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Xian Huaqing Hot Springs

Huaqing Hot Springs (Huaqing Chi)

The Huaqing hot springs is a scenic attraction located at the foot of Mount Lishan in Lingtong County - about 30 kilometers east of Xian City. Construction of Huaqing Hot Springs began with the Li Palace, which started during the Western Zhou Dynasty, and additional construction were made during the Qing and Han dynasties. It was Tang emperor Taizhong who undertook the construction of the Huaqing Palace, which still stands today.

The hot springs here continually supply mineral rich water at a temperature of 43 degrees Celsius. The site's bathing pools have been a favorite retreat of many emperors in Chinese history. Huaqing hot springs is famous for its stunning scenery and hot springs, and it is also famous for the story between Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Yang Guifei during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

After entering the main gates of Huaqing Hot Springs, heading east (right side), you will come upon the nine dragon lake - one of the main attractions of Huaqing hot springs. It is a man-made lake that covers an area of 5,300 square meters. There is also a large white marble statue of Yang Guifei - one of the 4 most beautiful women in ancient China. Around the nine dragon lake are several buildings including Feishuang Hall (Flying Frost Hall) in the north, which was the living quarters for Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei. Chengxiang hall is on the east side, Yichun hall on the west, and the marble dragon boat in the southeast.

yang guifei
Marble statue of Yang Guifei

Heading further in southwest is the Huan Garden. This section contains the Hehua Chi (Lotus flower pond) and the Hehua Ge (Lotus Pavilion). Around the Lotus pond are the Wujian Ting (5 room Hall) to the south, and Feixia Ge to the east. The 5 Room Hall was constructed during late Qing Dynasty which was the living quarters for Dowager Cixi after Beijing was captured by the eight power allied forces. It was also the temporary residence of Chiang Kai-shek during the Xian incident in 1936.

The famous Xian incident took place on December 12, 1936. While China was under increased aggression from the Japanese, Chiang Kai-Shek was still determined in his efforts to rout the communist party, when cooperation between the two political parties was needed to fend off the invaders. One of his generals, Zhang Xueliang, lead a group of soldiers and put Chiang under house arrest until he accepted a proposal to form a united national front to fight the japanese invaders.

Heading back to the eastern side of the compound is the Furong Lake. To the south is the Changsheng Dian (Hall of Longevity), and to the north is the Wangjing Gate - another gate to enter the Huaqing Springs.

huaqing hot springs
Furong Lake and Hall of Longevity.

Under the reign of Tang emperor Xuanzong, Huaqing Springs achieved its greatest fame, or perhaps infamy is a better way to describe it. Emperor Xuanzong spent most winters at Huaqing hot springs with Yang Guifei, his favorite concubine, who had originally been the concubine of his son. At the age of 60, Xuanzong fell in love with Yang Guifei, and began to neglect state affairs due to his obsession with Yang Guifei.

General An Lushan lead a rebellion toward the capital, but the palace guards refused to defend the emperor unless he executed Yang Guifei. In the end Yang Guifei was hanged.

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