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[AsiaNet] The Extraordinary Journey of Chengdu, China
(CHENGDU, China, Sept. 28, 2019 AsiaNet=연합뉴스) Chengdu Wuhou Shrine is China's most renowned place of reverence for the heroes of Shu Han of the Three Kingdoms period, as well as the location of Liu Bei's tomb. According to records, after Liu Bei succumbed to his sickness at Baidicheng in 223AD, his coffin was transported back to Chengdu and buried here, which was historically known as the Hui Mausoleum.
More than 1,700 years have passed since then, and today, the area has risen as the most influential Three Kingdoms ruins museum in the world, and countless visitors arrive everyday to pay tribute. As the only shrine in China where lord and vassals are enshrined together, within the grounds of the shrine are a plethora of ancient ruins including the Hall of Liu Bei, Hall of Zhuge Liang and over 50 statues of the heroes of Shu Han, as well as more than 50 steles from the Tang dynasty and subsequent eras, along with some 70 sets of plaques and couplets.
Towering pines, verdant cypresses, red walls and bamboo shades, Wuhou Shrine is a succinct manifestation of Chengdu, a city of profound cultural heritage in western China. As one of the nation's oldest cities, Chengdu has a history of civilization of 4,500 years and is the cradle of the ancient Shu civilization.
Jinsha Ruins, situated in the northwestern part of Chengdu, is the most important ancient Shu civilization ruins in current existence. Since its discovery in 2001, a total of 2,235 pieces (sets) of cultural relics such as gold ware, bronze ware, jade ware, stone ware, lacquer ware, pottery and ivory have been unearthed.
Of this horde of excavated treasures, one piece stands out above all, and that is the Golden Sun Bird. An exquisitely crafted disc forged out of gold, its remarkable thickness of merely 0.02cm rivals paper-cutting artworks, while its timeless design exudes a sense of modernity and dynamism.
Today, the Golden Sun Bird lies silently within the Jinsha Ruins Museum, waiting for people to explore and imagine its past. Compared with its serenity, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System about 50km from Jinsha Ruins seem a bit more "active".
Anyone who has been to Dujiangyan is awed by its sheer show of magnificence. This massive irrigation engineering project constructed more than 2,200 years ago is today still the world's oldest, only existing and operational system of its kind.
Adjacent to Dujiangyan is Mount Qingcheng, one of the birthplaces of Taoism in China and a habitat of wild giant pandas. In 2000, Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System were together inducted into the list of World Cultural Heritage. Mount Qingcheng is the setting for the 2016 blockbuster Kung Fu Panda 3. Prior to shooting the film, Korean-American director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and her Hollywood production team visited Chengdu for inspirations, and other than Mount Qingcheng, they also toured the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding for an up close and personal observation of the giant pandas.
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is located in the eastern suburb of Chengdu and is currently home to 204 giant pandas, the largest captive-bred giant panda population in the world. To laud the tireless efforts devoted to the giant pandas protection, Chengdu has been dubbed by Chinese and foreign tourists alike as the "capital of the giant pandas". For Chengdu, the giant panda is not only an icon of the city, but also the cultural symbol of the city, as its leisurely habit is a perfect reflection of the Chengdu lifestyle.
Since 2009, Chengdu has been selected as the "Happiest City in China" for ten straight years by authoritative Chinese official organizations. Anyone who has been to Chengdu remembers the city most for its inclusiveness, and the culinary culture here is the most direct representation of Chengdu's inclusiveness.
Sichuan cuisine of China, Chengdu was named a "City of Gastronomy" by UNESCO as far back as 2010. According to Zhang Huiqiang, Director at the Chengdu Chuancais Museum (Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Museum), there are as many as 24 flavor profiles common in seasonings frequently used in Sichuan cuisine, which, when combined with the wide range of cooking and preparation methods, culminate in a myriad of tantalizing dishes.
Other than local Sichuan cuisine, foods from around the globe can also be found in Chengdu. According to the Chengdu Food and Catering Industry Survey Report, as of the end of December 2018, among the 3,112 dining establishments in Chengdu's 66 major urban complexes and shopping centers, venues that serve Sichuan foods account for 34.5% of total, while the remaining 65.5% are stores that offer other Chinese cuisines or foreign cuisines.
In Chengdu, even time follows a special "Chengdu" rule. The city's other side would have just woken up as night falls, and just like Seoul the "city that never sleeps," Chengdu's nighttime is just as robust.
From the bustling vendors by the street to classy and glitzy restaurants, in the cover of darkness diners unshackle themselves and dive into all the fine foods the city has to offer. After dinner, perhaps do a little window shopping, or real shopping, at the posh Taikoo Li pedestrian street, a low-density shopping area with fantastic night sceneries and the most upscale of its kind in Chengdu; or stroll around the bar street by Jiuyan Bridge, then call up a few friends for a drink or three while grooving to live music; or head to Hejiang Pavilion and hop on a cruise for breathtaking views of the glamour on the shores of the river; or even take a nighttime tour of cultural institutions, as Wuhou Shrine, Jinsha Ruins Museum and the like are now offering evening programs.
In China, people call Chengdu "a city where one does not want to leave". As a "famous historical and cultural city of China" and the "Best Tourism City in China," the unique charisma of Chengdu is the result of several thousand years of accumulation and integration. Come to Chengdu and you will find yourself naturally assimilating into the city, not wanting to leave, because Chengdu is a city where one does not want to leave!
Source: Chengdu Municipal People's Government
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