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Mengjiangnu Temple

Updated:2008-06-05 14:59 | Source:

  Emperor Qin Shihuang has long been known as one of China's cruelest rulers. It was in one of his displeasured moods that he sentenced a fairly talented young man, Wan Jiang, to backbreaking work on the magnificently impractical Great Wall (Changcheng), for the views that this man held opposing imperial pleasure. Wan was sent to work on a stretch of the wall in its easternmost region, near to the seaside town of Shanhaiguan.

  Wan's wife, a beautiful woman known as Lady Meng, travelled a huge distance after months of worry, nominally to give her husband clothing for the winter. On arrival, Lady Meng searched through the thousands of withered workers on the wall. After many months, the heartbroken lady, still walking along the wall, was drawn to tears, and the heavens, hearing her cries, were moved...as was the wall. The section that she was near, crumbled before her, revealing the bones of her husband and numerous other workers who had died from exhaustion. Lady Meng, finally broke, hurling herself into the sea from a boulder.

  The Mengjiangnu Temple (Meng jiangnu miao) was first built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and then reconstructed in the Ming (1368-1644), to commemorate this courageous and enduring heroine. The original statues inside survived until the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), when Red Guards destroyed the elegant pieces. The Government had them remade, in approximate likeness, in the late 1970s. The temple is not very big, but is elegantly built and has some good views of the mountains and sea. There are a number of sights here, including a 108-step Stairway, 108 being a Buddhist number representing the troubles that plague man, a Looking for Husband Rock, which has some interesting calligraphy, a Bell Pavilion, a Front Hall, a Back Hall and the Eye of the Sea, with some fantastic views.

  How to get there: Take Bus No. 23 from outside the South Gate, or Bus No. 34, getting off at the Shanhaiguan Stop.

  Opening Hours: Daily; 08:00-18:00.

  Costs: RMB15 (May-Sep.); RMB10 for the other months.

Editor : Zhang Yun

Opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics