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The Huaqing Hot Spring

Location】Lintong District, Xi'an City
Type】 Ancient Architecture
Rank】 ★★★★★
Recommended Time for a visit】 2--3 hours
Opening Hours
• Each April to October: 7:00-19:00
• Each November to March: 7:30-18:30

The Huaqing Hot Spring, 30km east of Xi'an, was once the playground of Tang dynasty emperors, though there have been buildings there as early as the Western Zhou, with later additions built during the Qin and Sui dynasties. The hot springs are famous because of Yang Guifei, a regular guest and the central character on one of China's most enduring legends of ill-fated love.

The Huaqing Hot Spring.jpgHuaqing (Hua means brilliant, Chinese or flowery; qing means pure or clear) Hot Spring is located about 35 kilometers east of the city of Xi'an, at the foot of Li Mountain. The present day site is only a small part of the Tang Dynasty Palace, covering an area of 85,560 square meters. Entering by the west gate to the hot spring, you will see Nine Dragon Pool, Lotus Flower Pool and Frost Drifting Hall. All these structures were rebuilt in 1959 according to the Tang architectural style.

Li Palace was first built during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045 – 256 BC) at the foot of Li Mountain, a branch of the Qinling Range, which divides north and south Shaanxi. Standing 1,256 meters high, it is covered with pines and cypresses and looks very much like a dark green galloping horse from a long distance away. In ancient times, Li meant a pure black horse, and this is how the mountain and then the palace got their name. Huaqing Hot Spring is also located there at the foot of Li Mountain.

In the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC), a stone pool was built and was given the name Li Mountain Hot Springs. The site was enlarged during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), and was once again named Li Palace. During the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), firstly Emperor Taizong ordered enlargement of the palace. Then Emperor Xuanzong, his successor, then had a walled palace built around Li Mountain in the year of 747. It was then known as Huaqing Palace, or Huaqing Hot Spring, because of the hot spring there.

The Tang Emperor Xuanzong used to spend his wintertimes at Huaqing Hot Spring in the company of his favorite concubine Yang. Yang Guifei, also known as the fat concubine as well-proportioned women were considered the epitome of beauty during the Tang dynasty, was a girl of humble origins but of exceptional beauty. She attracted the attention of Tang dynasty emperor Xuanzong, who became so enamored by her beauty, he ignored his imperial duties. As the emire began to crumble from rebellion, the emperor was forced to flee Xi'an. While on the run, the emperor's courtiers, forced the emperor to order her to hang herself. The emperor, literally sick with grief, abdicated the throne to one of his sons.

The natural springs are considered to have beneficial minerals and there are several places to bathe.The Hot Spring Bathhouse offers private baths, but communal bath-houses have more of the local atmosphere and are inexpensive.

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