China, modern nation inspired by its past
China should be applauded for her heavy investments in relics, historical artifacts and antiquities, a clear and uncompromised decision that attests to her strong commitment towards preserving her cultural heritage.
Her resilience and pursuit of her course yielded creation of many tourist attractions and centres that cut across the country which daily welcome a lot of tourists into the nation.
China’s effort can be summarized and equally regarded as a subtle way the nation has adopted to tell the world that she cherishes her culture, determined to make it unique and sell the same to the world.
Ideas one would have ordinarily dismissed for being archaic; ancient sites one would have considered moribund for being inconsistent with modern architecture and areas one would have regarded as no-go-places due to their difficult terrain have all been conquered and given a new face-lift to show the prowess of her ancestors.
Establishment of diverse tourist centres across the country could be hinged on China’s passion for innovations, which has not only served as catalyst for her technological breakthrough but also a booster to her economy in terms of revenue generation.
Her rapid development, ranking her as one of the world powers today cannot be divorced from her bold and successful adventures which is worthy of emulation by any nation.
A cursory look at some of these tourist sites leads to a historical village named: “Hutong Tour” in Beijing.
The term “hutong” was first noted at the time of Yuan Dynasty which spanned between 1271 AD and 1368 AD, a period that could also be regarded as Mongolian origin. “Hutong” then, was interpreted by Mongolians to mean “water well”.
Mongolians were foreigners that at a time invaded China, defeated her and ruled for some time before the minority invaders were eventually fought by China, conquered and subsequently ousted.
At the time of China’s dynasties, emperors concentrated interest in planning the city of Beijing. They arranged the residential areas according to the social classes of the Zhou Dynasty who lived between 1027 and 256 BC.
Historically, “hutong” then according to China’s own ideology used to represent a community of low or rural dwellers with their buildings reflecting their class.
Some of these buildings are still there today.
In the 20th century, China’s dynastic era came to an end and the traditional arrangement of hutong was also affected. Many new buildings surfaced with no real plan while the previous ones lost their neatness.
The significance of “hutong” as tourists attraction today lies in the fact that the environment especially at the point of entry in Beijing gives a glimpse of a village setting when compared with the city of Beijing.
However, the government of China decided to make her presence felt there by giving it a face-lift. The narrow roads were tarred and the neatness restored to a very large extent. Modern toilets and recreational centres were fixed. The presence of old people which is the normal feature of an ancient town remains dominant.
As if to discourage the spirit of mediocrity and idleness among the old men, despite their age, they are kept busy by conveying tourists inside the “hutong” with their cycles to see how an ancient settlement or abode could be made beautiful despite the absence of high-rising buildings, dual carriage roads and other features that characterize urban settings.
However, emergence of People’s Republic of China in 1949 brought into fore, story buildings which of course are not the conventional or traditional sky scrapers found in the city of Beijing some distance inside hutong leaving behind the ancient buildings, a departure from what existed from ancient times. The pleasantness of the road, despite the narrowness that makes it almost difficult for two vehicles coming in opposite directions to pass one another remains unparalleled.
Some of the owners of the buildings turn their homes to tourist centres where they educate tourists on some of the ancient carvings and apparatus.
Simply called Faniaobhu, a middle-aged woman inherited one hundred years old apartment built since Qing Dynasty (1636 AD – 1911 AD), made up of living room, bed-room, dining and kitchen which outlived her great grand parents, some of whom were celebrities. She converted it to a tourist centre where she welcomes and educates tourists on a kind of musical string instrument built ten years ago in the fashion of the type used 2,500 years ago. There were also other items such as a wall clock that existed from Ming dynasty (1368 AD – 1644 AD), chairs and tables that were built during Qing dynasty.
There were other tourist attractions such as Forbidden City, palace complex in central Beijing, The magnificent Great Wall of China, Beijing Opera, the Museum of Qin Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses and Ming Dynasty’s City Wall and Gates both in Xi’an.
Stories of mysteries in China would definitely be incomplete without mentioning Huashan (Mout Hua) in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, China. It is called world’s number one precipitous-mountain-Huashan mountain.
Located within Huayin, Welnan, Shaanxi Province, Huashan mountain is one of the five sacred mountains in China. The world marvels at its “strange shapes, dangerous geography, precipitous landform, and beautiful landscape”.
Huashan mountain is 120 kilometres away from Xi’an and 138 kilometres away to Xianyanga international airport. There are Qinling mountains in the South and Yellow river as well as Wei river in the North, enjoying rich resources, unique landscape and profound cultural connotations. Huashan mountain is one of the birthplaces of Chinese national cultures. According to the research of Mr. Zhang Taiyan, a famous scholar, the well-known names for China, namely, Chung Hwa and Hsia, both originated from Huashan mountain.
It is believed that the mountain, composed of huge granite rock, was derived 120 million years ago.
The mountain has five peaks namely: East, West South, North and Central peaks. The three towering peaks in the South, East and West soar into the white clouds and reflect on the Yellow river, hence they are referred to as three peaks stretching out of the sky. The mountain is having 72 half-hanging caves among others.
What first stuns an average first-time tourist to the mountain is the construction of a road on the mountain at its basement. Buses convey tourists to the steps that link the garage of cable cars that convey tourists to the peak of the mountain.
The West Peak Cableway of Huashan mountain is the World’s first undulating one-way detachable cableway that was built by digging through the cliff with intermediate stations. It is jointly operated by Shannxi Tourism Group company, Huashan mountain management committee and Shannxi coal and chemical industry group company. With over 500 million Yuan invested in it, the cable way is equipped with imported equipment from POMA company in France and adopts a safety and operating system applied with the most advanced passenger cableway technologies. The automatic digital control system is at world’s leading level. The diagonal length of the cableway route is 4211 metres, with relative height of 894 metres and the cable way has 28 supports and 84 passenger compartments.
The heart of a tourist making his maiden trip through the cable car to the top of Huashan mountain would keep jumping into his mouth as the cable car moves with speed at a distance of 2,200 metres above sea level.
The top of the mountain is made comfortable for tourists with recreational centre and items to purchase that would keep on reminding an average tourist, the experience of his or her adventure traversing the mountain as well as most importantly, the mystery of Huashan mountain.
Taiwo was recently in China.
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