calligraphy, music, garments, medicine, architecture and Sino-foreign transportation, etc. Therefore, they are also a large museum of stone carving art. Large in scale, the Longmen Grottoes feature exquisitely-carved sculptures of rich contents and subjects, thus are reputed as one of the greatest classical artistic treasure houses in the world. With their own systematic and unique language of sculpture art, they reveal all of the rules and principles of the artistic creation. On the other hand, the abundant substantial historical materials kept inside also reflect in different aspects the evolution of various fields, including the ancient politics, economy, religion and culture. In Nov. 2000, Longmen Grottoes were listed into the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
2. White Horse Temple
White Horse Temple (Baima Temple) Located 12 km away from Luoyang City in the east, White Horse Temple (Baima Temple) was built in 68 AD during East Han Dynasty with a long history of more than 1900 years, which is said to be the first Buddhist temple built by officials in Chinese history. According to historical records, Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 220 AD) had a dream about a great Buddhist. When he woke up, he sent some ministers as diplomats to study Buddhism. After acquiring the doctrines of Buddhism, they came back with two eminent Indian Buddhists and white horses carrying Buddhist scriptures, which were intended to preach Buddhism in China. The emperor was so pleased because they successfully completed the mission that he decided to build a temple to commemorate the contribution and the successful mission. But they had no idea about the name of the temple at the beginning, so they named it White Horse Temple and set two white horses statues to showcase the difficulty of the mission. Regarded as the ”Cradle of Chinese Buddhism”, the White Horse Temple still plays an important part in Chinese Buddhism, attracting many Buddhists and scholars all over the country to visit. Today’s White Horse Temple is a rectangle court with an area of 40,000 square meters. It comprises of Tianwang Hall, Great Buddha Hall, Daxiong Hall, Jieyin Hall, Qingliang Terrace and Pilu, which are all situated along the north-south central axis.
The Baiyun Mountain is located in the south of Song County,only 180 kilometers away from Luoyang City. It was proclaimed a national forest park by the Ministry of Forestry of China and became a national protection area in 1998.It was honored one of the “Top Ten Spots in Luoyang”and one of the 4A spots.There are beautiful hills and strange rocks with many stories. With the total area of 45 square kilometers,the Baiyun Mountain has two perfections and four wonders.About two perfections,one is its good location.It covers part of the Yellow River Valley,the Changjiang River Valley and the Huaihe River Valley,and is the shared source of the Baihe River,the Yihe River and the Ruhe River.The other is its varied topography.It has 37 peaks over 1,500 meters above the sea level and an open basin in the middle area.As for the four wonder,the first is animals and plants.There are 1,991 kinds of plants and 204 kinds of animals here.The second is its comfortable climate with rich rainfall,cool summer,and fresh air.The third is its various natural wonders such as steep peaks like the Baiyun Mountaion and the Yuhuangding Peak,its forest such as azalea,waterfalls and pools such as the Ninedragon Waterfall and the Black Dragon Waterfall,and caves such as the White Cloud Cave and so on.The fourth is its unique geology.It has the stratigraphic successions of Paleozoic Era igneous rocks,and veinstones. The Baiyun Mountain collect not only the grandness of northern mountains but also beauty of the southern ones.It becomes a comprehensive spot for sightseeing,holiday,and scientific research. It is composed of five scenic spots with their own beauty. They are the Baiyun Mountain,the Yuhuangding Peak,the Nine-dragon Waterfall,the Natural Forest and Small Mount Huang.
4. jiguan Cave
Jiguan Cave scenic Area is located on Jiguan Mountain, tree kilometers west of Luanchuan County,Luoyang,Henan, Which is a typical Limestone cave developed in the Epiproterozoic marble and formed in the early-mid Pleistocene. Early in the Qing Dynasty,there was somebody talking risks to explore it but returning by fear because of the odd dangerous cave.
“jiguan cave is 5,600 meters deep and it is divided into five floors from top to bottom with a fall of 138 meters. Up to now,it has been developed with a length of 1,800 meters and a viewing area of 23,000 square meters.The cave is divided into eight scenic spots,i.e,Yuzhu Pool,Yicai Hall,Diewei Palace,Dongtian Stream,Juxian Palace,Yaochi Palace,Cangxiu Pavillion and Stone Forest Lane.
Paths running sinuously amidst the peaks,leading to secluded scenes and full of dazzling stalactites, stalagmites,stong pillars and stone flags of different styles. Mu Qing,the former president of Xinhua News Agency,titled it “the First Cave in North China” and Professor Zhu Xuewen,the president of the Cave Research Association of the Geological Society of China, commented that “with splendid scenes,it is famed as the first cave in North China,Due to unique causes of formation, itis exactly the frist dragon palace nationwide”.
After fifteen years of development , Jiguan Cave Scenic Area has been successively rated as the “Funiu Mountain World Geopark”,”National AAAAA Level Scenic Spot””National Civilized Scenic Area”and “National Nature Reserve”,etc.
The scenic spot of Longtan Valley (or Dragon Lake Valley) is located in the north of Xin’an county of Luoyang city, 60 kilometers to Luoyang and 180 kilometers to Zhengzhou. It is a U-shaped valley formed by a stripe of purplish red quartz sandstone under the impact of flowing water.
Longtan Valley is an integrated part and the core tourist attraction of Daimei Mountain World Geopark. It enjoys good names like “The No.1 Valley of Narrow Gorges in China”, “Natural Museum of Paleooceanography”, “Superb Landscape of Gorges” and “Art Gallery of the Yellow River Landscape”, etc.
The valley stretches for 12 kilometers, with narrow gorges and ravines scattering like beads. The valley is shrouded with rosy clouds and covered with splashing torrents. Green plants against the backdrop of red rocks, steep cliffs, water-cut valleys formed in different time periods, and wave-mark cliffs formed by gigantic collapsed blocks that are quite a rarity in China and foreign countries, all these give you a marvelous view of the formation of the mountain while you are exploring the wonders of the valley.
There are six natural mysteries in the scenic spot (Water Flowing to a Higher Ground, Arhad Cliff with Halos, Giants’ Fingerprints, Abstruse Writing on the Rock, Butterfly Pond, Footprints Left by the Immortals), seven ponds (Five-Dragon Pond, Dragon Breath Pond, Green Dragon Pond, Black Dragon Pond, Crouching Dragon Pond, Yinyang Pond and Reed Pond) and eight natural wonders (Matchless Heaven’s Tablet, Scenic Beauty on the Rock, urn valleys around the Yinyang Pond, Five-General Wave-Mark Rock, the Skies Falling and the Earth Opening up, Spectacular Lane Valley, Magpies Welcoming Guests, Silver Necklace Dangling from the Sky).
6. Guanlin Temple
Guanlin Temple was built to commemorate the great General Guan Yu of the State of Shu during the Three Kingdoms Period. It is said that the head of General Guan Yu was buried here. Furthermore, it is the only complex combining a forest with a temple in China.
The structure is now comprised of halls, temples, pavilions and Guan Yu’s tomb. Valuable stone tablets with elegant calligraphies can also be found here. The place is very popular among the locals who worship the valorous general by burning sticks of incense.