|Name:Hangu Pass Tourism Area of Ancient Culture|
Tel:15km north of Lingbao City
15km away to the north of
75km away from
City, the place stands right on what is called the Old Path to Chang’an. Locked in the deep valleys beside which runs the
Yellow River, the place derived its name, Huangu (literally, a valley) Pass.
As one of the earliest fortresses built during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, Hangu Pass Stands between
Luoyang to the east and
Xi’an to the west. Its strategic importance has made it a bone of contention among militarists.
Covering an area of
16.5km², the attractions include
Garden of Taoists, the Depository of Scriptures, Zhanzi Pavillion, Jiming Terrace,
Forest, Wax Museum,
Tower, the Old Path of Hanguan and so on.
Pass is the birthplace of Taoism where Laozi, a great thinker and philosopher in ancient
China, had completed the Tao Te Ching, and a hub that connects Chang’an and
Luoyang. It is where the Culture of central
China converges with the Culture of Shaanxi and
Shanxi provinces. For thousands of years it has remained a strategic stronghold contended for by military commanders. Many historical stories and legends arose from this land. A person (Laozi), a book (Tao Te Ching) and a pass (
Pass) have made the place internationally well-known.
The Long-Standing Military Culture
Situated at the key area to Taolin Fortress and a strategic point on the Old Path of Yaohan,
Pass is said to have been the place where one man guarded the pass and ten thousand were barred. In 243, B.C, in the 6th year of the reign of Qinshihuangdi, the five states of Chu, Zhao, Wei, Han and Wei sent an army to attack the
Qin. It is recorded that at
Pass the alliance army suffered a defeat. In the war between the states of
Chu and Han, near the end of the Qin Dynasty, Liu Bang successfully withstood the attacks of Xiang Yu. During the Anshi Riot in the Tang Dynasty, the famous Taolin Battle took place before the pass. Two thousand years have passed since the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period and the pass has witnessed many wars and always remained a strategic place in history.
Profound Taoism Culture
Laozi, the great thinker, statesman, philosopher and writer of the late Spring and Autumn Period, is the founding father of Taoism as well as the torchbearer of various schools of learning in the Pre-Qing Period. The Tao Te Ching, his magnum opus, is a treasure in world literature. Since it came out, a research craze swept the country among the emperors and officials as well as the ordinary people. Partly estimated, there have been over 1,800 versions of the book. The impact was felt overseas in the 7th century with a Sanskrit version. In the 18th century, it was spread to Europe,
America and later around the world. Hegal, a German philosopher, pointed out that “another peculiar
Chinese philosophy”, is characterized by mental speculation. Tao, the main concept of its theory refers to rationality. Laozi is the man who fully promoted and developed this philosophy and the way of living related to this theory. Nietzsche pointed out that the book is like an exhaustless well full of treasures. Lower the bucket and you’ll get the water. Ronald Reagan, the former president of the U.S, quoted in the Address to the State of the
Union, a maxim by Laozi to illustrate his policies, which goes, governing a great state is like cooking a small fish that one can not always stir it. Taoism involves every aspect of Heaven, Earth and Mankind. Its original thoughts shine in all fields of politics, economy, military affairs, art, ethics and health.
Taoism study has become an international cultural phenomenon. There are more than 40 countries engaged in the study of the Tao Te Ching and the translation versions have reached 600 plus, among which 330 are in Japanese. The book was written in Hangu Pass and therefore it has become the birthplace of Taoism Culture.
Places of Historic Interests
Pass City Ruins
Archeological finding indicates the pass town is shaped as an irregular rectangle. The eastern walls stretch
1,800m long, the western walls
1,300m long and the southern walls
180m long. The location of the ruins roughly accords with historical records.
Old Path of Hangu
Starting from the eastern gate of Hangu Pass, it stretches across the town and into the west. The only east-west passage through Guogou, Huangheyu, Langpigou to Chousang, it is
15km long. The valleys are 50
-70m deep and
10m wide. In the narrow parts, it is only 2
-3m wide and the gradient basin ranges from 40 degrees to 80 degrees. At the bottom, there is a road winding into the distance. On each side of the path, the precipitous cliffs and peaks rise abruptly high into the sky, the sight of which fills the people on the road with awe.
Well-Structured Arrow Storehouse
Located down the corner on the right side of the eastern rampart, it is a well-structured arms depot with a diameter of
0.9m. In July, 1986, it was discovered to be an arrow storehouse of the local garrison. Shaped like a water-retention well, bunches of arrows were placed there, which occupied a space of
1m³. The arrow heads are made of copper and the shafts of iron. Owing to rust, the arrows couldn’t be separated from each other. This storehouse provides important evidence for the study of military weaponry of the Warring States Period.
The palace is located on the right side of the eastern pass gate. Legend has it that Yinxi welcomed Laozi at Hangu Pass and served him as a master. At his request, Laozi completed the Tao Te Ching here. This great work has had an enormous impact on later times. In memory of this event, the Taichu Palace was built at the place where Laozi wrote the book. It was once a Taoist temple.
With classical architecture in the palace style, it was built during the West Zhou Dynasty. On the edges of ridges and gables are carved vivid patterns of rare birds and beasts such as unicorns, lions, tigers, roosters, dogs and so on. In the palace, there is a network of rafters and beams crossing overhead. In this spacious area, no columns could be seen. According to historical records, the present Taichu Palace was built before the Tang Dynasty and renovations have been made through the Yuan, the Ming and the Qing dynasties. There are now two steles preserved, on which are recorded the story of Laozi passing by Hangu Pass on a blue bull. One was erected in the fourth year of Emperor Dade of Yuan Dynasty and the other in the reign of Emperor Shunzhi of Qing Dynasty.
The Hangu Stele Forest
The place stretches
100m long from north to south and
40m long east to west. With an area of
4,000m², there are now 62 steles preserved here, among which are steles of Tang and Song dynasties, the memorial stele for Yang Zhongsi, the elder brother of Imperial Concubine Yang of the Tang Dynasty and so on. Besides, new steles have been erected by contemporary and modern calligraphers, on which are the inscriptions of literary works related to Hangu Pass.
15km north of Lingbao City.