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China Daily trip to Shanxi.

Popularity 19Viewed 5612 times 2015-6-3 17:43 |Personal category:Travelling|System category:Life| China, Shanxi, travelling, Pingyao

The Chinese people believe in fate, or yuanfen, as they call it. It is the yuanfen that bring people together and separate them, the chances of getting a job or entering a university is also a matter of yuanfen, and it is fate when we visit certain places, according to the wise easterners. I have heard about Shanxi province before, as the names like Wutaishan, Pingyao and Datong are very famous around China and if someone is a little bit interested in the Chinese culture, also should have heard them.

I was granted a chance to visit Shanxi in the format of the China Daily program “Shanxi  in the eyes of the foreigners”, 与山西结缘了. The program lasted 5 days – from the 25th of May to 29th of May. Among around 500 applicants, only 16 lucky participants were selected and on the morning of the 25th we embarked on a journey to the land, well, not a very remote one, to the historical roots of China, travel back  to  5000 year ago, where the history is still and well-preserved.

We hoped on a bullet train from Beijing to Taiyuan with the Beijing participants and China Daily crew members. Thanks to Gireesh, one of the participants and an Indian restaurant owner, we escaped the chance of having sandwiches for lunch and had fine Indian food instead.

 

 

Upon arrival, we met with the other foreign participant from other provinces, and went to the briefing in the staying hotel with Beijing and Shanxi China Daily authorities and local Touristic Bureau authorities where we were  told  about the program agenda and where we were introduced to each other. After the meeting  was over, we were invited to the opening dinner to a gorgeous restaurant in Taiyuan where it was difficult distinguish between the art masterpiece and food, so skillfully the food was prepared. The noodles performance was shown at the dinner closing. Apropos Shanxi noodles are famous all over China.

 

 

 

 

 

For the second day we visited Jinci Temple in Taiyuan city. It was built about 400 AD in memory of Shu Yu, a legendary prince who lived during the Western Zhou Dynasty. But the biggest draw was awaiting us in the afternoon, the ancient town of Pingyao, where the history seems frozen. The Chinese policy aimed at demolishing old establishing new did not destroy the culture relics here, and it is preserved by UNSECO. The locals say Pingyao town is tortoise shaped with its six gates and a massive city wall. Tortoise is a symbol of harmony in China, probably that’s why the town successfully survived the reforms. Pingyao is a typical example of a Chinese town from the Ming and Qing Dynasty.The first “Wall street” was  founded in Pingyao, we well as the first bank. So, in its heyday, Shanxi was a rather prosperous province with a very developed  financial sector, like modern Shanghai. According to our guide, nowadays Pingyao still possesses its unique cultural genuineness. But still, it is a very touristic place. You can see a plethora of souvenir stalls, massage salons, cafes, even a few bars.

 

(Image courtesy of Yasha)

 

(image courtesy of Yasha)

 

Our third day started with a 4-hour road trip to Changzhi, a very cultural and full of legends city. The Chinese chengyu “愚公移山” or 牛郎织女” originated in this area. Taihang Mountains are located in Huguan county of Changzhi city, and present a wonderful view themselves. I was very impressed by our hotel as it was in the mountains. It should be said that the temperature there is much lower than in the city and rains from time to time.

 

(Image courtesy of Dave Randin)

 

The next destination was Wangmang Mountains and the Cliff Road in Xiyagou. The mountains were not always named Wangmang. Their first name was Turtle Mountains due to the shape of one of its cliffs. This place was named after Wangmang who had the ambitions to become an emperor, and that place was the battlefield for him and Liu Xiu, that is how the mountains got their name. We came home very late and worked up enough appetite went for dinner. The visit of Royal Residence scheduled for that day was postponed until  the next day, as everyone was tired and the weather was getting cold and the rain  was drizzling.

 

(Image courtesy of Yasha)

 

(Image courtesy of Will)

 

Finally we were shown the performance of the Qing dynasty, strolled along the Royal Residence and bid farewell to that wonderful place.

 

 

Shanxi can be described in three words: cultural, historical and unique. I want to express my gratitude to the organizers, Mr. Sun Rui Sheng and all the participants with whom we spent five unforgettable days.


(Image courtesy of Yasha)

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report dearlu 2016-9-13 12:21
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