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Penglai-Fairyland of the Orient
penglai
Penglai City (Pénglái Shì 蓬莱市), is a port, a town and an administrative subdivision of Yantai City (Yāntái 烟台)in Shandong Province, northeastern China. The port was formerly called Dengzhou (dēngzhōu 登州). Penglai Water City or Water Fortress (shuíchéng 水城), a fortified harbor hidden from the sea, is one of China's oldest military ports, built in 1376 under the Ming Dynasty (míng dài 明代) and is a protected historical monument. It was "the harbor for the fleet of imperial war junks and town for the semi-imperial garrison." The Water City is currently being rebuilt at a cost of 500 million yuan (more than 60 million dollars). There is a plank walk along the cliffs nearby.

penglai portPenglai was the first port on the Shandong peninsula that was opened to foreigners in the 1800s, so it was the first place Christian missions were established. Subsequently, it was overshadowed by the port of Yantai, 55 miles to the west. Its scenery has earned the city fame as the fabled spot where the Eight Immortals set out floating over the ocean from the Red Cliffs (dān yá 丹崖) there. Because of this connection with the immortals, the Emperors Qin Shi Huang (qín shǐ huáng 秦始皇) and Han Wu Di (hàn wǔ dì 汉武帝) both came to Penglai looking for an elixir of immortality.

The city is also famous for its mirages out at sea, which are frequent during May and June.

History
qinshihuangPenglai is said to be the place where Qin Shi Huang, the first Chinese emperor, sent off five hundred boys and five hundred girls on ships to the east, to look for the islands of immortality. "There are tales of a mystic dolphin seen from the cliffs above, at which the mighty Emperor cast an impotent spear and knew that his days were numbered.

"The gray walls of the city itself are crowned by gate towers of three stories instead of the usual two, because the uncle of the first Emperor of the Sui dynasty (suí cháo 隋朝) (A.D. 589-618) was once prince of that territory."
 
Tourism
penglai
Penglai has been ranked as one of China's top domestic tourist destinations. Recently, more than US$ 25 million has been invested into restoring and developing its characteristic tourist areas, including the Penglai Pavilion and the Penglai Water Fortress.

The Penglai Pavilion is a large park of ancient buildings, palaces and temples, that have been restored and rebuilt. It has been a tourist goal for more than a thousand years, and the site features inscriptions from famous poets and calligraphers like Su Shi (sū shì 苏轼) and Dong Qichang (dǒng qí chāng 董其昌).
 
penglai qijiguangAmong other cultural attractions of Penglai are the Naval Museum with exhibits of ancient ships, and the restored residence of the famous patriotic general Qi Jiguang (qī jì guāng 戚继光). Penglai also has the largest ocean aquarium in Asia. It includes a polar area, a shark hall, a tropical rainforest, and a theater with mermaids, dolphins and sea lions.
A picturesque festival takes place in January for the birthday of Tianhou (tiān hòu 天后), a local sea goddess.
 
Tourism is a traditional industry of Penglai. It has matured in the last few years, becoming the mainstay of Penglai’s economy. Each year, more than 2 million tourists are expected.

Penglai Pavilion
 penglai
Penglai Pavilion or Penglai Pagoda (Pénglái Gé 蓬莱阁)is a famous tower in Penglai. It is noted as one of the Four Great Towers of China, although it is occasionally it is not listed due to its lack of a famous literary piece. It is known as the landing place of the Eight Immortals and famous for its occasional mirages. The dividing line between the Yellow Sea (huáng hǎi 黄海) and Bohai sea (bó hǎi 渤海) is also marked and clearly visible from the area.

Location: Northwest of the Red Cliffs, Penglai
Admission Fee: CNY 70
 
Ocean Aquarium
penglai ocean aquariumOcean Aquarium of Penglai is located at the south of Changdao Passenger Wharf Penglai Shandong, with total investment of 460 million yuan, display area of 52,800m2, collecting approximately one thousand of marine lives over the world such as polar bear, white whale, penguin, walrus, sea lion, dolphin, etc. Integrates view, entertainment, interest, adventure and excitement with the reflection of the marine culture and marine science and technology, it acquaints people with more knowledge of the ocean through the method of dynamic and static to increase the awareness of ecological protection. Being the largest in scale and the richest in the content displayed in Asia, it is granted “Provincial Scientific Permeation Educational Base” by the Association of Science and Technology of Shandong Province, “National Scientific Permeation Educational Base” by Chinese Society of Oceanography and AAAA Scenic Spot by China National Tourism Administration.

Location: NO.88, Haigang Road (hǎi gǎng lù 海港路), Penglai
Admission Fee: CNY 120

The Eight Immortals View  Area
penglaiThe Eight Immortals (Bāxiān 八仙) are a group of legendary xian ("immortals; transcendents; fairies") in Chinese mythology. Each Immortal's power can be transferred to a power tool (fǎ qì 法器) that can give life or destroy evil. Together, these eight tools are called "Covert Eight Immortals" (àn bā xiān 暗八仙). Most of them are said to have been born in the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝) or Song Dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝). They are revered by the Taoists, and are also a popular element in the secular Chinese culture. They are said to live on Penglai Mountain-Island.

The Immortals are:

eight immortals Immortal Woman He (hé xiān gū 何仙姑), 
 Royal Uncle Cao (cáo guó jiù 曹国舅), 
 Iron-Crutch Li (tiě guǎi lǐ 铁拐李), 
 Lan Caihe (lán cǎi hé 蓝采和), 
 Lü Dongbin (lǚ dòng bīn 吕洞宾) 
 Philosopher Han Xiang (hán xiāng zǐ 韩湘子), 
 Elder Zhang Guo (zhāng guǒ lǎo 张果老), and 
 Zhongli Quan(zhōng lí quán 钟离权).
 
Location: NO.8, Haibin Road (hǎi bīn lù 海滨路), Penglai 
Admission Fee: CNY 40
 
Click here to get more travel information from China Travel Service
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 April 2010 19:19
 

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