Taiqing Palace (Tai Qing Gong)
The Taiqing Palace, a sacred Taoist Palace, lies on the southern slopes of the famous Mt. Laoshan in Qingdao. It is said that there were once nine palaces, eight temples and seventy-two nunneries on the mountain when Taoism was at its height of prosperity. Of all the existing buildings on the mountain, the Taiqing Palace is the largest and possesses the longest history.
History of Taiqing Palace
The significant point of interest about Taiqing Palace was that it was built in 140 BC during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD); it is reputed as the second most magnificent Taoist building in China. Although repaired on several occasions, the palace reserves the typical architectural style of the Song Dynasty (960-1279AD) which is quite unusual, as far as religious architecture of China is concerned. Taking up an area of three hectares (7.4 acres), the Taiqing Palace has three courts and 155 rooms. Sanguan Hall, Sanqing Hall and Sanhuang Hall can be found in each of these respective courts, separated by walls. They also have their respective mountain gates connected by side doors.
Sanguan Hall lies in the east court of the palace. The statues of the God of Heaven, God of Earth, God of Water and other deities are enshrined in this hall. There are two 'Naidong' Camellias, a special winter-resisting species, in front of the hall. One is 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high and the branches cover half of the court. Its flowers bloom in bitter winter and last for about three months, resembling blazing flames. The tree has survived for more than 600 years and can be considered as a precious treasure of the Taiqing Palace.
The rectangular middle court has Sanqing Hall as its main hall and another two subsidiary halls, which also have some notable gods enshrined inside. Outside the Sanqing Hall stands a giant elm, planted in the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD). The tree towers 15 meters (49 feet) high and the tangled branches look like a dragon head. There is also a famous spring, which never dries up, from the mountain at the forecourt of Sanqing Hall.
Sanhuang Hall sits in the west court, which is also rectangular in design. The statue of Huang Di, the ancestor of the Chinese nation, sculptures of the God of Agriculture, God of Medicine, and other ten renowned doctors of the past dynasties are placed in this hall. The cypress in the court was planted during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). A trumpet creeper plant twisted itself on the tree and reaches the top. A small tree spurts out from the crack of the cypress, forming a spectacular sight.
Historical Relics in Taiqing Palace
Meanwhile, the Taiqing Palace possesses a great number of historical relics, especially epigraphs left by ancient celebrities. The stone walls outside the Sanhuang Hall were engraved with the imperial decree issued by Genghis Khan, an outstanding Mongolian politician and militarist who found the Mongol Empire (1206-1635). There is also a stele made by Kublai Khan, the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368AD) and grandson of Genghis Khan. They are all precious treasure of the Taiqing Palace and even Mt. Laoshan.
How to get to Taiqing Palace
Take Bus 618 to Yakou and walk south for 10 minutes to get there.
Qingdao Bus Search
|Entrance Fee||CNY 27|
|Opening Hours||Apr. - Oct.: 6:00 - 18:00 |
Nov. - Mar.: 7:00 - 17:00
Further Reading: Top 10 Things to Do in Qingdao
There are some inns and happy farmhouses located in Laoshan scenic area. I'd like to recommend Laoshan Qingshan Yucun Haiqing Farmhouse to you. This hotel is only about 220 yards (200 meters) to the palace. The price usually ranges from CNY150 to 300 per night.