Friday, December 26, 2014

The Holy Land of China

While some people may consider "Confucianism" a religion, I believe it is mainly a philosophy. Nonetheless, it has a strong influence on peoples beliefs and way of life in China.

Confucius was born in a city that is only an hour away from Jinan (where I reside) so a few colleagues and I paid a visit to gain a greater understanding for the "great sage" or "the first teacher".

Confucius lived during the Warring States period in China (500 BC) so his philosophy speaks towards creating a harmonious society. He emphasized the importance of family, study and morality. He thought that political leaders should come to power based on their moral merit and stressed virtues and etiquette.

When the Communist Party took control in 1949 they denounced Confucianism and any other religion.

However the Confucianism ideology is the basis for Chinese society--even though the people are (for the most part) not religious, Chinese people believe morality and having good virtue is very important. That's why Qufu, his birthplace can be regarded as a "Holy Land"

The inner city is pretty small and is completely surrounded by a city wall. Confucius' temple and house takes up about 1/5 of the entire walled city.

Pictures outside of the wall: 

Apparently Qufu is the #1 tourist sight in China (hmmm not so sure I'd agree...)

For such a small city, the roads were well paved and the infrastructure was well taken care of. It appeared like a lot of time went into the landscaping and the visual appearance

The first sight we saw was the Confucius Temple
This probably says welcome to the tourist destination--the "Confucius Temple, Confucius Home, Confucius Forest"

This sign talks about the six virtues that Confucius considered important. Confucius thought that leaders and heads of state should be virtuous

A wine cauldron 

This is the pavilion where Confucius taught a number of students

Tablets were everywhere from various emperors 

Apparently this tree is 1000 years old

Teaching pavilion--the architecture is the same as the Forbidden City 

Many of the buildings burnt down and then were rebuilt 

Confucian Temple

Mythical creatures on the side of the roof--the animals represent the importance of the building

As soon as you walk out of the temple, tourist stands are everywhere

Confucius! Kong zi in Chinese

Tourist group of primary school students 

A table and seats for tea

Beautiful painting on the ceiling 

Inside the city walls, there is one main road that passes by the temple and the house of Confucius. The forest is about 2 kilometers from the city wall--so you can walk or find transportation there.

Confucian garbage cans 

This is the bell tower right in the center of the city

These are a type of turnip (I think) and taste like a radish. 
Typical tourist snack in Qufu

Next up I visited the forest where Confucius is buried 

It is the largest cemetery in China--many of his ancestors are buried in the forrest 

Some mythical creatures guarding the grave. Im not sure what they are or what they represent

This was one of Confucius' ancestors. I wonder why his burial sight is so much more extravagant than the others. 

Some burial sites had gravestones, some did not. You can tell the importance of the person depending on the size of the mound and the size of the gravestone. 

After walking around for a while I got a little creeped out that I was surrounded by so many dead people. But the forest was absolutely beautiful and so peaceful. 

After leaving the forest there were food stands and tourist stands everywhere. 

This is an egg pancake

Some archery 

Hand painted crafts

Im not sure what these are--some kind of stone. People where cleaning them and selling them everywhere

Within the city walls there are maybe 2 hotels. I decided to stay at the Qufu Youth Hostel which was well located and very comfortable. 

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