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.

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