Qufu - the Home of Confucius

qufu.jpg - 14645 Bytes Qufu gained its fame because of its extraordinary son, Confucius. At its peak during the Zhou dynasty (1200-221 BC) Qufu was the most cultural city in entire China. Today, it's a pleasant and a bit sleepy small town.

Confucius was born near Qufu. Later, he settled in the city first as a governmental official and later as a teacher and philosopher. As Confucianism grew in influence, emperors and statesmen paying pilgrimage to the saint's former residence decided that it should be converted into a temple. Confucius' descendants (Kong Family) benefited greatly from their famous forefather. Kang family mansion came to imitate the imperial palace in size and layout.
Qufu City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(8) Art(7) Local Culture/Unique Tour(9)
Nature/Scenic(4) Food/Shopping(4) Night Life(4)
Religion(8) Adventure/Sports(6) Reasonable Cost(7)
Recommended Days of Stay: 1

Quick Facts
Population - 60,000
When to go
Tourist Season - May through October;
Coldest Months - January, with temperature at -7C;
Hottest Months - August, with temperature at 39C;
Annual Precipitation - 800 mm (July and August)
Getting In and Out
By Air - The closest airport to Qufu is Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, about 150 km away;
By Bus - Qufu is two hours away from Jinan by bus;
By Train - Trains run from Beijing and Jinan to Qufu. The train station is 18 km away from the city.

History


The numerous Neolithic Period sites excavated close to Qufu proved that the city was settled at least 4,000-5,000 years ago. By Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC) and several hundred years following that, Qufu prospered, being the capital of one of the stronger independent states in China.

The importance and prosperity of Qufu continued until 249BC when it was conquered by another state. Despite the loss of political importance, Qufu continued to be the must-go place for many emperors and statesmen because of Confucius.

In 1522, Qufu was rebuilt by the then ruler with Confucius Temple in the middle of the city.

The most recent head of state that visited and honored Confucius Temple was Chiang Kaishek of the Nationalist government in 1935.


Confucius Mansion * * * * *
The Confucius Mansion was first built 2,000 years ago and expanded in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). It was the residence and office of the first male descendant of Confucius, with an area of 16 acres and 463 rooms and halls. There are nine courts one behind the other. The whole complex is composed of three parts, the central, the eastern and the western. In the front area of the central part are offices with three big halls and six smaller ones and in the back part of it living quarter and gardens. The family shrine is on the eastern part. Study rooms and guest rooms are on the western part.

Not unlike what was described in the Chinese classic A Mansion of Thousand Dreams (Hong Lou Meng), a lot of dramas took place here in this mansion, which was a kingdom in its own rights. A good book to read before your trip to the Confucius Mansion is In the Mansion of Confucius' Descendants by Kong Demao, who is the daughter of the second wife of the Duke of Yansheng. Both are alive. Kong Demao is living in Beijing and her dad in Taiwan. The Duke of Yansheng is a family title that can be traced back to Song Dynasty. It is passed on to the oldest son of each generation of the Kong family.


Kong Family Forest (Confucius Tomb and Kong Family Cemetery) * * * * *
Kong Family Forest contains 200,000 family tombs. It is said that this cemetery is probably the largest and the oldest in the world.

The forest itself is formed by trees collected by disciples from all over the country when they come to show respect.

The cemetery has elaborately crafted gates, stone lions and a stone-arched bridge punctuating the lovely greenness. Confucius' own tomb is also in the forest.

Food/ Shopping
Spring and Autumn Shop
Located on the same street as the Kong Family Mansion, it is a descent souvenir store.

Religion
Temple of Confucius * * * * *
The temple of Confucius is the largest and the most important temple for the religion and philosophy of Confucianism. It was first built in 478 AD and constantly rebuilt and renovated during the subsequent dynasties with its present size established during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

The main hall of the temple is Dacheng Hall. Only an emperor could be carried over the carved dragons up to its door. The hall is over 31 meters tall and 54 meters wide. It is said to be one of the three greatest halls in China, the others being the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City, and the Tiankuang Hall in the Dai Temple in Tai'an. Some even say that the Hall of Supreme Harmony actually copied the style of Dacheng Hall.

The workmanship of Dacheng Hall is incredible. The 28 pillars that support the building are six meters in height, hewn from a single block of stone and carved with awesome dragon designs.

There are also statues of Confucius and his twelve disciples. They are all replicas made in 1984. The original ones were destroyed during the cultural revolution.


Yan Hui Temple * * *
Yan Hui was Confucius' most famous disciple who died before him despite being 30 years younger. The temple was first built here when the founder of Han Dynasty, Liu Bang (256-191 BC) visited.

 

 

 
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