Turtle Hill

Last updated by della at 2014/5/2

Turtle Hill is located at the low reach of the Huaihe River. It's surrounded on three sides by river. The scenery is very beautiful. It coordinates with the Laozi Hill over a distance. Because it looks like a huge turtle floats on water, it was named "Turtle Hill". Although present Turtle Hill looks mediocre, it has ever been a popular resort in ancient times.

There is an air of romance about Turtle Hill. As early as 400 years ago, Da Yu lived here. He dredged water channels and built dikes. He brought peace to the people living on the Huaihe River. Since the Qin and Han Dynasties, here has been an important place leading to the capital in politics, a trade route in economy, and a flourishing town in culture. Many famous literators have been here, such as, Su Dongpo, Zhu Xi, Fan Dacheng, Qin Shaoyou,etc.. They wrote down many famous poems about Turtle Hill. Many were engraved in the stones.

Turtle Hill has always been the place which makes literators linger and forget to return. When Wu Cheng'en, a famous writer of the Ming Dynasty, composed his fable "Journey to the West", he traveled from place to place in order to figure all kinds of characters in his literary work. Finally, the story which happened at the foot of Turtle Hill enlightened him. He figured out the character of " Qi Tian Da Sheng" who was brave and clever and defied difficulties. Thereby, Sun Wukong becomes a famous mythological figure in China. He has been loved by all people, old or young, man or woman, for hundreds of years. "Journey to the West" also becomes a masterpiece throughout the world.

When you wander about Turtle Hill now, many old buildings, except the well, the Imperial Dock, the Songta Underground Palace, the Santong Anciet Stele, the Stone Ox Pond and the Sites of Huaidu Temple, has disappeared, such as, the Bell Tower of the Turtle Hill Temple, the Watching Tide Pavilion and the Half-Mountain Pavilion. However, judging from these fragments of wall and stele, it's not difficult for us to imagine the prosperity of Turtle Hill in those days.

Two legends about the place

1. Da Yu, a great water-control hero in Chinese history, had much relationship with Turtle Hill. In his great project of leading mighty current to the sea, he overcame all kinds of difficulties and removed all obstacles that blocked the current. Dayu's greatest contribution was that he changed blocked water into unimpeded river. He left a lot of mythical legends for offspring too. It's said that there was a monster in the Hongze Lake Area. The monster was called Wu Zhiqi. He often played in the Huaihe River. It has always been raining for a long time in the area. This was caused by the monster. Local people suffered a great deal. When Da Yu heard the news, he went eastward along the Huaihe River to catch Wu Zhiqi. The cornered monster fought against Da Yu. He lifted towering water column and spit out the cloudburst. Da Yu wielded his supernatural axe. The monster shivered all over and was controlled by Da Yu finally. He was locked up in the deep pond at the foot of Turtle Hill.

2. The Huaidu Temple was destroyed by wars late in the Yuan Dynasty. During the Hongwu reign of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang came to the throne. He allocated a large sum of money to remedy it. His family grave is located in Yangjia Dun in the west of Turtle Hill. It's the Imperial Mausoleums of the Ming Dynasty nowadays. It's the cenotaphs of Zhu Yuanzhang's ancestors of three generations. When Zhu Biao, a crown prince, went here to offer sacrifices to his ancestors, he must came to the Shuaidu Temple to worship. There was an article named "Record of Rebuilding the Huaidu Temple" written by Tang Long, governor of Fengyang in the Jiaqing reign of the Qing Dynasty. It's stored in the temple. It witnessed the rebuilding of the Huaidu Temple.

Solo Adventure Tips:

Location:
It is nestled in the north of Hanyang and east to the Yangtze River.

How to Get There?
Take Bus 401 or 402.

Ticket Price:

RMB 15 - for entrance to Guishan (Turtle) Park

Entrance to Lord Yu's temple is free

Opening Hours:
7:00-17:30

More Tips:

1) Guishan Park is a nice place to walk and has a few memorabilia things to explore as you walk the paths. The sad thing is some of the main tourist attractions for the park have been shut down; eg. The Guishan TV tower and  Panoramic Museum are now not open to the public.

2) If you enter Guishan Park at the top near the Number 1 Bridge you can walk around and then leave from the TV tower carpark. There is a lot of stairs to go down but once you are out the gate you will see the Temple/Place of Lord Yu across the road; you can make that your next stop. It has been beautifully restored with lots of traditional style paintings on walls and doors.


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