Zhenyuan is an ancient town in the eastern part of Guizhou province, 3
hours drive from Kaili.
Zhenyuan Black Dragon Cave
is an architectural complex of the Ming and Qing Dynasties consisting
of six parts(Black Dragon Cave, Ziyang Academy, Zhongyuan Buddhist
Temple, Longevity Palace, Prayer Bridge and Lotus Blossom Pavilion.)
Its layout and design rely on a skillful incorporation of cliffs and
Zhenyuan has long been an ancient town of the Miao people. Its long
history endows the town with many rich and generous cultural relics,
making it much like a historic garden.
The Dragon Boat Festival, held on May 25th of every year, is the
most ceremonious celebration in Zhenyuan.
The town covers only an area of 3.1 square kilometers (about 1.2 square miles) but greets you with
more than 160 scenic spots including caves, palaces, pavilions,
temples and rivers with their unique architecture, exquisite
engravings and marvelous natural landscape. Among them are the famous Wuyang River Scenic Area and elegant ancient complex in the the Black
Dragon Cave (Qinglong Cave) - beckoning sights not to be missed by any
visitor to eastern Guizhou.
Zhenyuan is sheltered by the mountains. It is a land-and-water
transportation center since early times. In 202 BC, the town became a
county instituted by Han Gaozu, Emperor Liu Bang, and then in 1956 -
the capital of southeast Guizhou Autonomous Prefecture. Cut through by
the Wuyang River, the town is divided into two parts: south 'Wei City'
and north 'Fu City', which forms a water town. Hence it is
well-reputed as the 'Oriental Venice'.
Wuyang Three Gorges,
a 35-kilometer-waterway, is the most beautiful section of the whole
scenic area. It consists of Dragon King Gorge, East (Zhu Ge) Gorge and
West Gorge. Secluded caves, gurgling springs, rugged rocks, dangerous
passes and spectacular waterfalls interspersed on the mountains of
both banks along the three gorges endow the Wuyang River, along with
the dangers of Yangtze River Three Gorges and the elegance of Li River
in Guilin. Each scenic spot has been given a fanciful name according
to their beautiful legends. Shanmu River is one of the ten scenic
spots of the National Wuyang Scenic Area. The river is limpid, pure
and a little greenish, which is well matched with the flourishing
verdant plants growing on the surrounding mountains. Moreover, rafting
is a most exciting and pleasant experience. After enjoying the rafting
on Shanmu River, a visit to
Mount Yuntai (Cloudy Terrace)
should be on the itinerary. Featured with the typical Karst
physiognomy, Mount Yuntai, wreathed in cloud and mist all year round,
is a popular tourist attraction. Primitive forests, fantastic flowers
and plants and enigmatic valleys, with rare animals moving lively
through, make the mountain a natural treasury. Temples, pavilions and
stone inscriptions built during the Ming Dynasty are well-preserved
and towering on the Mountain. Since Buddhist followers used to prefer
staying here to cultivate their morality, it has become an old-line
Buddhist resort of Guizhou Province.
Wuyang River Scenic Area
Flowing through the Miaoling Mountains, the charming and lively
Wuyang River runs 95 kilometers (about 59 miles) from Huangping to
Zhenyuan, finally into Yuanjiang River in Hunan Province. Its
scenic spots in Zhenyuan, Shibing and Huangping, three counties of
Kaili, combine beautifully to form the National Wuyang Scenic
Area. Famous for its beautiful landscape, historic sites and dense
minority ethnic customs, Wuyang River Scenic Area, covering 625
square kilometers (about 241 square miles), is geographically
divided into Upper (Shang) Wuyang between Huangping and Shibing
and Down (Xia) Wuyang from Shibing to Zhenyuan. Within these two
sections, the most sightworthy and impressive scenery could be
enjoyed in Zhenyuan Ancient Town.
Whether you walk along or take a cruise on the Wuyang River, it
will bring you one surprise after another. Grotesque gorges,
perilous peaks and crystal-like waters present a wonderful picture
before you, as if you were entering a wonderland.
The Black Dragon Cave (Qinglong Cave)
The Black Dragon Cave is in fact an ancient temple complex
located on Zhonghe Mountain to the east of
and covers an area of some 21,000 square meters (approximately
226,050 square feet),
and is the centerpiece of the all ancient
monuments in Zhenyuan.
The Black Dragon Cave Temple is also known by including
single and multi-storied pavilions, temples, shrines, palaces and
so on. The Black Dragon Cave was built
during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and its current shape is the
result of several renovations.
With many separate buildings, the Black Dragon Cave encompasses
Zhusheng Qiao (Zhusheng Bridge), Zhongyuan Temple, Ziyang Shuyuan
(academy of classical learning), Yuhuang Ge (Jade Emperor
Pavilion), Longevity Palace, Xianglu Yan. Among the ancient
complexes of Zhenyuan, even if its close to the town, the Black
Dragon Cave has preserved its natural appearance.