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Hefei

The Mining City

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  • General Information

    Other Name: NA, District: Anhui, State: East China, China
    Area: 7266 kmĀ²
    Languages Spoken: Mendarin
    Long Distance Code: +86551
    Importance: The city has developed an aluminum industry and a variety of light industries.
    Best Time to Visit: October to December and April
    International Access: Connected to all major Chinese cities by air and roadways and also by rail.
  • Description

    Hefei, "Junction of the (South) Fei Rivers"; former names: Ho-fei, Luzhou, Luchow) is a prefecture-level city and the provincial capital of Anhui province, China.
  • Location

    Hefei is located 130 km (81 mi) west of Nanjing.
  • Climate

    Tropical Humid Climate
Chao Lake is located in the middle of Anhui Province and is one of the five largest fresh-water lakes in China. The lake is named for its resemblance to a bird's nest. As the legend goes, the site of Chao Lake was once a city called Chaozhou. One day, an old lady named Jiao had a premonition that the city would soon sink. She informed people living in the city of this bad news and led them to safety. To commemorate this great old lady, the lake was also called Jiao Lake later on.

Covering an area of about 750 square kilometers (290 square miles), Chao Lake is a national key scenic spot. The lake is dotted with many tourist sites, such as Laoshan Island, Zhongmiao Temple, the three famous hot springs - Bantang, Tang Pool and Fragrant Spring, four national forest parks and five water-eroded caves.

Located at the center of Chao Lake, Laoshan (Mt. Lao) Island is the most renowned site. Many cultural sites are scattered on the island, such as Wenfeng Pagoda, Shengfei Temple, Nantang Port and some other pavilions. Built in 1631, Wenfeng Pagoda is an octagonal brick building with a height of about 50 meters (164 feet). On the walls of each storey are inscribed some epigraphs and poems. The pagoda also houses about 802 Buddhist figures and 25 horizontal boards.

Zhongmiao Temple is situated on the northern bank of Chao Lake. Reconstructed during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the temple consists of the front hall, the middle hall and the rear hall. Buddhist activities are mainly held in the middle hall. In the temple is enshrined the statue of Bi Xia Yuan Jun, a Taoist deity. At present, people go there mainly to appreciate the magnificent vista of Chao Lake instead of worshiping the god and praying for blessings.

Bantang, Tang Pool and Fragrant Spring are the three most celebrated hot springs around the lake. Bathing in the hot springs is good for your health. It can cure several kinds of diseases, for example, skin disease.

Chao Lake has abundant aquatic products such as silver fish, shrimps and crabs which are reputed as the 'Three Treasures'. Paying a visit there, tourists can have a feast of the 'Three Treasures' while appreciating the appealing scenery.
Lord Bao (999-1062), named Bao Zheng, was a renowned officer in the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127). He is well respected because of his excellent personality, fair-minded judgments and strict family education. In commemoration, many memorial temples were built after his death. Among them the Memorial Temple of Lord Bao is the most famous one. This temple lies in Baohe Park in the southeastern part of his hometown, Hefei City. The current appearance of the temple is the result of reconstruction in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).

Entering the beautiful park, walking through the stone gate and along the small path by the lake, you will find the temple in front of you. It is a typical compound with houses around a courtyard. There is a incense burner donated by a pilgrim standing in the yard. The main palace with five halls is the highlight of the temple.

In the center of the palace is a huge seated statue of Lord Bao, measuring about nine feet. He is holding a scepter in one hand and a pen in the other. The dignified, serious expression on his face represents his impartial and incorruptible moral character. Four bodyguards stand on two sides of him. Instruments of torture, which are recognized as symbols of justice are on the left of the statue. A stone portrait of Bao Zheng is inlayed in the right wall of the hall. In the eastern and western halls display items related to Lord Bao.

To the east of the hall is a hexagonal pavilion with a well in it. There are stone inscriptions on the wall of the pavilion which relate that a corrupt officer once got a terrible headache as soon as he drank water from the well, but some kindhearted persons tasted the water and found it as sweet as honey. Due to this the well is also called Honest Well. To the west of the hall is Liufang Pavilion where, it is said, Bao often studied when he was young.

There is an inscription stone in the temple which was found in the tomb of Bao Zheng in Daxingji County, Hefei City in April, 1973. This inscription stone records detailed information of Bao's whole life that is helpful for a further understanding of him.

The sites of the newly built Waxwork Museum of Lord Bao and Cultural Gallery of Lord Bao deserve your visit as well.