Chinese Name: 明故城三孔旅游区
English Name: Minggu City; Sankong Scenic Area
Location: Jining, Shandong
Type: Ancient culture and art
Rating Level: AAAAA (5A)
Sankong Scenic Area is a World Cultural Heritage, one of the three holy cities in the world, a national AAAAA tourist attraction, a national scenic spot, a national key cultural relics protection unit, and the Beijing Palace Museum and Chengde Summer Resort are listed as three major ancient architectural complexes in China.
Confucius Temple 孔庙, built in 478 BC in Sankong Scenic Area, has been continuously expanded since then. It is an ancient architectural complex covering 327 hectares. It is the existing ancient architectural complex in China second only to the Forbidden City 故宫 in scale, a model of large ancestral temples in ancient China, one of the three ancient architectural complexes in China, an important position in the history of world architecture, and the second forest of steles in China.
The Confucius Mansion 孔府, also known as “Yansheng Mansion 衍圣公府”, was built in the Song Dynasty 宋朝 in Sankong Scenic Area. It is the place where Confucius’ descendants live. It is adjacent to the Confucius Temple in the west and covers an area of about 16 hectares. After the renovation in the Jiajing period of the Ming Dynasty, it became the aristocratic mansion in China, second only to the Forbidden City in Beijing, known as “the first in the world”.
The Confucius Forest 孔林, also known as the “Holy Forest”, is the cemetery of Confucius and his descendants. There are more than 100000 graves, covering an area of more than 3000 mu. It is the largest, longest-lasting, and most complete clan tomb group and artificial garden in China. It is an ancient artificial garden as well as a natural botanical garden.
What are worth visiting and seeing？
Dacheng Hall 大成殿 is the main building of the Sankong Scenic Area. It is nine rooms wide, five rooms deep, 32 meters high, 54 meters long, and 34 meters deep. It has nine ridges with double eaves, yellow tiles and flying colors, crisscross arches, carved beams and painted buildings, and a circular corridor. It is majestic and magnificent. There are 28 stone columns in the eaves, 5.98m high and 0.81m in diameter. The eighteen columns of the two mountains and the back eaves are carved with cloud dragon patterns, and each column has seventy-two dragons.
Lingxing Gate 棂星门 is the gate of Confucius Temple. It is said in ancient times that the Lingxing is a literary star in the sky, so the name implies that the country’s talents come forth in large numbers. Therefore, the ancient emperors first offered sacrifices to the Lingxing when they offered sacrifices to heaven, and the standard of offering sacrifices to Confucius is also like offering sacrifices to heaven. The Lingxing Gate was built in the 19th year of Qianlong’s 乾隆 reign in the Qing Dynasty (1754 AD). It has six columns and four columns, and iron beams and stone columns. At the top of the columns stands four stone statues of Heaven Generals, majestic and incomparable.
The Apricot Altar 杏坛 in the Sankong Scenic Area is said to be the place where Confucius gave lectures, in the middle of the courtyard in front of Dacheng Hall. In the second year of Tiansheng in the Northern Song Dynasty (AD 1024), an altar was built here. Apricots were planted around the altar, named Apricot Altar, to commemorate the historical story of Confucius’ lectures in the Apricot Altar.
Located on the forest path of Confucius Forest 孔林, the Wanguchangchun Square 万古长春坊 is a stone structure with six columns, five rooms, and five floors. The four characters “万古长春” in the top square of the side hall were carved when it was first built in the 22nd year of the Wanli 万历 reign of the Ming Dynasty 明代(1594). It is 22.71m long and 7.96m wide. During the reign of Emperor Yongzheng 雍正 in the Qing Dynasty, it was rebuilt and reinforced. The Stone Archway is carved with exquisite patterns such as dragon, phoenix, unicorn, steed, spotted deer, Guanhua, and auspicious clouds, which are magnificent and beautiful.
The picture of Bian Que practicing medicine 扁鹊行医图 is taken from Qufu Han Dynasty stone reliefs. The Bian Que is a human head and bird body, which shows that when people recall a generation of miracle doctors, they invariably myth him as a “Que” who goes all over the world and leaves good news for people according to the word “Bian Que”.
Bian Que has covered most of China. His superb medical skills not only benefited the people at that time but also helped future generations with his scientific theory of Chinese medicine. Those who have seen him will certainly not regard him as a bird; It is completely understandable that those who only heard his name but did not see his face, especially the people of the past dynasties behind him, deified him as a “bird” according to the traditional cultural accumulation when remembering the miracle doctor.