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Huludao, "Corridor of Western Liaoning"
    2007-01-03 17:19:55     CRIENGLISH.com

As one of the best-preserved ancient towns in China, Xingcheng is designed in the shape of a square and surrounded by the original city wall. There are four gate towers, one on each side. Like many aged towns, a bell and drum tower is located in the center of Xingcheng and has witnessed the town's ups and downs through years.

Another legendary spot in Xingcheng is the Baitayu, or White Pagoda Valley, named after a pagoda standing on a small hill 14 kilometers northwest of the town. Built in 1092, the pagoda was a Buddhist shrine during the Liao Dynasty.

The pagoda is 43 meters high in an octagonal shape and is reinforced with a solid-brick structure.

Corners on four sides of the pagoda contain statues of Buddha. In the eastern corner is Buddha the Imperturbable, on whose seat three elephants are carved. In the western corner is the Buddha of Infinite Qualities, on whose seat three peacocks are carved. In the southern corner is the Buddha the Source of Holy Things, on whose seat three horses are carved. In the northern corner is the Buddha of Unerring Performance, on whose seat three birds with golden wings are carved. The other four sides of the pagoda each have a carved brick tablet inscribed with a Buddhist motto. The outside walls of the pagoda are laid with hundreds of copper mirrors that gleam brightly under the sunshine. With its rich variety of carvings and shiny mirrors, the pagoda was called the Linglong Pagoda, which indicates the exquisite building skills of this masterpiece.

Apart from its historical interest, Xingcheng also boasts rich natural resources, such as the hot springs bursting forth since the Tang Dynasty more than 13 centuries ago. The mineral water is well known for its medicinal values. The area has been developed into a health center, with over 70 sanitariums.

Shoushan Mountain in Huludao is a national forest park with amazing scenery and fresh air. The mountain is dotted with pavilions, watchtowers and temples. Zhaoyang Temple is nestled in the middle of the mountain where visitors can watch the sun rise and the surging and ebbing of the waves of the Bohai Sea.

In the deep sea water, Chrysanthemum Island blossoms. With an area of 15 square kilometers, it is the largest island in Bohai Bay. It is blessed with leafy green vegetation, a collection of flowers and large orchards. It's little wonder the island has become a popular summer resort. If you get tired of the city's hustle and bustle, a few days' stay on Chrysanthemum Island is good choice. As you take a deep breath of the salty moist air and listen to the humming of the waves striking the seashore, you will know the true meaning of peace and quiet.

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