Today let's start for looking at the compass: the well-known fact is that Beijing (西京) is translated as "Northern Capital" and that Nanjing (南京) was "Southern Capital" (and still carries the name). If we'll continue to turn upon we'll find Tokyo - Dongjing (东京), which is "Eastern Capital" (the name also belonged to Kaifeng once upon a time). What is missing?
Today let’s start for looking at the compass: the well-known fact is that Beijing (西京) is translated as “Northern Capital” and that Nanjing (南京) was “Southern Capital” (and still carries the name). If we’ll continue to turn upon we’ll find Tokyo – Dongjing (东京), which is “Eastern Capital” (the name also belonged to Kaifeng once upon a time). What is missing?
An analytical part of me was unsuccessfully looking for Xijing (西京) – “Western Capital”. When I’ve started to write this essay I’ve found that it was the name of Luoyang in Song Dynasty (means X-XIII centuries, but the city’s history dates much earlier, i.e. to 2000BC). Actually, there was even one more city that carried the same name, more about this in future essays :)
The bus to Luoyang was very spacey and pleasant, yet resulting with a few cool pics we could get on the road. Those were both landscapes and kinda caves sometimes even with people nearby.
Why do people come to Luoyang? Because of (at least) two major tourist attractions: Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple.The Longmen (Dragon Gate) Grottoes carry that name, being located on two opposite hills of the Yi River. The construction had been started in V-th century and lasted about 400 years. Xiangshan temple, being a part of the complex nestled many Chinese poets and other representatives of the ancient cultural elite.
We’ve hanged around till the dark hours, hoping to get even nicer pictures in the evening, but later were told that it didn’t happened for months ago, so we’ve gave up and returned to the city to eat our first roasted duck (and it’s really hard to remember that you have a camera, while having such a delicious dish on the table).
Another interesting fact to mention is that restaurants in China are extremely popular
among all social ranks. There is a plenty of, covering all the price ranges, just to meet friends or to celebrate personal events in dedicated rooms, provided by nearly every restaurant or karaoke club.
For the next day, a trip to Shaolin Monastery was planned. Well, we’ve arrived to there and seen tons of tourist groups, taking pictures in front of the gate and tried our best to escape the commercialized crowd. We’ve took a taxi to the southern gate and entered the Songshan Geopark route, leading to the temple and offering tons of stunning views, accompanied with explanatory tablets.
I’d wish I knew more about the subject to be able to understand those tons of dense science about rocks kinds, geological formations, stone shapes etc etc etc
On the route we’ve passed a construction of a new temple. We’ve took a sit and couldn’t refuse to the wide smile, accompanied with an offered cigarettes (we both don’t smoke).
Finally, we’ve reached the temple from the backside straight into the pagoda forest.
We’ve also passed a cable car that was supposed to bring us to the starting point of the just completed route :)
It became getting darker, the temple buildings started to close and we’ve got a chance
to see and to hear the Buddhist evening pray:
The next morning we’ve took a bus to another tourist mecca – Xi’an (which also was named Xijing during the last century), so next time will be about terracotta army, Chinese traditional music and Shaanxi local beer :)
See the location entries: