Monday, April 21, 2008

Confucius Temple (孔廟)

Hancheng has one of the oldest and largest temples for Confucius, right in the middle of the old city. The style is very similar to those I have seen in Beijing and Taipei, with pavilions, statues, steles, pools, bridges, ... It was pleasant and peaceful, the perfect place to spend an afternoon reading.

I like the most the majestic old trees. There were lots of pines and cedars. At least one of the cedars was said to be 1700 years old and some people had adopted them as their parents! It is believed that old trees become some kind of gods. Adopting them as parents is supposed to gain protection to their own children.

The words at the bottom of this stele had been chipped off, probably during the Cultural Revolution?

In a courtyard on the left hand side, I found these stone figures lined up neatly. They reminded me of students gathering for morning assembly.

It was strangely fitting that I bumped into a big crowd of students getting off from school when I was getting out of the temple, as Confucious has long been revered as the greatest teacher in Chinese history. Yet I doubt his real impact nowadays - I was the only visitor throughout the time I was there.

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