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LANZHOU 兰州

Zhongshan Brug

LANZHOU 兰州

Uitzicht vanaf Baitashan

LANZHOU 兰州

Stadsbeeld met moskee

LANZHOU 兰州

Waterwielpark

LANZHOU 兰州

Hui bootsman op de Gele Rivier

BINGLINGSI 炳灵寺

BINGLINGSI 炳灵寺

BINGLINGSI 炳灵寺

BINGLINGSI 炳灵寺

BINGLINGSI 炳灵寺

BINGLINGSI 炳灵寺

LANZHOU 兰州

LANZHOU 兰州

Lanzhou is de hoofdstad van de provincie Gansu, in het westen van China. De stad is strategisch gelegen aan de Gele Rivier en was tot in deze eeuw een belangrijk knooppunt in het internationale karavaanverkeer. Nu is het nog altijd een handelscentrum en verkeersknooppunt. Lanzhou wordt vaak bezocht als stop op een Zijderoute-reis tussen Xi’an en Dunhuang of om van hieruit te reizen naar Xiahe / Labrang.

Baitashan

Lanzhou-Baitashan01-K2004Vlak bij de ijzeren Zhongshan Brug (中山桥) over de Gele Rivier ten noorden van het stadscentrum liggen de Baitashan (白塔寺), de ‘Heuvels van de Witte Pagode’. Op de ruggen van dit rustige park staan enkele paviljoenen uit de Qing-dynastie (1644-1912): de Sanxing (Drie Sterren), Yingxu (Begroet de Zonsopgang) en Yunyue (Bewolkte Maan).

Op de top staat de Witte Pagode (白塔, Bai Ta) uit de Yuan-dynastie (1271-1368). Hier hebt u een prachtig uitzicht over het stadscentrum, de Gele Rivier en enkele moskeeën. Het bouwwerk is achthoekig, ongeveer 70 m hoog en telt zeven verdiepingen gebouwd in een gemengd Chinees-Tibetaanse stijl. De pagode heeft ook grote, bronzen klokken.

Moskeeën

Lanzhou heeft diverse moskeeën. Daaronder zijn de Qingzhen Moskee (清真大寺, Qingzhen Dasi) aan de zuidzijde bij het Xiaoxi Meer, de Shuishang (Waterkant) Moskee (水上清真寺, Shuishang Qingzhensi) aan de noordoever aan de voet van de Baitashan, de grote Xiguan Moskee (西关清真大寺, Xiguan Qingzhen Dasi) in het centrum, en de Lingmingtang Moskee in het zuiden van de stad.

Vijf Bronnen Park

Het Vijf Bronnen Park (五泉山公园, Wuquanshan Gongyuan) ligt in het zuiden van de stad. 2100 jaar geleden sloeg generaal Huo met zijn staf op de grond en de vijf bronnen ontsprongen en lesten de dorst van zijn manschappen. In het sfeervolle park vindt u diverse paviljoenen en een tempel met een enorme in 1202 gegoten klok.

Ernaast is het groene Lanshan Park (兰山公园, Lanshan Gongyuan), waar u met een stoeltjeslift naar de top van de heuvel kunt voor een fraai uitzicht over Lanzhou.

Waterwiel Park

Langs de Gele Rivier is het Waterwiel Park (水车园, Shuiche Yuan), waar u een goede indruk hoe in het oude China ingenieuze irrigatiesystemen zorgden voor welvaart door een bloeiende landbouw.

Witte Wolk Tempel

De Witte Wolk Tempel (白云观, Baiyunguan) is een kleine, daoïstische tempel. Hij ligt aan de Nanbinhe East Road, de weg die loopt langs de zuidoever van de Gele Rivier.

Gansu Museum

Museumliefhebbers kunnen hun hart ophalen in het Gansu Provinciale Museum (甘肃省博物馆, Gansu Sheng Bowuguan). Dit museum heeft een kleine maar fijne collectie kunst- en gebruiksvoorwerpen, waaronder het ‘Vliegende Paard van Gansu’, replica’s hiervan zijn in heel China te koop.

Behalve het Gansu Museum is er ook (en daarmee niet te verwarren) het Lanzhou Stadsmuseum (兰州市博物馆, Lanzhou Shi Bowuguan).

Binglingsi

Lanzhou-Binglingsi09-K2004Ongeveer 55 km van Lanzhou liggen de boeddhistische grotten van Binglingsi (炳灵寺石窟, Binglingsi Shiku). De 216 nissen bevatten beelden, sculpturen en muurschilderingen die opvallend goed zijn bewaard gebleven. De oudste zijn uit 420 en de mooiste dateren uit de Tang, Song en de Ming. Bingling Si is een transcriptie uit het Tibetaans van `Honderdduizend boeddha’s’. De grotten waren ongeveer een eeuw vergeten en zijn pas in 1952 herontdekt. Door onbereikbaarheid ontsnapt aan de aandacht van moslims, Europeanen en Rode Gardisten, zijn de meeste beelden in goede staat. De Grote Boeddha dateert uit 641 en is hier gemaakt toen prinses Wen Cheng er was, op weg naar Tibet, waar ze gingen huwen met koning Songtsen Ganpo. Aan de overkant van het riviertje is een tempeltje met daarin een grote Liggende Boeddha.

De grotten van Binglingsi zijn minder uitgebreid dan die van Dunhuang en ze zijn wat lastig te bereiken. Vanwege de te lage of hoge waterstanden zijn ze meestal alleen van juli tot oktober bereikbaar en u moet er 1¼ uur voor bussen en 1-1¼ uur varen over een reservoir, dus 3 uur heen, 2 uur rondkijken en weer 3 uur terug.

‘Flaming Mountains’

De ‘Vlammende Bergen’ kennen we vooral uit Turpan in Xinjiang, maar ze zijn er ook in de buurt van Lanzhou, even buiten het dorp Nanpoping, circa 20 km van het centrum van de stad.

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  • Zhongshan Bridge

    As the first bridge over the Yellow River, Zhongshan Bridge is located west of Lanzhou Waterwheel Park and the east of Yellow River Mother Sculpture in Gansu Province. It is known as Iron Bridge.

    The service life of Zhongshan Bridge expired in 1989. Other bridges are planned to replace the Zhongshan Bridge, but none can replace its great value in history or its great work over its 80 years. The Zhongshan Bridge is a historical symbol and a cultural relic in Lanzhou.

    Before Zhongshan Bridge was built, there were many floating bridges over the Yellow River. The floating bridges were made up of more than 20 ships, tied up by ropes and chains. It floated on the river in order to help people pass over, but it was neither solid nor safe enough. Used for over 500 years, the floating bridges were finally retired in 1909, when an iron bridge was built.

    In 1907, under the proposal of local officers in Gansu and the help of a Germany businessman, the Qing Government began to build this first iron bridge over the upper reaches of the Yellow River. All materials, even the rivets, were transported from Germany using ships, trains, carts and other means. The bridge was completed in two years, and named Lanzhou Iron Bridge over the Yellow River. In 1942, to commemorate Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the bridge was re-named as Zhongshan Bridge, for Zhongshan is the Chinese name of this democratic forunner.

  • White Pagoda Mountain Park

    Located in the north of Lanzhou City, the White Pagoda Mountain Park gains its name for the 17-meter-high White Pagoda standing inside. With images of Buddha on its eight sides, the seven-story pagoda is pure white from top to bottom with the exception of the green top which greatly enhances the glamour of the whole building.

    The White Pagoda is the landmark of the White Pagoda Park. According to the legend, the White Pagoda was built in honor of a well-known Tibetan Lama. As a representative of the leader of Sakyapa, the Tibetan Lama was sent to Mongolia to meet Genghis Khan, founder of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Unfortunately, the lama passed away on his way. During the following decades, the original pagoda toppled down. The present White Pagoda was constructed by an official in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and later extended by an imperial inspector in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Standing on the top of the pagoda offers a bird’s view of the Lanzhou city.

    The pagoda has a unique shape and exquisite structure, which is an excellent example of ancient pagodas. Generally, a pagoda combines two styles: the lower part is multi-storied, while the upper part takes the shape of an inverted bowl. However, this pagoda reversed the rule. The lower part of White Pagoda is an inverted bowl and its upper part is multi-storied, making it a rare example among ancient pagodas. The pagodas square base supports a huge Sumeru pedestal. On top of the pedestal is the hemispherical inverted-bowl-shaped part, then the multi-storied part.

    White Pagoda Park opened to the public in 1958. Covering an area of 8,000 square meters, the park has three stately and magnificent ancient architectural complexes, which are in harmony with the surrounding natural landscape and the White Pagoda Mountain. The mountain was once famed for its “Three Treasures”, namely the Elephant Skin Drum, Bronze Bell, and Redbud that withered long ago. After many years’ of forestation, the park has taken on a brand new look with luxuriant trees and grass now. Special features of the park are the Mysterious Yellow River Stone Hall and the Yugur Reception Counting House which may not be found elsewhere. White Pagoda Mountain with the Zhongshan Bridge at its foot forms a magnificent view. And together they have become a symbol of Lanzhou City.

  • Five-spring Park

    Lies at the north foot of Gaolan Mountain in Lanzhou city, Five-spring Park occupies an area of 266,400 square meters on Five-springs Mountain, which ranks as the largest park in Lanzhou.

    Five Spring Park enjoys a time-honored history with a legend. In the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-24 A.D.), a famous general named Huo Qubing, was dispatched by the Emperor to defend the northern border of the country against the Hun people. When the troops arrived at Gaolan Hill, General Huo and his soldiers were exhausted and thirsty. With no water nearby, General Huo forcefully whipped his horsewhip five times into the ground, thus five springs gushed out. Hence the mountain got the name of the Five-spring Mountain.

    Besides the famous five springs, the park owns many temples and pavilions, mostly from Qing Dynasty (1368-1644 AD), and tea houses, art exhibition halls and pools as well. Wenchang Temple, Butterfly Pavilion, Golden Buddha Temple, Mahavira Hall, Wanyuan Pavilion, Thousand Buddha Temple, etc. are scattered along a passage on Five-spring Mountain. Corridors and stone steps connect the buildings, which add artistic atmosphere to the park. The natural beauty of the Five-spring Park is enhanced by verdant groves and fragrant flowers while the temples make it a famous religious destination.

    The five springs are Ganlu Spring, Juyue Spring, Mozi Spring, Meng Spring and Hui Spring. Ganlu Spring situated in the highest position among the five springs. It is said that Ganlu Spring won’t flood during days of rain or dry out during days of drought. The taste of the spring is sweet as dew. Ganlu Spring is endowed by Heaven for the peace and prosperity under the reign of the emperor according to the legend. Different from the other four springs, Juyue Spring is a well rather than a spring with the depth of 1.6 meter. The shadow of the moon reflected in the spring is like the moon in a plate. Another interesting spring is called Mozi Spring. It rumored that at the bottom of this spring are scree and tiles. People who touch the scree in the spring would get a son. Meng Spring lies in the east side of the mountain. A Chinese poetry once appreciated Meng Spring by saying that “friends invited me to taste new tea, I think the water to complement the tea should be Meng Spring”, which highly praised the value and quality of this spring. Covered by luxuriant trees and grass, Hui Spring is crystal. It benefits the local people with adequate water supply and for irrigation; hence got the name of Hui (means benefit in Chinese).

  • Gansu Provincial Museum

    Located in the provincial capital of Lanzhou, Gansu Provincial Museum is the biggest comprehensive museum in the province. The Museum’s predecessor is the Science Education Hall of Gansu built in 1939. After several name changes, the Museum got its present name in 1956 and was opened to public in 1958.

    With 7,500 square meters of exhibition space, the Museum mainly features five exhibition halls:  the Hall of Gansu Historical Relics, the Hall of Gansu Natural Resources, the Hall of Jiayuguan Murals of Wei and Jin Period, the Hall of the Yellow River Ancient Elephants, and the Hall of Red Army’s Long March via Gansu.

    The Hall of Historical Relics exhibits about 1,500 items of unearthed relics including painted pottery bowls, vessels and agricultural tools, and excavations from the Silk Road of the Han (206BC-220AD) and Tang (618-907) periods. The unearthed pottery objects bear the patterns of birds, frogs, flowers or leaves. Among them, pottery vessels of Majiayao Culture excavated from the region of the Yellow River Valley are the best. Geometric motifs like parallel lines, circles, crosses, and spirals were used; The Hall of Natural Resources exhibits about 1,380 items of real objects as well as models, introducing knowledge on Gansu’s population, nationality, transportation, climate, animals and plants resources, etc.; The Hall of Jiayuguan Murals of Wei and Jin Period (220-420) displays over 60 murals on the tomb bricks mainly depicting the daily life of the aristocrats, laboring scenes of the common people, and imperial life. The colorings are well-preserved and still very vivid; The Hall of the Yellow River Ancient Elephants exhibits a 4-meter-tall and 8-meter-long fossil of the Yellow River Xiphodon mammoth, which is the largest and best-preserved remains of its kind in the world; The last hall contains revolutionary relics of the Long March, including pictures, documents, and real objects, etc.

    The most famous piece in the collection of Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) bronzes is the Galloping Horse of Wuwei that is accompanied by an impressive array of chariots and carriages.

    Galloping Horse, also named as Galloping Horse’s Hoof Stepped on a Flying Swallow is a treasure of Gansu Provincial Museum. Excavated in 1969 in Wuwei County, the piece depicts a vigorous horse with long tail waving and head perking. Its three hooves are in the air, galloping like lightening. What makes this sculpture amazing is the right back hoof of this galloping horse lands on the back of a small flying bird. The bird turns in surprise to look at the big creature on its back. At the same moment, the horse’s head also turns slightly in attempt to know what has happened. The whole statue is honored as the mysterious and rare treasure in the history of Chinese ancient sculpture art.

  • Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves

    Situated about 35 kilometers west of Yongjing County in Lanzhou city, Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves, also called Bingling Grottoes, is a famous religious attraction ranking the second after the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang in respect of artistic value. Bingling means “ten thousand Buddha” in the Tibetan language, thus the grottoes is well renowned for the Buddhist arts.

    Dating from about 420 AD to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves with Buddha statuaries and frescoes had been excavated in various dynastic eras, showing the different cultures, clothing and physical features of the worshipped gods. Buddhist culture coming from Central Asia along the Silk Road influenced the statues of Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves. As a result, the earliest statues are at the highest elevation with characteristic Indian-style features and artistic style. Carved in natural caves or hewn grottoes in a canyon along the Yellow River, Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves is the gem of Buddhist culture combined with Chinese civilization and wisdom.

    With 196 niches, 694 stone statues, 82 clay sculptures and some 900 square meters’ murals, Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves is of great historical and cultural value. Among the stone sculptures, the main characters are Sakyamuni, Kwan-yin, Amitayus Buddha, Maitreya Buddha. With elegant postures, solemn but peaceful facial expressions, the statues are vivid and magnificent.

    The earliest carvings at Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves were built about the year 420 AD in the Northern Wei Dynasties (368-534) in natural caves at the top of the grottoes site. The big Maitreya Buddha at the bottom near the water level of Yellow River was made during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) when Buddhism and monasteries became really influential in China. Among the caves, Cave No.169 is the representative. Made in the Northern Dynasties (386-581), Cave No.169 is the most imposing and delicate one which holds the clay sculptures of Kwan-yin, Dali Buddha (Dali means powerful strength in Chinese), etc. Kwan-yin has a peaceful expression showing the mercy to all, and Dali Buddha has a solemn expression, sitting with legs crossed. On its two sides stands Bodhisattvas with their hair bound, waving bare arms.

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