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Home Travel in Hebei Cangzhou: Hometown of Acrobatics
Cangzhou: Hometown of Acrobatics
Travel in Hebei

CangzhouCangzhou (cāng zhōu 沧州) is an ancient city with long history. The Grand Canal (dà yùn hé 大运河) is passing through its territory from the north to the south for about 214 kilometers. The rich and generous culture left over from the ancient times has melted together the hometown of acrobatics, martial arts, casting, Ya pear, golden-thread jujubes, winter jujubes and the First Hometown of Overseas Chinese. These have made up a colorful and fascinating picture of folk customs along the Grand Canal. One of the original places for Pan Gu (pán gǔ 盘古) to create the universe in Chinese mythology just lies in Pangu Town, Qingxian (qīng xiàn 青县) County. Since ancient times, many dynasties set up district or county administration within the territory of Cangzhou.

Bian QueSince ancient times, there have been many celebrities in Cangzhou, such as Bian Que (biǎn què 扁鹊: a famous TCM physician during the Warring States Period), Jia Dan (jiǎ dān 贾耽: a geographer in Tang Dynasty), Ma Zhiyuan (mǎ zhì yuǎn 马致远: a famous playwright in Yuan Dynasty), Ji Xiaolan [jì xiǎo lán 纪晓岚: chief complier of Imperial Collection of Four (sì kù quán shū 四库全书) in Qing Dynasty], Zhang Zhidong[zhāng zhī dòng 张之洞: leading advocator of westernization movement (yáng wù yùn dòng 洋务运动), Governor of Guangdong (guǎng dōng 广东) and Guangxi (guǎng xī 广西) in Qing                          Bian Que                          Dynasty], HuoYuanjia  (huò yuán jiǎ 霍元甲: a             (click to enlarge the celebrities)         famous master of martial arts), etc.

Cultural Relics
At present, there are over 800 cultural relics in Cangzhou, such as ancient town site, tombs, bridges, as well as unearthed cultural relics.
martial artsAs one of the origins of Chinese martial arts, Cangzhou currently has 53 kinds of martial arts sects and boxing styles, which accounts for 40 percent of the total 129 kinds in China. Among which, Baji Boxing (bā jí quán 八极拳) and Pigua Boxing (pī guà quán 劈挂拳) have been listed in the Top 10 excellent traditional boxing styles to be recommended home and abroad. At present, there are over 640 boxing societies in Cangzhou. Hundreds and thousands of people are practicing martial arts. In 1992, Cangzhou was nominated by the State Physical Culture and Sports Commission (guó jiā tǐ yù yùn dòng wěi yuán huì 国家体育运动委员会) as Hometown of Martial Arts.

Chinese acrobaticsAs the birthplace of Chinese acrobatics, Wuqiao (wú qiáo 吴桥) acrobatics enjoys a high reputation for its long history, superb skills and large assembly of talents in the field of acrobatics. An old saying goes like that, “all the people in Wuqiao, be he an old man of 99 or a baby just learning to walk, can do tricks-playing.” Wuqiao has been praised as “Hometown of Acrobatics” and “the Cradle of World Acrobatic Art”.


Scenic Spots

     Iron Lion

The Iron Lion is located in Cangzhou City, 20 kilometers southeast of the Old City of Cangzhou Kaiyuan Temple (kāi yuán sì 开元寺). The iron lion has already had a history of more than one thousand years, and is the biggest and earliest iron casting of China in actual existence. It was made in the third year (953) of the Guangshun (guǎng shùn 广顺) reign of the Later Zhou (hòu zhōu 后周) Dynasty (951-961), with 5.4 m in height, 6.5 m in length, 3 m in width and 40 tons in weight. The Iron Lion has a perking head and glowering eyes, with a wide-open mouth, as if giving a long whistle to the sky and galloping in the open countryside. It looks so vigorous and nimble, bright and brave, majestic and awe-inspiring! The lion carries a basin of lotus on the back, wears a piece of cloth with colorful patterns around its waist, and a lacing on the fore breast. Three Chinese characters that mean king of lions are cast on both the top of its head and its neck. Seven characters that indicate the iron lion was cast in the third year of the Guangshun reign of the Later Zhou Dynasty are cast on the left part of its neck and around the teeth. Its belly is cast with the text of the diamond sutra, but most of it has become illegible because of desquamation. The foundry technique of the iron lion is very high: it was made by casting in several segments one upon another by using 409 pieces in total, showing the superb level of foundry technique of the Later Zhou Dynasty.

Take the bus at Cangzhou Bus Station to Jiuzhou (jiù zhōu 旧州), get off in the midway and walk towar east about 1 mile (It costs RMB 3).
Tel: 0317-2088786
Ticket: RMB 10

Iron Buddha Temple The Iron Buddha Temple is located at Dongguang (dōng guāng 东光) County, 60 kilometers to the southwest of Cangzhou City. According to Dongguang County Chronicle, it was originally named "Puzhao Temple" and was built in the Northern Song Dynasty in 973. The Buddha itself is an iron statue of Sakyamuni situated in the Great Buddha’s Hall with the height of 8.24 meters and the weight of over 48 tons, it is the largest iron-cast statue of Buddha in China The statue is very popular within China. The three Chinese characters meaning "Iron Buddha Temple" on the temple’s board were written by Mr. Zhao Puchu (zhào pǔ chǔ 赵朴初), former Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (zhōng guó rén mín zhèng zhì xié shāng huì yì 中国人民政治协商会议) and President of the China Buddhism Association (zhōng guó fó jiào xié huì 中国佛教协会).

Iron Buddha Temple In the Northern Song Dynasty, Dongguang County was often flooded by heavy rains. So the people decided to cast an iron Statue of Buddha to ease the blooding. They invited Master Ironsmith Zhang together with other hundreds of craftsmen from Wuqiao Town to cast it. When it was completed, the local people built a temple named "Puzhao Temple (pǔ zhào sì 普照寺)" which meant the Buddha would prevent Dongguang County from any calamity. 

Drive along Beijing-Shanghai Expressway, turn to Wuqian Road at Dongguang Exit, go west to the East Ring Road, follow it south until you come to the South Ring Road, and then go west, and you will get to your destination. You can also get there by taking the round-the-County-Seat minibus at Dongguang Railway Station. 

Baiyangdian Lake

Baiyangdian (bái yáng diàn 白洋淀) Lake is located in the Anxin (ān xīn 安新) town in Hebei Province. It is the largest fresh water lake in North China Plain. There are 146 lakes in large or small sizes, divided by 36 villages and 12,000-mu (15 mu = 1 hectare) reed marshes. These lakes are linked together by more than 3,700 ditches and river courses. Among them the Baiyangdian is the largest one. Thus the name of the lake comes into being.
The most attractive scene of Baiyangdian Lake is the water country. It varies with the seasons. In spring, the reeds cluster in the lake gives a green view of the lake. In summer, the lotus flowers begin to blossom to add beauty to the lake. In autumn the reed catkins wafts above the lake, which swarms with fishes and ducks.

Baiyangdian LakeAnd in winter the lake is ice-locked and smooth as jade. The famous scenic spots include the Mandarin Duck Island (yuān yāng dǎo 鸳鸯岛), the Folk Island (shuāng qīn dǎo 双亲岛), the Lotus-Flower Dian (hé huā diàn 荷花淀), and the Nine-Dragon Pool (jiǔ lóng tán 九龙潭) and so on. In the Mandarin Duck Island you can take the cable car and overlook the green and rippling surface of water. The Lotus-Flower Dian really is a world of lotus flowers. In spring, the small lotus buds appear and disappear in the water. And in summer, the Lotus-Flower Dian is filled with numerous lotus flowers, which compete to blossom and give off fragrance. It is too beautiful to describe.
One can take a wooden boat or an autoboat and tour along the river through tussock of reeds. The blue water, white reed catkins, together with groups of geese and ducks, present a beautiful landscape of watery region. Besides river tour, one can also taste delicious fish and shrimp. Moreover, viewing how fishermen net fish is another special attraction. Tourists may also jump into the shallow lake and work with them to experience their life, or fish with a fishing rod while boating. 
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Wuqiao Acrobatic World Wuqiao Acrobatic World (wú qiáo zá jì dà shì jiè 吴桥杂技大世界)is one of the first groups of National Grade AAAA Tourism Attractions. Within it, there are 8 main sceneries, such as Cultural City of Ancient Itinerant Entertainers (jiāng hú wén huà chéng 江湖文化城), Palace of Acrobatic Spectacles (hóng mǔ dān jù chǎng 红牡丹剧场), Palace of Fascinated Magic (mó shù mí huàn gōng 魔术迷幻宫), Acrobatic Folk Customs Garden (zá jì qí guān gōng 杂技奇观宫), and Comic Zoo (huá jī dòng wù yuán 滑稽动物园), etc. Within this concentrated acrobatic world, you can pursue the history and development of acrobatics, appreciate the cream of acrobatic arts, and experience acrobatics in all aspects on the scene. 
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Local Produce
golden-thread jujubesAt present, there are 23 star hotels and 59 travel agencies in Cangzhou. There are many well-equipped recreation facilities, such as golf course, bowling alley, etc. The delicate local handicrafts will give you a life-long memory of Cangzhou, such as embroidery, grass-woven crafts, and animal shoes, etc. And you can also have the delicious local produce such as sea foods, Ya pears, winter jujubes, golden-thread jujubes, and duck egg, etc.