It is said that King You built a palace here during the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC-711 BC). Additions were subsequently made by the First Emperor Qing (259 BC-210BC) and Emperor Wu during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24). During his reign, the Emperor Xuanzong spent dizzying amounts of his funds to build a luxurious palace, changing its name to Huaqing Hot Spring or Huaqing Palace. Over the course of 41 years in his days, he visited the palace as many as 36 times. The palace thus has a history of 3,000 years and the hotspring a history of 6,000 years! Ranked among the Hundred Famous Gardens in China, it also has the status as a National Cultural Relic Protection Unit and a National Key Scenic Area.
Walking southwards through Dragon Marble Boat and several pavilions, you will find the Site of Imperial Pool, which is the only one of its kind to be discovered in China. The five remaining pools are the Lotus Pool, Haitang Pool, Shangshi Pool, Star Pool and Prince Pool. The lotus-like Lotus Pool was made for the Emperors' bath, the Haitang Pool resembling a Chinese Crabapple was intended for concubines, and the Shangshi Pool was designated for officials. It is said that the former Star Pool had no roof and nothing to cover its four sides. There, must have been possible to truly experience the eternal beauty of Yang Guifei.
By visiting this site, you will not only enjoy the scenery, but also taste the joy of imagining yourself back in the days of the Tang Dynasty.
The first pleasure to experience is to have a bath in the imitational Guifei Pool. With an even temperature of 43 degree (109 F), the ever-flowing water here contains minerals and organic materials that have therapeutic effects on the skin. Water originating from four spring reaches a discharge level of 112 tons per hour. In the bath pool, you can experience the same comfort as did the Emperor Xuanzong or Yang Guifei.
Tips on Hot Spring for your reference
After the discovery of remains of Tang operas and entertainments, the Exhibition Hall of Tang Art was built in 1995. Here, you can enjoy dance performances imitating the Tang style and a Chinese tea ceremony in the teahouse.
In the palace of Huaqing Hot Spring, visitors who are interested in calligraphy will be delighted to discover the inscriptions collected there. Currently, the inscriptions include in total 7 steles, 16 stones with poems, 7 stone inscriptions, 4 stone carving, and an additional 69 tablets discovered in 1949. All of them represent elite work in the field of calligraphy art and materials of their kinds.
Since Huaqing Hot Spring is located at the foot of Mt. Lishan with remains of ancient buildings such as a beacon tower of Western Zhou Dynasty and the Old Mother Hall of the Tang Dynasty, there are many legends and allusions about it. Among them, the most famous and profound one is about Misusing the Beacon Tower to Tease Vassals.
It happened in the Western Zhou Dynasty during the reign of fatuous King You. At first, he ruled his state relatively peacefully and prosperously and allied with the neighboring feoffs by using a beacon tower in case of invasion of other ethnic groups. If an incident occurred, he could light the fire on the tower as a signal, and then his allies would come to help. However, everything changed after he asked a small country, Bao, to pay the beauty Bao Si in tribute.
After Bao Si, who was extremely charming, moved into his palace, she started missing her parents a lot and never presented a single smile. To please her, the King made her the new queen and gave her plenty of largess, but she kept her long face intact and remained taciturn. In lack of another solution, a treacherous court official called Guo Shifu suggested lighting the fire on the beacon tower in order to fool the vassals of other states. King You brought his favorite queen to the beacon tower and followed Guo Shifu's advice. Upon seeing the flame licking the sky, troops of allied feoffs hurried to the tower. To their surprise, they discovered nothing more dangerous than the laughter of King You and Bao Si, so they returned to their feoffs in sulking dismay.
Seeing the happy smile of Bao Si, King You delightedly rewarded Guo Shifu with a thousand taels of gold. After that, he and his queen played with the beacon tower several times, and each time, the troops would leave disappointed. One day, the ethnic group 'Quan Rong' presented a real threat to the kingdom. The King immediately set the beacon tower on fire, but this time, the troops no longer believed him and never showed up in defence. The King was killed and his queen was captured, thus ending the Western Zhou Dynasty.
This story gave birth to the idioms 'A smile values a thousand taels of gold' and 'Misusing beacon tower to tease vassals'.
It is at the Huaqing Hot Springs that a grand Tang Dynasty Performance - The Song Of Unending Sorrow is played every day.
|Admission Fee:||CNY 80 (Dec. 1 - the end of Feb.); |
CNY 110 (Mar. 1 - Nov. 30)
Free for children below 1.2m.
|Opening Hours:||High Season (Mar. 1 - Nov. 30): 07:00 – 18:00 |
Lack Season (Dec. 1 - the end of Feb.): 07:30 – 18:30
Time for a Visit:
|One and a half hours|
|Performance-Watching Time:|| |
Two performances on Friday, Saturday and statutory holidays: 20:10 – 21:20; 21:30 – 22:40
|Performance-Watching Fee:|| |
1. The eastern and western areas: CNY 218;
Suggested Tour Itinerary:
One-Day Outskirts Travel: One-day trip to Huaqing Hot Spring, Lintong Museum, Mt. Lishan, Terra-Cotta Warriors Museum.
More Xian Tours
Transportation to the surrounding scenic spots:
The Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses: Take bus no.307 or Tourism Bus Route 5 (306) and get off at the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses.
Mt.Lishan: Visitors can find the entrance of the Mt.Lishan from the back door of the Huaqing Hot Springs.