White Pagoda Park

White pagoda park lies on a hill on the northern bank of the Yellow River, the center of Lanzhou City on the Silk Road. White Pagoda Park was named after the White pagoda in the Yuan Dynasty on the top of the hill. White Pagoda Park belongs to the loess landforms and the branches of Qilian Mountain, at an elevation of more than 1,700 m. Its lofty peaks raise one upon another and have the momentum of "embracing the golden city". It provides a natural defense for the northern Lanzhou City."Undulating peaks in White Pagoda Park" is reputed as one of the -eight scenes in Lanzhou City". The White Pagoda on the mountain, the Yellow River under the mountain and the Zhongshan Bridge crossing the river are in picturesque disorder and become the symbolic scenes of Lanzhou Ci ty.

There are famous first, second and third Platforms of the structural groups in the White Pagoda Park. The total area of these structural groups is more than 8, 000 square meters. There are many stone steps, stonewalls, brick carvings, pavilions and winding corridors. They link up each other and have a clear gradation. It's a distinctive style in Chinese classic construction. The first platform is the central hall, opens from all directions and has carved beams and painted rafters. There are overlapping double four-angle pavilions at two sides of the corridor in the hall. They go up circuitously and become the symmetric double-storey archway. The archway has five pillars. The middle pillar has seven sets of brackets and is very rare in China. passing the square of the second platform, and going up along the stone steps, there is the hall of the third platform. It's the brick and wood structure and seems very solemn. This hall is 80 m in length, 20 m in width and about 1o m in height. There are many glazed beams on the roof, various brick carvings inserted in the walls and colored wood painting on the beams and hanging angles.

"Museum of Yellow River Stones" located at the hall of the third platform was established in 1993 and so far, its the biggest museum of stones in china. It is rich in stones and has a unique charm. The Yellow River Stones in Lanzhou, Yuhua Pebbles in Nanjing, Yichang Stones in Hubei and Shangdao stones in Shandong are reputed as Four Famous Gravels. The Yellow River Stones in Lanzhou are smooth with various shapes and beautiful colors."Museum of Yellow River Stones "has collected more than ten thousand stones. Among these wonderful stones, there are many shaped stone, such as Buddhist, Emperor Guan, holy tortoise and so on. And there are many veined stones, such as Confucius, Laozi, Buddhist Master, twelve symbolic animals, various flowers as well as scenes and so on. They are all lively, vivid and remarkably true to life,and make tourists linger on with no thought of leaving.

Along the winding mountain path, it is a memorial archway. There are "Feng Ling Xiao Niao" on the observe side and "Xiu Ying San Tai "on the backside. Hey were all written by the local scholar, Mr. Li Cun-zhong, in 1791, the 56th year of Qianlong Period of Qiing Dynasty. This archway is reputed as the "First Archway in the White Pagoda Park". Stand here and look down, and you will see that the Yellow River looks like a belt and much soft smoke in the area of Fengling Guang. Look far into the distance, and you will also see the Santai Hall in Gaolan Mountain, which looks like the imperial palace in Heaven.

Pass the archway, the "Fayu emple" appears. Its original name was the "Luohan Hall". It is located above the main hall of the third platform, at the turn of the mountain path and backed up by the mountain. It was an ancient structure with one door and two yards, built in 1884, the 10th year of Guangxu Period of Qing Dynasty. This whole structure is very exquisite and simple. It has five hung rooms. Stand here and look far into the distance, you will find that you can get the view of the whole city. On each of the east and west top of the "Fayu Temple", there is a triangular pavilion. The eastern pavilion is called the "Dongfeng Pavilion" while the western pavilion is called the "Xiyu Pavilion". Their structures are simple and powerful and have the imposing manner. Here are the "Sanhuang Hall" and "Sanjiao Hall" on the northwest peak. Go westwards, it is the "White Pagoda Temple".

This white pagoda was built in the Yuan Dynasty. The original pagoda was destroyed because of the battles in the connecting period between Yuan and Ming Dynasties. Today's pagoda was rebuilt in 1456, the 7th year of Jingtai period of Ming Dynasty, by Liu Yong-cheng, the official who guarded Gansu province. At the same time other temples and buildings were also built and here became the scenic spot in Lanzhou City. In 1655, the 54th year of the Kangxi period of qing Dynasty, Zhou Qi, the imperial inspector of Gansu province, rebuilt this pagoda, and renamed "Ci'en Temple".

Now, the White pagoda park is the major historical and cultural site under provincial protection. The body of the pagoda is snow-white and is 17 m in height. The pagoda has a round base and the lower part uses the covered form. It's seven-storey and eight-side on which are many large and small figures of Buddha. The top of the pagoda is the ancient green India-style pagoda. On the roof corners hanging copper bells are chiming in the breeze. The sound is both solemn and mysterious. Stand here, you can also look far into the distance and this is the best position to watch the Yellow River and Lanzhou City. Look up the white pagoda and look down the Yellow River, then you will recall the saying the divine pagoda can vanquish demons and monsters in rivers". Surrounding this ancient pagoda, you will find that there are many Buddhist pictures carved on each side. These are just the eight auspicious pictures of Lamaism.

There are three great temples to the south of the white pagoda, which is surrounded by them. The Bodhisattva Hall is located at the north of it. And there are some small halls on east and west sides. There were the elephant-skin drum, bronze bell and redbud tree originally called "the three treasures in the mountain". According to the legend, the redbud tree was planted by the Monk Tian who once took charge of the Ci'en Temple. But what's a pity is this tree has already died. The other two treasures are still in the temple. According to the legend, the elephant-skin drum was dedicated to Sakyamuni by the Indian monk who visited the Ci'en Temple in the White Pagoda park. It is more than 5cm in thickness and came from India. The bronze bell was cast in 1718, the 57th year of Kongxi period. It is about 153. 5 kg. Its modeling is very solemn and its sound is very sonorous. The famous Xia Yu Tablet stands at the east side of the white pagoda. It is 3 m in height and 1 m in width. On the top of the tablet are covered two huge dragons with a pearl. There were 77 ancient words carved on the surface and now exist 72 words to record the story of Da Yu. Around the white Pagoda Temple, there are many ancient structures to watch the rising sun, the Yellow River or the whole view of Lanzhou City, such as Yunyue Temple, Sanxing Hall, Yingxu Hall, Sangong Hall and so on.

In 1958, it was developed as a park and water was channeled up the mountain. The local people had planted several hundred thousand trees such as pine, cypress, willows poplar, Chinese scholar trees and forest region and orchards such as apple, peach, pear and apricot. Today, the White Pagoda Park has become the famous scenic spot for Lanzhou people with range upon range of hills, birds singing and flowers giving forth fragrance.

(Qin Lijuan Huang Ying)

  • White Pagoda Hill