Snapshot of authenticity
Updated: 2015-07-18 08:12
By Liu Lu(China Daily)
Photo by Liu Lu / China Daily
Start your tour by climbing the Huaguanglou, the old watchtower near the Jialing River and an old city gate, which offers a fantastic bird's view of the grey, tiled roofs of the old siheyuan (Chinese traditional courtyard house), the river and the surrounding countryside.
Next, you could visit another important destination in the town, the Zhang Fei Temple, which holds the tomb of the legendary general from the Three Kingdoms era (AD 220-280). If you want to explore the history of the Three Kingdoms, or if you are a fan of the Chinese classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, this is the best place.
Located on the western streets of Langzhong, it was built 1,700 years ago to worship the great general. The original temple was razed by a fire, and it was rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty. The present temple was rebuilt in 1870, after a flood destroyed the previous one.
Now, it is a quadrangle courtyard surrounded by many buildings and pavilions where relics are kept. Inside the temple, there are many pictures and statues depicting the hero's life.
Another must-see in the town is Gongyuan, or the Imperial Examination House, which is China's biggest imperial examination museum and the better-preserved of the only two remaining imperial examination halls in the country.
China has a long history of imperial examinations, which can be traced back to more than 1,300 years ago. Before the final examination in the capital city, examinees had to take regional examinations, and only those who passed could proceed to sit for it. The examination lasted for days, so examination houses were specially built for the examinees to stay for the duration.
You will likely come upon some small teahouses, cafes, or tourist shops selling arts and crafts, as well as local culinary specialties, such as the famous Zhangfei Beef, Baoning Vinegar (Baoning was another name for Langzhong used during the Yuan and Ming dynasties. The vinegar is brewed from rice and maize, which is often drunk as a beverage by locals and said to have curative properties). There are also sweet steamed buns and liquor.
If you have still some energy left, you should take a ferry to the other side of the river, where there are a couple of interesting sites. One of them is the Dafosi, a Tang dynasty temple built into the rock housing a 10-meter-high statue of the Buddha. There are also pavilions with impressive carvings to enrich your knowledge about the town's long history.
For accommodation, there are many kezhan, or guesthouses, set in traditional houses with inner courtyards that are situated in the heart of the town.
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