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Courtyard Dream House Adventure (July 21-23)

Linfen, Shaanxi Province


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Linfeng

July 21, 2009

In the morning, we got up fairly early, checked out of the hotel and with Suzie went to the bus station. Suzie is a very lucky younr lady to have a family like she does.

ByeBye to Susie

ByeBye to Susie

As we traveled toward Linfen, we began to see the remnants of cave houses built into the loess. I also got a picture of a large pagoda in a town called Anzexian that was being renovated.

Quick view of Anzexian Pagoda

Quick view of Anzexian Pagoda

A typical Shanxi CaveHouse

A typical Shanxi CaveHouse

We arrived to the Linfen bus station at around noon and met one of my sophomore students, Sophia. We checked into a decent hotel and had a quick lunch and Sophia took us on a quick tour of downtown Linfen.

City Center Linfen Bell Tower

City Center Linfen Bell Tower

A twenty minute bus ride took us to a huge monument built to honor Emperor Yao 尧 who was a legendary Chinese emperor. He was supposed to have been the perfect sage-king. He is considered to be the proto-type of all Chinese emperors who followed.

This place was huge but expensive to get in. Judging by what we saw from the outside, it was modern with not many interesting ancient Chinese buildings to see. We took some pictures but did not go in. Instead we walked along the huge area just in front of the monument.

The Recently Built  Yao Monument

The Recently Built Yao Monument

Giant Wine Pitcher

Giant Wine Pitcher

Red and Gold Knocker

Red and Gold Knocker

Monument to somebody inside hotel courtyard

Monument to somebody inside hotel courtyard

Smaller Replica of Temple of Heaven

Smaller Replica of Temple of Heaven

Commercial Chinese-style Red Building in the area of the monument

Commercial Chinese-style Red Building in the area of the monument

After getting some snacks from some of the venders in the monument area, we caught a bus back to the downtown area. Sophia took us to a Ming Dynasty pagoda and a temple complex that was being made into a city museum. It was a very good example of classical Ming Pagoda.

A Narrow Street to a Ming Dynasty Pagoda

A Narrow Street to a Ming Dynasty Pagoda

Welcome waves a Mao statue

Welcome waves a Mao statue

Another view of the Pagoda

Another view of the Pagoda

Double Red Door Knockers - I could not resist a photo

Double Red Door Knockers - I could not resist a photo

A closer look at the Big Knocker

A closer look at the Big Knocker

We finished the day doing a little shopping and got back to our hotel at around 5 p.m. We had a early dinner and tired, we had no problem getting to sleep. We were to meet Sophia for breakfast and then return to the Yao Monument to catch a bus to the Dingcun courtyard houses. We were very excited about the next days adventure.

July 22, 2009

Sophia came by at around 0900 and we had a leisurely breakfast before heading out to the Yao Monument where we caught a local bus for 8 Yuan each that took us to the Dingcun village. About an hour from Linfen in Xiangfen County are a bunch of courtyard houses, about forty total which have been renovated for tourists to check out. They are mostly from the Ming and Qing dynasties and are well preserved. Some have been touted as some of earliest example of courtyard houses in China, having been built during Emperor Wanli’s reign of the Ming Dynasty. The newest ones were built during the Republic of Chna between 1912 - 1949. This was why we came to Shanxi Province.

DingCun Entrance

DingCun Entrance

A typical Dingcun courtyard or hsiheyuan

A typical Dingcun courtyard or hsiheyuan

Map of the area

Map of the area

An Old Ming Door

An Old Ming Door

Another Courtyard

Another Courtyard

Yet Another Courtyard

Yet Another Courtyard

House Shrine

House Shrine

An Old Watercolor

An Old Watercolor

Traditional Drum

Traditional Drum

Still another Courtyard

Still another Courtyard

Containers for ...?

Containers for ...?

Genuine Chinese Ming and Qing Stuff

Genuine Chinese Ming and Qing Stuff

Welcome! Come in and get comfortable

Welcome! Come in and get comfortable

Another HouseShrine

Another HouseShrine

Side view of one of the seven courtyards

Side view of one of the seven courtyards

Twin Doors into a main building in one of the courtyards

Twin Doors into a main building in one of the courtyards

And behind the Orange Door

And behind the Orange Door

A Modern Rusty Lock

A Modern Rusty Lock

A seriously Bulky Door

A seriously Bulky Door

Good Luck is behind this Door

Good Luck is behind this Door

Another Old Courtyard

Another Old Courtyard

Qing Carved Doorway

Qing Carved Doorway

Sunee doing some Filming for our upcoming movie

Sunee doing some Filming for our upcoming movie

Cranes

Cranes

A very friendly local Weaver

A very friendly local Weaver

Traditional Red Paper to Guard the Doors

Traditional Red Paper to Guard the Doors

Hey, it is an old wooden Door

Hey, it is an old wooden Door

And here is a brick Oval Door

And here is a brick Oval Door

Posing at the Oval Door frame

Posing at the Oval Door frame

We explored the old buildings for several hours finding the people there to be very friendly and helpful. We are now convinced that courtyard houses tended to come in groups. As the family grew along with their fortune they added more and more courtyards to house the extended family. A courtyard house really tends to be courtyard houses.

Time to get back to the city for some food so we caught the bus back to Yao Monument and another to downtown Linfen near the Bell Tower.

Time for Western-style Ice Cream

Time for Western-style Ice Cream

The lights were turned on in the Bell Tower and at night it was very nice.

The Bell Tower ablaze

The Bell Tower ablaze

Another day another adventure enjoyed. Tomorrow we will be taken around the countryside by Sophia's father. We will also get to visit a cave house still in use by Sophia's aunt in a nearby county. Had no problem with sleep today.

July 23, 2009

It was around 0900 when Sophia and her father picked us up. We first went to visit Sophia's aunt in Fushan County which was famous for Chinese paper cutting. The aunt also lived in a genuine loess cave house. We were not disappointed. Prior to arriving to the cave house, we made a quick stop at a newly built area that had a huge statue of Emperor Yao overlooking the land. Stopped for about an hour before heading to the aunt's cave house.

The Huge Yao Statue - work still in progress

The Huge Yao Statue - work still in progress

Inside a Cave House in Fushan County

Inside a Cave House in Fushan County

Nice Watercolor

Nice Watercolor

Sophie friendly and hospitable Aunt

Sophie friendly and hospitable Aunt

After visiting with the aunt for an hour or so we went to the Gurangsheng Temple about a half hour further down the road. It was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty and was renovated several times up to the Ming Dynasty. The famous and one of China’s most beautiful pagodas, Feihong Pagoda, was last renovated in 1622 with the addition of a corridor on the ground floor. It is spectacular!

Ground floor corridor around the Front of the Pagoda

Ground floor corridor around the Front of the Pagoda

The magnificent Flying Rainbow Pagoda

The magnificent Flying Rainbow Pagoda

An ancient Buddha image on the second floor inside the middle of the structure

An ancient Buddha image on the second floor inside the middle of the structure

In total darkness, looking up at the Buddha image

In total darkness, looking up at the Buddha image

Orange accented Door and Buddha image

Orange accented Door and Buddha image

Working Seated Monk

Working Seated Monk

Inside one of the many niches in the temple area

Inside one of the many niches in the temple area

A Brown Buddha image

A Brown Buddha image

Incense Burner

Incense Burner

A Square Incense Burner - the kind we had been looking for

A Square Incense Burner - the kind we had been looking for

A different view of the pagoda

A different view of the pagoda

It was hot so after a couple of hours exploring all we could at the temple and inside the pagoda (only second floor opened) we decided to head back to Linfen.

In Linfen, Sophia's father let us off downtown to find some dinner. We decided on pizza. At first we thought about an all-you-can-eat place but Sunee said it would be a waste of money since she has never eaten more than one large piece of pizza in her life. We walked across the street and had a regular western style pizza.

The Big Pizza where one can have all the pizza in the world

The Big Pizza where one can have all the pizza in the world

A better and cheaper Pizza Place

A better and cheaper Pizza Place

Ordering a Pizza - the owners English was excellent

Ordering a Pizza - the owners English was excellent

Our Pizza Arrives

Our Pizza Arrives

This is My Pizza

This is My Pizza

Closeup of the Pizza to prove it really was Western-style

Closeup of the Pizza to prove it really was Western-style

After the pizza, Sunee decided she wanted to try some local snacks so we walked around searching for interesting if not weird things to eat.

An After pizza snack

An After pizza snack

More Snacks

More Snacks

With Sunee finally full, we walked back to our hotel and prepared to leave for Pinyao in the morning by train. Sophia had gotten us two tickets for in the mid morning.

Linfen is world famous for being the most polluted city on the planet. We did not feel nor did we see this pollution. Sophia assured us that the pollutions starts mostly in the winter when everyone burns their coal stoves. We did see this coal laying around at every open field and around every corner.

Posted by inchinahil 06:26 Archived in China Tagged china ancient_town courtyard_house buddhist-temple linfen shanxi_province

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