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Zhenjiang -- Where River Meets Canal
Zhenjiang, seventy kilometers west of Nanjing, lies on the south bank of the Yangtze River in central Jiangsu Province. The Beijing-Shanghai Railway passes the city, and the Grand Canal and the Yangtze River meet here.

An ancient city with a history going back 2,500 years, Zhenjiang occupies a strategic position, being screened on three sides by the Jinshan, Beigu, and Jiaoshan hills (from west to east). Although the hills are only about a hundred meters high, they appear to rise majestically beside the Yangtze.

Gold Hill Temple (Jinshansi)

This temple was built some 1,600 years ago on Jinshan Hill on a spot where gold had been found. There are several temple buildings on the slope of the hill. At its top the seven-storied octagonal wooden Benevolence and Longevity Pagoda (Cishouta) commands a panoramic view of Zhenjiang. Keeping Hill and is a popular spot for watching the moon at the Mid-Autumn Festival.

There is a legend about this temple. A white snake turned into a girl and married a young scholar named Xu Xian. Abbot Fa Hai tried again and again to undermine their marriage. Out of indignation, the white snake summoned a deluge and flooded Gold Hill Temple.

Dinghui Temple

Jiaoshan Hill rises over seventy meters above sea level in the middle of the Yangtze. Dinghui Temple at its foot comprises some magnificent buildings, including Hall of Heavenly Kings (Tianwangdian), Grand Hall, and Sutra Storage Tower (Cangjianglou).

Precious Ink Chamber (Baomoxuan)

Located to the east of Dinghui Temple, this structure houses over 260 inscribed stone tablets dating from various periods since the third century. Many are masterpieces of calligraphy. The most famous inscription is said to have be written by Wang Xizhi (321-379), the master calligrapher of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, to mourn the death of a crane.

Morning Dew Temple (Ganlusi)

Built on Beigu Hill from 256 to 258, the temple is said to be where King Liu Bei of the Kingdom of Shu met with some intrigue during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). Liu Bei had "borrowed" Jingzhou (today's Jiangling in Hubei Province) from King Sun Quan of the Kingdom of Wu, but showed no intention of returning it. Under a scheme worked out be Wu general Zhou Yu, Sun Quan invited Liu Bei to Zhenjiang, presumably to marry his sister. But Sun's real intention was to take Liu Bei hostage and force him to give Jingzhou back to Wu. However, Zhu Yu's plot was seen through by Shu Prime Minister Zhuge Liang (181-234), who sent Shu's gallant general Zhao Yun to accompany Liu Bei to Zhenjiang. In the end, Liu Bei succeeded I marrying Sun's sister. Wu not only lost the girl but suffered a heavy military setback in an ensuing battle with Shu.

Plentiful Sights Tower (Duojinglou) is the most beautiful place in the temple, claiming to be the "first tower under heaven." The gate to Morning Due Temple is inscribed with the words "first river and hill under heaven," said to be in the handwriting of Emperor Wu Di of the Liang Dynasty over 1,400 years ago.


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