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Henan

Henan (South of the River) is in Mid-China. Part of the cradle of Chinese civilization, the oracle bones with the earliest Chinese writings were found here. Several ancient capitals are also located here, as well as China's first Buddhist temple, the Luoyang Grottoes. Henan's capital city, Zhengzhou, 20 km south of the Yellow River. Zhengzhou has the Provincial Museum, one of the best in China, ancient palace ruins and city walls. Dahecun ( River Village) is a 5000-year-old site of Neolithic cultures and ruins of the Shang dynasty, the second dynasty in history.

75 km SW of Zhengzhou is Songshan Mountain, one of the 5 most famous mountains in China. It is also famous for the Shaolin Monastery, where generations of monks have practiced China's martial arts. The monastery has a Pagoda Forest, where over 240 miniature pagodas were built. A 40-meter-high pagoda at another temple is the oldest existing pagoda in China.

Kaifeng, 75 km east of Zhengzhou, 10 km south of the Yellow River, was the capital of several dynasties. Built 2600 years ago, the city saw 12 recorded terrible Yellow River floods, but Kaifeng still stands intact today, with its well-preserved earth city wall. A delightful Song-dynasty street was built after an ancient painting of the city.

Another ancient capital is Luoyang, 25 km south of the Yellow River. It is important because of the Longmen Grottoes and the White Horse Temple. Longmen Grottoes rank the top three among China's nineteen cave temples. The grottoes extend 1000 meters. There are over 100,000 Buddhist images, ranging in size from 2 cm to 17.14 meters. The White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China, had its name from a white horse ridden by 2 Indian monks who brought scriptures to China. There is also the Tomb of Guan Yu, Chinese God of War. Luoyang produces exquisite palace lanterns and reproductions of 3-color Tang porcelains.

Anyang, one of the oldest cities in China, was once the capital of China's first dynasty, the Xia (summer). It is here that China's earliest writing on tortoise shells were found. The Yin Ruins include palace foundations, royal tombs, bronze and jade artifacts. The Yuan Mausoleum holds the remains of an ambitious Qing official who declared himself emperor in 1915 and died in 1916.

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Site Created: September 16, 1998; Updated: September 23, 2007.