Xuzhou is located in the northwest of Jiangsu province¬only 300 kilometers away from Nanjing, the provincial capital of Jiangsu.
Xuzhou has a mild climate with distinct seasons. Plains form the most part of Xuzhou alternating with hilly lands. Yi River, Shu River , the Grand Canal and the earlier course of Huanghe River all run through the city while Luoma Lake and Weishang Lake are scattered on the southern and northern fringes of the city.
The original name of Xuzhou is °Pengcheng±, with 6000-year splendid culture. During the time of Emperor Yao, Dapeng State was established here. It has a 2500-year city building history, and is one of the first cities in Jiangsu Province. Xuzhou was one of the nine states under the rule of Emperor Yu of the Xia Dynasty( 21 century B.C.) when he was in charge of the regulation of rivers and watercourses. At that time Xuzhou was a name for an wide area, in which Pengcheng functioned as the center town.
Xuzhou used to be in the territory of Chu State in the Qin and Han Dynasties. It was the capital of Xichu during the time of warfare between General Xiang Yu and General Liu Bang . After Liu¯s success it became the fief of his relatives for hundreds of years afterwards. In the late Eastern Han Dynasty, Cao Cao ( the chancellor at that time) assigned a prefectural governor to administer Pengcheng and this was the first time the present name Xuzhou was used. The city was officially set up in 1945 after which it came under the direct control of Jiangsu Province. The city nowadays has jurisdiction over four counties of Fengxian, Peixian, Tongshan, Suining , two county-class cities of Pizhou and Xinyi, and five districts of Yunlong, Gulou, Quanshan, Jiuli and Jiawang. It covers an area of 11,258 square kilometers (963 square kilometers as the urban area) with the total population of more than 8 millions(1.5 million the urban residents).
Tourist and historical Sights
Transportation and Traveling Route
I. Tourist and historical Sights
Xuzhou is the hometown of Emperor Liu Bang, the founder of Han Dynasty. Liu Bang bestowed the title of Prince of Chu on his younger brother Liu Jiao and chose Xuzhou as the capital of Chu State. For hundreds of years afterwards the Chu State of Western Han Dynasty was ruled by Liu¯s descendants and the rich and precious cultural heritage of Han Dynasty which has been preserved, reveals to us the economic prosperity and social stability at that age. Differently-constructed tombs, lifelike stone sculptures, and vivid terracotta warriors and horses are well-known °Three Treasures of Han Dynasty±.
1. Tombs of Han Dynasty
The Tortoise Hill Tomb
The Tortoise Hill Tomb is the tomb for Liu Zhu and his wife, the sixth Prince and Princess of Chu State. It is 83 meters long and 33 meters wide, covering an area of more than 700 square meters, and consists of 15 tomb chambers. Everything needed in daily life is found in the bedroom, dinning room, stable and kitchen which can still be seen in what is essentially a splendid under ground palace.
The construction of the tomb is a matter of wonder since the tomb was dug from two opposite directions and joined inside the middle of the hill. It is hard to understand how the builders at that time calculated so precisely (with the maximum deviation of 5 millimeters) without any modern equipment. Every passage of the tomb is blocked up by 26 blocks of stone, each of which is as heavy as 6 or 7 tons. Such a carefully dug and polished gigantic tomb project is a superb piece of art and a tribute to ancient Chinese craftsmen.
The Lion Hill Tomb
The tomb is for Liu Wu, the third Prince of Chu who lived in the early Western Han Dynasty. The construction of the tomb was such a great project that 5100 cubic meters of stone were dug out to creat this queerly structured gigantic tomb. It is grand and stately with big chambers which contained 2000 pieces of the precious cultural relics made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, jade, stone and lacquer. The terracotta warriors and horses discovered 300 meters away to the west fepresent the army forces protecting the tomb. The excavation of the tomb was listed as one of china¯s top-ten archaeological discoveries in 1995 and has been highly praised for its grand and extensive Han characteristics.
The Baidong Hill Tomb
The tomb lies in a village, northly 10 kilometers from Xuzhou. It is built out of the stones at the foot of a hill. The tomb passage is 60 meters long with 26 main and side chambers, including bedrooms, sitting rooms, dinning rooms, bathroom, barn, kitchen, toilet and even a well. The tomb covers an area of over 5,000 square meters, with the largest chamber of 46.5 square meters. The tomb appears to be a magnificent palace with all the walls, the ceilings, the floors and the corridors painted with presevative moisture-proof cinnabar powder, which was rarely used in underground buildings 2000 years ago.
2. The Stone Sculpture of Tombs of Han Dynasty
Stone sculptures are typical decorative patterns in the tombs of Han Dynasty. So far, more than 20 tombs with stone sculptures have been discovered in Xuzhou, among which Maocun and Baiji Tombs are famous. The substantial contents and superb techniques demonstrated in the stone sculptures make them very special.
Baiji Tomb is a tomb with typical stone sculpture It is located in Baiji village in Jiawang District, and consists of three parts --- the tomb, the cultural relics exhibition building and the stone sculptures gallery. It covers an area of 832 square meters. Unlike other tombs found in Xuzhou area it was constructed on a normal axis. The front, the middle and the back chambers were built on the ground first and then buried in the earth.
The most valuable items in the tomb are the sculptures engraved on the chamber walls. The figures are vivid and varied. They are the fruit of exquisite workmanship. From the sculptures, a great deal can be learned about the people¯s religious beliefs, their philosophy, and the aesthetic standards at that time. The discovery of the tomb also contributes significantly to the study of politics, economy and culture of that society and provides a substantial evidence for the researchers of sculpture and paintings in buildings of that ancient time.
Maocun Tomb is situated in the north of Phoenix hill of Maocun village, about 12 kilometers north of Xuzhou. The great artistic and archaeological value of the tomb is in its intact tomb chambers and elegant engravings. The tomb consists of eight chambers, with 18 huge sculptures in front and middle chambers which described the imaginative fairyland as well as the luxurious life at the time when the tomb master lived. Both the light engraving skills and the lifelike figures represent a fairly high artistic level.
3. Gallery of Stone sculptures of Han Dynasty
Xuzhou is the place where most of stone sculptures of Han Dynasty have been found, and up to now more than 700 sculpture stones have been unearthed. With an area of 10,000 square meters, Xuzhou Gallery of Stone Sculptures of Han Dynasty is a complex of buildings in the Han-Tang-style. It is a special museum established to collect, display and study the stone sculptures of Han Dynasty, with more than 500 precious sculpture stones preserved. From the sculptures, we can see not only the rich people¯s rejoicing in fairyland and luxury in mortal life, but also the common people¯s work and life. A visit to Gallery of Stone Sculptures of Han Dynasty will be like traveling in the historic painted corridor where inspiration, knowledge and artistic treat can be obtained.
4. Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Han Dynasty
The Xuzhou Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Han Dynasty, is another significant discovery after Xian Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Dynasty. As the funerary objects of Prince of Chu, more than 4000 pieces of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses have been unearthed and with vivid expression and bold outline, they are of high artistic value. The Xuzhou Museum of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Han Dynasty is built on the original site of the discovery, occupying an area of 20,400 square meters. Clay figures of warriors of various forms are laid in an orderly manner inside six pits representing an underground army full of power and grandeur.
5. Peixian County -The Cradle for Celebrities Throughout History
As the birthplace of Liu Bang( the first Emperor of Han Dynasty), Peixian County boasts a long history and splendid cultural heritage and is known as °the cradle of celebrities± throughout history.
Han Palace with an area of 66 hectares in the center of the Peixian town, is composed of large-scale Han-style architecture and includes Han Royal Park, Han Street, The Temple Of Liu Bang, and Singing Terrace.The magnificent Singing Terrace with the double-eaved roof and flying attic reminds us of Liu Bang¯s singing, °Gale blows with the scudding cloud, I come back home with wide fame. Where will I find brave men to guard my land?±
6. Han Palace in Xuzhou---- CCTV Television Base
This is a group of Han-style buildings located in the ancient battle field of Jiuli Hill, occupying an area of 160,000 square meters, where more than ten performances such as °Grand Ceremony at Han Palace±, and °King Mustering Troops±, are shown every day at regular hours, demonstrating the impressive and dignified manner of the grand battle field scenes of strong cavalry and marching troops.
7. Yunlong Hill and Yunlong Lake
The earlier course of Huanghe River winds through the city and the Great Canal flows by it. Yunlong Lake, with its clear water, looks like a bright pearl inlaid in the southern suburb of the city.
Yunlong scenic spot is located in the south of Xuzhou, with a body of water of 5.8 square kilometers, and a land area of 5.6 square kilometers. The lake is surrounded by green hills. Along the green lake bank, one can see extraordinary splendor through all of the four seasons: peach flowers and willows in the spring; red pomegranate in the summer; maple trees in the autumn; and plum blossom against white snow in winter.
The Yunlong Lake area includes various scenic spots including °Aquatic world±, °Binghu Park±, °Swimming Pool±, °lotus Isles ±, °Apricot Flowers Garden ±, °Husan Gallery±, °Botanic Garden± and °Jinshan Tower±.
Binhu Park is like a green corridor providing shade for the residents nearby. Skillfully combined here is motion and stillness; natural and artificial craft; green garden and European style architecture, offering artistic taste as well as exotic flavor.
Situated on the island in the center of the lake is the Aquatic World with its modern building shaped like a whale diving.. Here are displayed more than 150 rare species of fish from 35 countries and districts.
Composed of nine hilltops, Yunlong Hill (cloud-dragon) got its name from the fact that it looks like a dragon wriggling in the clouds. It is verdant and luxuriant with big pines and cypresses providing shade from the sun, and is dotted with terraces and pavilions in between the hills. Su Shi, the famous poet in the Song Dynasty once wrote about the splendid scenery of Yunlong Hill in his On Fanghe Pavilion (the Pavilion where the crane was set free) °When the spring turns into summer, green grass and trees stretch into the far horizon; while in autumn and snowy winter, whiteness covers everything. On the hill top wet and windy, dark and bright I overlook the constant change,± Su Shi wrote. There are many tourist interests on top of Yunlong Hill, such as Fanghe Pavilion, Stone Bed of Su shi, Xinghua Temple, Buddha Temple, Woniu Fountain, Yunlong Academy, and Guanjing Terrace.
Fanghe Pavilion was built by Zhang Tianji in 1078 (Song Dynasty). Zhang Tianji called himself the Hermit of Yunlong. He built a pavilion on the top of Yunlong and bred two cranes. When Su Shi was the local governor in Xuzhou, he became a good friend of Zhang and wrote his famous essay °On Fanghe Pavilion± to praise Zhang¯s free life and beautiful scene from the top of Yunlong Hill The inscription of the essay is now set up beside the pavilion.
Originally named Stone Buddha Temple and built in the Tang Dynasty about 1300 years ago, Xinghua Temple has survived several dynasties. It is known for the °Giant Buddha inside the temple of three rows of bricks±. The 11 meter high Stone Statue of Buddha carved in the time of the Northern Wei Dynasty( ), is enshrined and worshipped inside the magnificent Daxiong Hall. The hind wall of the hall is built on the cliff, with the three rows of bricks from the rafters so giving it the name of °Giant Buddha inside the temple of three rows of bricks±. Inside the temple the inscriptions of the Tang Dynasty are recorded on the cliff face..
Yunlong Academy of Classical Learning
In 1721 A. D, Sun Guoyu, the assistant magistrate in charge of Xuzhou and the Huihe River area, set up a school here. Fourteen years later, the magistrate of Xuzhou converted it into an academy of classical learning, and named it Yunlong Academy of Classical Learning. Its architecture was of the royal style of the early Qing Dynasty. The academy was damaged after the Revolution of 1911 and what remains today are the Bird-view Pavilion, the Intoxicating Rock Pavilion, the Stone Bed of Su Shi (1037-1101, the famous statesman and man of letter of the Northern Song Dynasty), and the inscriptions on precipices of the Huangmao Hill.
The Buddha Temple
The temple was established in 1719 A. D. under the instruction of Jiang Chao, the then magistrate of Xuzhou. It was originally intended as the monastery for the monks. When the ground was dug to lay the foundation for the monastery, a huge block of rock was unearthed. Jiang Chao instructed the craftsmen to carve it into a Buddha statue. It happened that in the midst of the crude rock there was a white vein, girdling around the waist of the figure, thus the statue was named Buddha of Jade Sash, and the temple called Buddha Temple. In the yard the two shadowy ancient cypresses are more than 200 years old.
The Woniu (the lying ox) Fountain, first built in the Qing Dynasty, is a spring naturally formed by the rain and spring water from the hills, and is named thus for the huge rock beside it looks like an ox at rest. The pond is about 30 meters long, 6 meters wide, and 5 meters deep. The Bridge of the Three Righteous lies across the pond, with a shapely arch. The railings are carved out of black slabs with elaborate traditional Chinese patterns. To the east of the bridge is the stone tablet devoted to the Three Righteous.
Situated on the third hilltop, the terrace rests against Yunlong Hill, whose architecture is simple, splendid and stately. From the terrace the whole city can be viewed and in the evening, with the neon-lights on, it looks as if the terrace sits in a demi-paradise.
The Cable-way and the Sliding Course of Yunlong Hill
The cable-way of Yunlong Hill is 1200 meters in length, and the sliding course 1000 meters. Both run along Yunlong Hill to the enchanting waterfronts of Yunlong Lake. It is a stimulating adventure to view the hills and lake by cable-way and sliding course.
8. Quanshan Forest Park
Covering an area of over1334 hectares, the park boasts luxuriant woods and rich biological resources of over 590 plants and 200 animal species. In the park, the harmonious mingling of such various elements as the exquisite crags, alluring lake scenes, lush woods and slender bamboo bushes, wild vegetation and animal life, form delightful and interesting pictures. The chief spots of attraction are the Stone Sheep Hill, the Fairyland, the Garden of Gingko, the Garden of Peony, and the Vale of Vine and Rattan.
9. Peng-yuan Park
Located in the southern suburb of Xuzhou, Peng-yuan Park is surrounded by verdant hills and clear water with an area of about 40 hectares. The park is established to honor Pengzu, the legendary founder of Xuzhou. As an important component of the Yunlong scenic belt, it boasts a tranquil and graceful environment and exquisite views including a zoo, a garden of Japanese cherry trees, the Jingwu Lake, the amusement park, and the forest area. Every year in the park, the statue of Pengzu, DaPeng Pavilion and other beautiful sights attract huge numbers of tourists.
10. Yunlong Park
Adjacent to Yunlong Hill in the east, Yunlong Park covers an area of about 24 hectares. The park has adopted a garden layout imitating natural formation. There are 6 scenic areas, including Bonsai Garden, Spring Isle, Lotus Pavilion on the Water, the Rockery with Flower Arcade, the Flower Nursery and Amusement Park. Famous historic sites such as the Swallow Mansion and the Tomb of the mother of Wang Ling ( a grand minister of the early Han Dynasty) remain here. The Swallow Mansion, located in the Spring Isle is one of the five well-known mansions from ancient Xuzhou. Legend has it that Miss Guan Panpan, the famed courtesan of the Tang Dynasty used to live here. Bai Juyi, the famous statesman and poet (772---846) wrote about it in a poem, °The eve of forest and snow in the Swallow Mansion/ Seems endless in autumn just for the missed dear one.±
11. Memorial Park of Huaihai Campaign
Covering 770 square meters with a parterre, a square and a lake, the park includes five main parts: Cenotaph to Martyrs, Memorial of the Campaign, Statue of the Five Generals, National Defense Education Museum, and Steles.
Cenotaph to Martyrs of Huaihai Campaign
Facing to the south, the Cenotaph is situated on the slope of the hill, standing in the axes of the park with a height of 38.15 meters. The gold-plating inscriptions by Chairman Mao are set in the front of the cenotaph, which is enclosed by cloisters and pavilions. In the marble wall of the south and north cloisters, the inscriptions by the leaders and the names of the martyrs are engraved. The relief sculptures on the base of the cenotaph depicts the grand scenes of the battlefields of the Huaihai Campaign.
12. Xima Terrace
Xima terrace is one of the earliest historic sites in Xuzhou. In 206 BC, the great hero, General Xiang Yu crowned himself King of Xichu and chose Pencheng ( the original name of Xuzhou) as the capital. For horse sports and to inspect soldiers drilling he had a terrace constructed, which was later named Xima Terrace (horse sporting terrace).
On the terrace, some buildings were constructed, including Magistrate Temple, Three Righteous Temple, Jukuishan House, and Stele Pavilion. After renovation, Xima Terrace became a tourist attraction with red walls, yellow tiles, carved beams and painted pillars.
13. Joyful Pavilion Park
Originally Constructed in 1077, Joyful Pavilion was rebuilt in 1989. It stands in the center of the park surrounded by long corridors. There are parterres, Taihu stones, various plants and flowers dotted throughout the park. The name of the pavilion came from °the Ode to the Joyful Wind± written by Su Shi, a great poet in the Song Dynasty. In 1077, he became the governor of Xuzhou. He often invited his friends to summer in the park. Once he composed the poem: ®How joyful the wind is, even the virtuous men are delighted . Though I can not share happiness with my people, I can enjoy the wind with my friends¯.
14. Huang Tower
Erecting by the bank of the earlier course of Huanghe River is a double-floored archaize tower that was renovated in 1988. In 1078 Su Shi, the governor of Xuzhou, had Huang Tower built on the then east gate of Xuzhou City in memory of their success in resisting a big flood that summer. Since earth can prevent water, the tower was smeared with yellow earth, by which the tower got the name of Huang Tower ( yellow tower). Among inscriptions of the steles inside the tower, the most famous is° Ode to Huang Tower±, composed by Su Zhe, Su Shi¯s brother, also a well-known poet then. °Enjoying moon on the Huang Tower± is one of the eight historically popular sights in Xuzhou.
15. Baiyun Cave
Located on the west apex of Jiuli Hill, north of Xuzhou, Baiyun Cave is a grotto, formed about 400,000 years ago. There are more than 30 different caves, in which people can see stalactites of grotesque shapes and appearance. Every winter and spring, the mysterious white mists will fly from the caves. To the west of Baiyun caves is the grand Buddhist temple--Baiyun Temple, constructed in Tang Dynasty in a plain and elegant style.
Covering an area of 12000 square meters, the Xuzhou Museum is situated on the north slope of Yunlong Hill, a beautiful scenic spot in the city. The museum sits in the original site of the temporary imperial palace of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty(1736 ~ 1795).Lots of exquisite cultural relics of the Han Dynasty are exhibited in the Xuzhou Museum, among which most valuable are the jade clothes interwoven with silver threads, the gild beast inkstone and copper bull lamp.
2. Folk Customs Museum
Southeast of the Hubu Hill in the center of the city is the Folk Customs Museum composed of 150 rooms in the Ming-Qing styles, which have survived hundreds of years. In the museum folk customs are shown in folk house decoration, folk handcrafts, folk music and dramas, traditional life styles and marriage customs. Here you can enjoy tea or play chess and cards. Moreover, the services of traditional marriage and birthday celebration ceremonies are also provided.
III. Folk Customs
1. Folk Art
Xuzhou Folk art, such as childrens¯ paintings in Suining, peasants¯ paintings and paper-cutting in Pizhou, is nationally popular and includes the work of folk artists of high attainment. Lovely attractions are handicrafts of carvings, kites, straw products, embroidery, and wood-block New Year pictures. Here you can see a wonderful toy world: clay toys, wood toys, cloth toys, sugar figures, flour figures and a variety of huopo tables (an intelligence toy for children).
Bangzi and Liuqin are two kinds of local operas, which are popular among local people as well as theater-goers from other places.
2. Yunlong Hill Fair
Lunar February 19 is Yunlong Hill Fair Day which started about 300 years ago. The Buddha Statue carved on the huge block of rock had attracted many a worshiper and soon a regular fair appeared at the foot of Yunlong Hill. Every fair day, the fair is crowded with pilgrims, fair-goers , kite-flyers and vendors. It¯s full of local culture and entertainments like folk dance performance, traditional handicrafts and snacks of local flavour.
3. Chinese-chess Village
Qijia Village in Pizhou County is well-known for Chinese-chess. For a long time, peasants there liked to get-together to play Chinese-chess in their slack season. There even little children are good players. The villagers not only play chess for a pastime but attend competitions outside the village as well. Like other game fans they often invite nearby players to their village to discuss the art of Chinese-chess.
4. The home of Martial Arts
Peixian County is famous across China as the home of martial arts, where hundreds of thousands of people practise martial arts. So it¯s not strange that a housewife plays single whip in her backyard. It is not unusual to see little boys playing wood swords on their way to school. Here almost any man in the street can teach you something about martial arts.
IV. Local Food
Xuzhou has a long history in gourmet culture. Pengzu, the founder of Dapeng State, is considered as the originator of Chinese cooking. The legend is that in the reign of Emperor Yao (prehistorical age), Pengzu was granted a fief for his fine cooking of wild chicken soup. Pengzu set up Dapeng State in the present Xuzhou area. Xuzhou cooking carries forward the traditional Pengzu style with fine craftsmanship and local flavour. A special feature of Xuzhou cooking is that each dish has its own tale or legend. Let¯s take Fish in Lamb Chunks for example. This is a famous stewed dish, in which fish is put inside lamb chunks. It tells that Xiding, the youngest son of Pengzu loved fishing, but his father didn¯t allow him to go fishing for fear that he would drown. One day when Xiding came back from fishing, afraid that his father would scold him, he begged his mother to chop the dewing lamb into chunks to hide the fish inside. When Pengzu came back for dinner, he was surprised to find the lamb extraordinarily delicious. That¯s how the delicacy of fish in lamb chunks came into being. It happens that °Ê±the Chinese character for °delicious ± is a combination of fish and lamb. The left half is fish, the right lamb.
V. Local produce
Among various produce in Xuzhou, the most popular are apples in Fengxian County, rare winter peaches in Peixian County, ginkgo nuts in Pizhou. Vegetables like niupang and dried taicai sell well throughout China, and crunchy candies are enjoyed both by children and adults.
Xuzhou is historically called the cross-road of five provinces. Now it has a complete transportation system of air, rail, highways and waterways, which brings great convenience to travelers and business people. Here cross Longhai and Jinpu railways. sixteen trains are available to Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities and Guanyin Airport provides airline service to more than ten big cities in China.