Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province. The city has a very ancient history. The first settlements in this area date back to the Paleolithic era and are about 30 thousand years old. In the III century. BC. in the era of the Warring States, the main outpost of the Dianwanguo state was located here, the capital of which was then Kunming. During the era of the Tang Dynasties (618-907 AD) and Song Dynasties (960-1279 AD), at various times, the “temporary capital” of the Chinese empire was located here for a total of 490 years, due to than Kunming was sometimes called the “eastern capital”. In 1275 AD the rulers of the Mongolian Yuan dynasty settled in the city, and Kunming again became the trade, economic, political and cultural center of the Celestial Empire. After the defeat of the Yuan troops and the establishment of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in China, the city acquired the status of the administrative district of Yunnan. It was then that its current name, Kunming, appeared. At that time, the famous Italian traveler Marco Polo visited here, describing Kunming as a city of “trade, crafts and arts, inhabited by a mixture of pagans, Christians and Muslims.” Another epithet that Kunming received was “the city of eternal spring”, due to the favorable climate that persists here throughout the year. Check ehotelat for Suzhou gardens China.
Many sights of antiquity have been preserved in the city and its surroundings. Particularly famous in the framework of international tourism are the buildings of the era of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) – Eastern and Western pagodas (Dunsyta and Sisyta); one of the largest Buddhist complexes in Southeast Asia – Yuantong Temple; Qingzhengusy Mosque; Arches of the Golden Horse and the Green Rooster, Zhenqing Square. Yunnan ethnic villages in the Jiuxiang and Dianchi regions are very popular among tourists; Xiling Park; the snowy peaks of the Yulongwan and Luquan Jiaozi mountain ranges, where such attractions of the region as Jinsi (“Golden Temple”), Panorama Park, Luihu (“Green Lake”), Zhusi (“Bamboo Temple”), Tanhua Temple are located.
East (Dongsi Ta) and West pagodas (Xisi Ta) are located in the southwest of Kunming. The eastern pagoda was destroyed by an earthquake but rebuilt in the 19th century. The western pagoda is much more interesting. It is located on the busy Dongsi Jie market street. Elderly people like to sit around her, drink tea, play cards, and talk. It is very interesting to spend an hour in a tea party, looking at the action taking place around.
Yuantong Temple (Yuantong) is the largest Buddhist complex in the city. The temple is over a thousand years old. It was built at the end of the 8th century and was originally called Butolo. But during the wars in the XII century. it suffered significantly, and in 1301 a new one, Yuantong, was erected on the site of the former temple. The architecture of the temple is grandiose. Near the entrance there is a huge arch, climbing on which you can take a bird’s eye view of the entire temple complex. From the arch there is a wide path to a square pond in the central courtyard. The pond is crossed by bridges, and an octagonal pavilion is built in the middle. A gallery was built along the shore of the pond, through which you can get to the main building of the temple – the Yuantong Hall. The huge Sanshi Buddha statue and two dragons wrapping around the columns are simply amazing. Behind the hall are two ancient caves – Yougu and Chaoyin. They say that a monster once lived in the caves, which killed the locals. To tame the monster, the monk built a sacrificial platform in front of the caves.
The Golden Horse and Green Rooster Arches are located on Jinbi Road. They are 19.5 m high and 14.7 m wide. The most famous landscapes of Kunming are carved on the arches. The hieroglyphs “Jinma” (Golden Horse) and “Biji” (Green Rooster) are depicted in the center of the upper crossbar of the arches. For five centuries, these arches have witnessed the rise and fall of Kunming.. During the Cultural Revolution, they were destroyed, and restored only in 1999. The arches were built with mathematical calculation and knowledge of astronomy. Before they were destroyed in the 1960s, locals used to gather around the arches on the Mid-Autumn Festival afternoon in anticipation of a miracle. Between 5 and 7 pm on the autumnal equinox, when the sun was setting in the west and the moon was rising in the east, the shadows of the two arches met. The locals called this phenomenon “jinbijiaohui” – “combination of the light of the sun and the moon.” But it only happened once every 60 years. However, the historical records do not indicate the exact dates when this phenomenon occurred, so it is not known when it can happen again. But people are still waiting.
Construction of Zhenqing Square, a new tourist attraction, began in 2001 and ended in February 2003. This is the largest historical relic preservation project in Kunming. In the center of the square stands a huge building, the Zhenwu Temple. It was built during the Yuan Dynasty to worship Emperor Zhenwu, a Taoist saint. Since the Ming era, it has been called the Zhenqing Taoist Temple. At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, the traditional religion of the Chinese, Taoism, became extremely popular. In 1431, the temple was repaired, and in 1441 it was expanded. In addition, during the Qing dynasty, two more temples were erected near Zhenqing – Dulei and Yanling. In the temple of Dulei, sacrifices were made to the gods of lightning and fire. Yanling Temple was built by a wealthy salt merchant to worship his ancestors. Zhenwu Temple is the largest ancient architectural complex in the city. It combines the architectural features of two dynasties – Ming and Qing. Interestingly, the architecture of the temples also absorbed traditional local features. Around the square are financial, administrative and commercial parts of the city. It is planned to hold exhibitions dedicated to the culture and history of the province on the square. In addition, it should become the exhibition center for handicrafts in Yunnan Province. For the purpose of cultural exchange, performances of the Yunnan opera, performances of folk songs and dances will be arranged between the buildings on the ancient stage.
The Dian Chi Lake District, located in the southwestern part of the city, is replete with ethnic fishing villages and farms. At the northernmost tip of the lake, 3 km south of the center of Kunming, there is Daguan Park with pavilions, a playground, and a boat station. The pagoda in the park offers beautiful views of the lake.