Quzhou Prefecture is a natural wonder with its very rich rivers and scenic mountains. It is also home to some of the rarest cultural or historical attractions including the famed Longyou Caves, which are marvelously carved by hands.
Quzhou is a prefecture of Zheijiang Province, in the western direction. It covers more than 8,000 square kilometers of land and has a small population of around 3 million people. It is divided into 3 counties, namely, Kaihua, Longyou, and Changshan. There are also two districts, Qujiang and Kecheng, and one city named Jiangshan. The city is an integral transport hub as it serves as a connecting point for the nearby provinces such as Anhui and Fujian. It has its own airport.
Perhaps because of its nearness to a number of bodies of water such as Quianjiang River, rainfall is more common here than in other parts in China. In fact, even in summers, rain may occur. It’s normally heavy around March until the month of June. On the average, the coldest month can be either December or January. One of the hottest months is April.
As part of the Zhejiang Province, it’s probable that the restaurants in Quzhou can already provide any of the three cooking styles of the region. These include Ningbo, which is mainly fresh seafood; Shaoxing, which is either fish or poultry; and Hangzhou, wherein bamboo shoots are considered as a major ingredient. Some of the well-known dishes are beggar’s chicken, which isn’t really a poultry dish for the pauper. There’s also dongpo pork. The pork belly is first fried then later stewed using the local wine and soy sauce.
Nanzong Confucian Temple
Though China has a lot of people adhering to Confucianism, there are only two known pure Confucian temples in the country. One of these is found in Quzhou and called Nanzong Confucian Temple.
It covers around 14,000 square meters and is composed of various buildings such as the Confucian Gate, Xifeng Temple, Silu Pavilion, and Chongsheng Temple, and Confucian School. It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, the last of which happened during the Ming Dynasty.
The picturesque and serene Lanke Mountain is around 20 to 30 minutes away from the urban area of Quzhou. There are some rock formations and flats where you can stand and see the landscape of the city perfectly. However, you need to be careful as the slopes can be very steep. There are some gorgeous formations such as those that form an arc (it’s known as the Tianghsen Bridge) and statues that seem to depict the legendary story that describes the mountain. Lanke Mountain is also the title of a well-known Chinese opera. It is open all throughout the day, though the entrance fee is around 15 yuan.
There are hundreds of caves scattered all over China, but the Longyou Caves or the Longyou Grottoes stand out for one reason: they are all manmade. In other words, they have been carved not by some crude implements but by hand. The recent discovery covers several thousand square meters as each cave has a floor area of about 1,200 square meters. So far, over 20 caves have been excavated, and it’s expected more shall be seen in the coming years. Patterns on the walls and ceilings have certain rhythm and have been considered by many as symbolic. What they stand for, nobody still knows.
The surroundings of the Quainjiang River is simply mystical and majestic. It is a vast land of about 45 square kilometers. The diversity of life here is impressive.
There are waterfalls and lakes nearby. You can also find a wide variety of endemic flora and mountains of different heights but more than a thousand meters from the ground.
The quaint and old village of Ershibadu Township is made famous for the well-preserved architectural structures that go back to the time of the Qing and Ming dynasties. The people have also acquired the traditions of the aborigines around the area.
Quzhou has a number of popular festivals. Topping the list is the Spring Festival, which has been passed on to generations since the days of the Shang Dynasty. Back then, it was celebrated in honor of the ancestors—perhaps as a way of saying thanks to the old year and asking for guidance for the incoming 12 months. Not all Chinese families in the area are still sticking to the age-old tradition, but it’s one of the best times since household members living in far-flung areas will visit. As a tourist, this is a good opportunity to observe their family life and to see the city filled with more people.
The Dragon Boat Festival, which is considered as the oldest festival in the country. It aims to remember the story of Chu Yuan, a well-known country poet who drowned and needed to have his body saved from the fish. To do that, rowers threw cooked rice into the sea. The tradition lives on, with slight changes. They wrap the rice first in bamboo leaves before throwing it into the water. This later introduced a local delicacy known as tzungtzu.
Quzhou belongs to the same province as Shaoxing, China’s Venice because of its comprehensive network of bridges and waterways explored onboard a wupeng boat (a Chinese gondola with black awning). The distance is around 244 kilometers, and it takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes to reach it.