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There is an old Chinese Newyear blessing," With three yang (Yang meaning positive force in Chinese) begins prosperity." While introducing Shandong's tourism to this reporter recently, Li Deming, deputy director of the Shandong Provincial Tourism Bureau said that it is auspicious that the province has many representative tourist products which are related to the word "three".

Three HOMES-in Shandong

Shandong in east China is known as the "Home of Confucius and Mencius", "Home of Calligraphy", and "Home of folklore Culture".

Over 2,000 years ago, when China was in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, Confucius, the founder of the Confucian School, and Mencius, his successor, were born in the Lu Kingdom located in the southern part of the modern Shandong. The hometown of Confucius and Mencius is respectively in the present-day Qufu and Zoucheng.

Since Confucian School dominated ancient China, the hometown of Confucius and Mencius became well-known. Today, these places still boast rich cultural relics buried underground, as well as abundant cultural sites standing on the ground. Among those of extremely high historical and cultural value, are what are known as the "three Confucius" and "three Mencius", namely the Confucius Temple, Confucius Mansion and Confucius Forest", and the Mencius Temple, Mencius Mansion and Mencius Forest, where spacious rooms, grand halls, deep ancient courtyards, and tracts of tombs and tablets have become famous attractions for Chinese and foreign tourists.

cliff stone inscriptions at the top of Mt. Tai

clliff stone inscriptions at the top of Mt. Tai

While Chinese calligraphy is world-renowned, Shandong is known as a "home of Chinese calligrphy". Hidden in the temples and mountains of the province are innumerable ancient tabls and stone inscriptions, making it a treasure house of Chinese calligraphy. Half way up the Mount Taishan, there is a scenic spot called "Jingshiyu", where one can find an amazing 1,000 sq.m. in size. The inscrption is devoted to a famous Buddist scripture entitled "Diamond Sutra". More magnificent is a cliff carving on top of the Mount Taishan, which carries the famous "Inscription of Mount Taishan" written by Li Longji, an emperor of the Tang Dynasty. The imposing inscription can hardly serve as a reminiscence of the romantic character of the emperor who ahad and an extremely sentimental love story with Yand Yuhuan, his highest-ranking imperial concubine. In the Dai Temple at the foot of the mountain, there is a stone inscription entitled "Stone Inscription on Mount Taishan by Qin ' ershi" (the second emperor of the Qin Dynasty). It was the calligraphy in seal character of Li Si, afamous prime minister of the Qin Dynasty who was in power over 2,000 years age. Though there are only ten characters left, the tablet is considered of incredible value. Famous tablets in Shandong also include tablets and stone inscriptions of the Wei Dynasty on the Tianzhu Mountain in Pingdu and the Yunfeng Mountain in Laizhou, which are considered masterpieces of Chinese calligraphy.

farmer's wedding

farmer's wedding

In addition to traditional cultrure, the folklore of Shandong is also refreshing to toruists. The sea worshipping ceremony of the coastal areas in the jiaodong Peninsula and the Jiao zhou yangko (a popular rural folk dance) feature the unique folkore of the loca fishermen; the kites of Weifang, the wood-block New Year Picture of Yangjiabu, the paper cutting of Gaomi, and the colored glaze of Boshan are representatives of the farmer' s culture; and the folk handicrafts and customs of western Shandong are deep-rooted in the tradition of the Confucian Culture.

It is for sure that tourists can taste different charms in the "three homes" in Shandong.

"Three Mountains" in Shandong

The "three mountains" refer to the magnificent Mount Taishan, Mount Laoshan and Mount Mengshan featuring rich cultural heritage.

have a rest on Mt. Lao

have a rest on Mt. Lao

Rising from the North China Plain, the lofty Mount Taishan ranks first among the "Five Sacred Mountains" in China. "As stable as the Mount Taishan" is a famous Chinese idiom extolling the extraordinary grandeur of the Mount taishan, which is used to describle firmness and strength. Since "Tai" in Chinese carries the meaning of "peace", Mount Taishan also becomes a sybbol of a "prosperous country and peaceful life". As a result, many emperors, high-ranking officials of the imperial courts and men of letters of ancient times ascended the mountain to pay their homage, leaving behind rich cultrual legacies from the foot to the top, making the mountain a shrine of Chinese cultural history.

Stretching along the coast of the Yelow Sea and with vast hinterland behind, the rocky Mount Laoshan, which looks totally different from Mount Taishan, features the harmony of the land and the sea. Since the Song Dynasty and the Yuan Dynasty, Taoist temples emerged one after another in Mount Laoshan, making it a famous Taoist sacred place in China.

The scenic Mount Mengshan lying in the south of Shandong is known for its majesty, deep valleys, waterfalls and springs. It is said that there are 72 peaks and 36 caves in the mountain, of which the 1156-meter-high Guimeng Peak is the second highest in the province.

Every of the three mountains reveals interesting historic stories.



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