Spring’s cousin who is a teacher at a school for tourism took us in her car to visit some sights in and around Qu Zhou during my visit there.
Our first stop was a series of cave-like grottoes that have been uncovered. The origins of these man made caves are unclear. We are not sure who built them or how they were able to work in the dark. Modern explorers have tried to recreate conditions that these ancient people would have dealt with and decided that using torches would have sucked all the oxygen out of the room after only a few hours. There are depictions of four ancient Chinese gods crossing the water as well as other carvings of a dragon, a statue of a god and a depiction of the people in heaven.
Home of Confucius –
This began as a normal looking temple but behind the existing structure was a large housing unit for the descendants of Confucius. They would have lived on the grounds of the temple and taken care of the property and such. There were several statues of various famous descendants of his as well as relief sculptures depicting their journey to this location. The story tells of them coming across the water to settle in their current location, them missing their homeland, been granted special privilege by the emperor to visit the capital every three years and being placed in high government positions. Later these descendants receded their status and became common people so that today there are no living descendants that can trace their heritage back to Confucius.
The Historic Museum –
I saw my first Chinese dinosaur today. I guess I always knew that dinosaurs would have roamed the entire earth, but it was cool to see one that had been excavated from china. There were also exhibitions of ancient pottery of bronze, gold and porcelain (that we now call simply china).
We had the opportunity to go through a park that was really neat. It started as bamboo forest and a trail that led up through the woods. The air was so fresh and the sky was a clear blue, the first that I have seen since coming to China last fall. It took three hours to reach the top but the view was absolutely amazing.
Hydro-electric Plant –
As far as I could gather this is the first electricity plant powered by water that was built after the New China was created. It was all closed up for spring festival but I did manage to get a few pictures. There were some boats out back and the sun was just going down on the lake when we left. It was pretty cool.