Friday, July 17, 2009

Exploring the Magic of Qufu

[posted on behalf of Abby D.]

Our morning was spent at the Confucian Temple in Qufu. There are several temples to Confucius in China, but this one is located in his birthplace and is the largest. First built in 478 BCE, less than two years after Confucius’ death, the temple was enlarged and expanded over the years by successive emperors who wanted to show their veneration for the influential teacher. Our walk took us through a series of gates, pavilions and halls surrounded by majestic trees, some of them very ancient. One of the cypress trees in the complex is approximately 1300 years old! Fern had done research on Confucius and the Qufu temple, and was left amazed that one man has left such an enduring legacy.

Our guide for this portion of the trip, Mr. Zhu, was born and raised in Qufu and has many interesting stories to tell. His knowledge about Confucius and his thoughts on life in China today have been very informative.

The afternoon took us to the Confucius family mansion and the family cemetery. Seventy-seven generations of family descendants lived in the mansion up until the 1940’s. Many of us particularly enjoyed the tranquil garden in the back of the mansion.

Tomorrow’s destination is Mt. Tai (Taishan). The question now is how many of us will climb the whole way and how many will take the cable car for a portion of the climb. To be determined…

Photos: 1) Erika, Huajing, Mr. Zhu, and Ian at the Confucius Temple, 2) Stele pavilion, 3) the group at the Confucius cemetery

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