Friday, September 13, 2013

Qufu: Home of Confucius

The Confucius temple grounds in 1984
The Confucius temple in Qufu, the town where the ancient Chinese philosopher was born and died,  tops a CNN list of 15 ancient and unknown ruins in the world.

Confucius was born there in 551 BC and died there in 479 BC. He was buried on the banks of the River Si and a temple built in his honor. Over the centuries, a cemetery has grown up around his grave; more than 100,000 members of the Kong family, his descendants, are buried there. The article notes the Kong Family Mansion contains relics and monuments to Confucius.

A proud Qufu mom
I visited Qufu on my very first visit to China back in 1984. It was one of the highlights of that trip. We stayed in a small hotel in the Confucius compound and walked over the temple grounds. We played ping pong - ping pong diplomacy was a big deal back then. I went for a walk though the city and snapped this picture of a Chinese mom and her toddler. It was my favorite photo of the whole trip. We took a bus ride through the cemetery and came upon a funeral taking place. Our guide urged us to leave the bus and join the mourners and was mystified we felt this was a private occasion, not another public attraction.

Qufu is located in Shandong Province, between Jinan and Nanjing, two other cities that I visited on this tour for American journalists.

Are you going to China?

If you're planning a trip to China, check out Cheryl's China for tips and suggestions of things to do. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about travel in China. Or, you can leave a comment below this post.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2 of world's most visited museums are in China

Surprisingly, the Forbidden City is not on list of world's most-visited museums.
Two museums in Beijing get enough visitors every year to place them in the top 20 of the world's most visited museums, according to a report on museum attendance from Themed Entertainment Attractions.

A summary article, published on CNN, lists the Louvre in Paris as the world's most visited museum, with 9.5 million visitors in 2012. Coming in at No. 14 was the National Museum of China, located on Tiananmen Square. The museum,  opened in 2003, combines the National Museum of Chinese History and the National Museum of the Chinese Revolution.  No. 19 was the Geological Museum of China, which turns 100 years old in 2016.

I was surprised the Forbidden City, which gets as many as 20,000 visitors a day (more on holidays) wasn't on the list. Also missing was the Great Wall of China, the world's longest outdoor museum. There must have been a good reason for this, like maybe they didn't keep proper records. If you've ever been to the Palace Museum, as the Forbidden City is officially known, you'd quickly put them on this list.

No. 12 on the list was the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, which contains the possessions of PuYi, the toddler who was China's last emperor.

Are you going to China?

If a trip to China is in your travel plans, check out Cheryl's China, my website that is filled with tips and suggestions for your travel to the Middle Kingdom.