My trip to Chaozhou has set a personal milestone in my life, that is, on 10/24/15, the amount of cities I have traveled within China is equivalent to my physical age that year (24). To my surprise, the most beautiful aspect of the city is the Hanjiang river (汉江河), the river by far has the cleanest quality water in all my travels in China, even rivalling the beauty of Hangzhou’s West Lake. Fortunately, the weather was compliant and yielded clear blue skies embellished with the right amount of white clouds. The settings were all ripe to produce a great image of the Guangji bridge, which by far, is the most spectacular sight I have seen in China. It is basically a living portrait that is sandwiched by the natural canvas of the sky and water bellow. It was truly a site (sight) for sore eyes. This historic and scenic destination is probably the most representative of Chaozhou, arguably more than the local cuisine here that my Chinese national friends boast about.
The tower was erected in 1585 and renovated again in 1765. The stone enclosure surrounding the tower is decorated with various animalistic carvings of ancient China’s mythological creatures, along with animals representative of luck and fortune in the zodiac. During my visit, the tower grounds were not maintained well, moreover, the tower itself was still presently under renovation.
“广济桥在潮州市之东，广济桥是中国古代著名桥梁之一，始建于南宋乾道六年（１１７０年），历时５７年建成，全长５１５米，分东西两段１８墩，中间一段宽约百米，因水流湍急，未能架桥，只用小船摆渡，当时称济州桥。 明宣德十年（１４３５年）重修，并增建五墩，称广济桥；正德年间，又增建一墩，总共２４墩。桥墩用花岗石块砌成，是中国桥梁建筑中的一份宝贵遗产。中段用１８艘梭船联成浮桥，能开能合，当大船、木排通过时，可以将浮桥中的浮船解开，让船只、木排通过。然后再将浮船归回原处。这是中国、也是世界上最早的一座开关活动式大石桥。 此桥在明代曾大修过五次，并在桥墩上建起２４座形式不同的“望楼”(已毁)”
The Guanji Bridge is one of China’s four famous ancient bridges, constructed during the Song dynasty around year 1170, took around 57 years for the bridge to be fully built. The entire bridge stretches for about 515 meters, in the middle exists 18 individual small boats which together forms a pontoon bridge. The design of this pontoon bridge was intended to allows ships or boats to traverse between the centre of the bridge or to reduce the impact of a flood by funnelling the force of the flood into the centre and dispersing the pressure through the individual channels between the individual boats. The special feature of the Guangji Bridge is that the 24 design and style of each watchtower are unique and distinct from one another.
The Kaiyuan Temple echoes its existence since the Tang dynasty Kaiyuan 26 year (or year 738), through out the years the name of this temple ranged from “Kaiyuan Towns National Buddhist Temple” or “10,000 Longevity Palace”, however, its been commonly known as the Kaiyuan Temple up till present day. The temple has weathered 1200+ years of earthquakes, typhoons, lightning storms, and other time of natural disasters and historical wars; regardless of the damages the temple endured due to this events, the people throughout the time preserved its Tang-Song dynasty design and architecture. According to a modern ancient architecture professional, Japan’s famous Tokyo Buddhist Temple’s Song dynasty motifs are identical to Kaiyuan Temple’s own design, as a result, the temple has been honoured with the term of “the pearl of ancient architecture and art”.
Hanyu, 768~824, Han’s people and Heyin native, a Tang dynasty literarian, thinker, and philosopher. The secular world referred to him as Han Chang Li. He was Tang dynasty’s Classical Chinese movement initiator, advocated the learning of the Qin’s two Han people’s prose language and expanded the writing, usage, and expression of Classical Chinese. He became the milestone as he supported Confucian thought and opposed Buddhist ideologies.
Chaozhou Changli Old Office 潮州昌黎旧治坊
Chaozhou West Lake Park 潮州西湖公园
Extremely thankful to have the opportunity to experience the beauty of this city. I would definitely recommend a trip to Chaozhou, the Guangji Bridge is honestly the main attraction.
*Majority of contents are derived from the sources provided in the hyperlinks. Thus, the credit goes to the original authors of those links.
*These experiences were made possible by the Gilman Scholarship