Yueyang Pavilion

The Yueyang Pavilion is an ancient architectural treasure which is located on the shores of Dongting Lake in Yueyang City, Hunan Province. It is one of four famous Chinese pavilions. The other three are the Tengwang Pavilion in Hubei Province, the Yellow Crane Tower in Jiangxi Province and the Penglai Pavilion in Shandong Province.

The Yueyang Pavilion is a three storey, rectangular building which reaches 15 meters (about 49 feet) high and is constructed entirely from wood. Surprisingly, no nails or beams have been used in its construction. This is a rare feature in classical architecture. Pillars have been included in the construction to ensure the strength of the building. Four pillars made of 'Nanmu' wood support the entire pavilion; twelve pillars of catalpa wood support the eaves of the first storey and a further twelve pillars have been included to support the second storey. The roof is built using unusual curved lines which are similar to the shape of a helmet used by a knight of ancient times.

Seen from a distance, the Yueyang Pavilion seems like a giant bird which is in flight. The red building with its yellow glazed roof tiles is a splendid and colorful sight. Views here are spectacular. You will see the pavilion glowing in the sunshine together with the drifting clouds as reflections on the glimmering surface of the Dongting Lake. You will also see the white sails of passing boats contrasting with the blue sky. Couplets and carved screens are hung on the wall inside the building providing the visitors with the history of this pavilion.

The age of the pavilion is disputed. However, it is generally believed that it was built more than 1,700 years ago. During the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280) the rudimentary form of the building was that of a parade (ceremonial) pavilion. During the Western Jin (265-316) and the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589), it was used by the military with the name of 'Baling Tower'. It was not until the Tang Dynasty that it was renamed as the Yueyang Pavilion. The pavilion was damaged in the chaos of wars and was rebuilt in the Song Dynasty (960-1127). Since then, it has become a tourist attraction and a place of inspiration for both poets and writers. It was made very famous during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) by the works of Fan Zhongyan who was a great politician and writer.

Admission Fee: CNY 80
Opening Hours: 07:00 to 18:30 (May 1 to September 30)
07:30 to 18:00 (October 1 to April 30)
Bus Route: take bus no. 10, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 31, 50, tourism bus line 2 and 15, and get off at Yueyanglou Park Station.

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