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LUOYANG, a major city in Henan province with a total population of 6 million, is known as the "city of peonies," that every year in the mid of April, the peonies festival would attract many visitors from all over the country and abroad, who come not only for the peony flower show, but also for the famous business trade fair. Luoyang is situated in the center of ancient China and on the north bank of the Luo River. As far back as the Neolithic Era, the area was well populated. The capital of the bronze-age Shang Dynasty was in the present-day Anyang, and then in the 11th century B.C., one of the Zhou kings made his temporary capital at Luoyi near
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Luoyang. Since the new China set up in 1949, the city has grown into an important industrial center with machine-building works, chemical factories, textile plants, glass works and a large tractor factory. It becomes well known by the tourists due to the Longmen Grottoes, which is one of the three most famous grottoes in China. The rest two are Yungang Grottoes in Datong and the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang.

The Longmen Grottoes

About eight miles south of Luoyang on the Yi River, at a spot where high cliffs on either side form a pass, is a caved area once known as the "Gate of Yi River", which later became known as Longmen, the Dragon Gate. Craftsmen began works on Buddhist grottoes in 494 AD when an emperor of the Northern Wei dynasty moved the capital from what is now known as Datong in Shanxi Province to Luoyang. The artistry is therefore an extension from Datong. The work at Longmen proceeded through seven dynasties, and in more than 1,300 caves, there are 40 small pagodas, and almost 100,000 Buddha statues ranging in size from one inch to 57 feet. These caves and the stone sculptures contain rank with the caves at Yungang and Dunhuang as the great remaining masterpieces of Buddhist culture in China. The Longmen Grottoes is one of the most attractive tourist scenic spots in China and many people come specially to visit this great Buddhist works.

White Horse Temple

White Horse Temple, ( Baimasi in Chinese) is located 12 km away from Luoyang City, the capital of Henan province. Established by the Han Dynasty in 68 AD when Buddhism started to be introduced into China. According to historical records, Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 - 220 AD) once sent his minister on a diplomatic mission to western region to learn about Buddhism. After finished study, they came back with two eminent Indian dignitary monks - She Moteng and Zhu Falan, and a white horse carried the sutra and the figure of Buddha. In order to memorialize the white horse's contribution of taking back the sutra, Emperor Ming ordered the construction of the temple and named it White Horse Temple.
White Horse Temple was regarded as the "originating court" and the "cradle of Chinese Buddhism" by the Buddhist disciples. It was rebuilt for several times, in which the restoration durin
g the reign of Emperor Wu Zetian was especially notable in its large scale. Today's White Horse Temple is a rectangle courtyard facing south. The gate of the White Horse Temple was built in Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and it is three arches side by side. Covering a total area of 40, 000 square meters, the temple mainly consists of Tianwang Hall, or Hall of Heavenly King, Great Buddha Hall, Daxiong Hall or Hall of Great Hero, Jieyin Hall, Qingliang Terrace and Pilu Pavilion, which are all distributing along the north-south central axis. The White Horse Temple is one of the major tourist programs and the most famous historical site in Luoyang.


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