The Olympic flame arrived in Qufu, the hometown of Confucius in east China's Shandong Province on Monday evening.
The Olympic torch will kick off its relay on Tuesday morning and Tai'an later that day. It will be the sacred flame's third and fourth stop in Shandong Province. The fifth stop Jinan, the capital city of Shandong, will be the final leg in the province.
Confucius was born in Nishan, which is 30 kilometers southeast of Qufu City, and spent many years in Qufu giving lectures, accompanied by his disciples and followers.
A year after Confucius' death, many believers flocked to Qufu to listen to Confucius' disciples explain the doctrine, and the authority of Lu ordered the philosopher's home to be turned into a temple.
The torch relay of Qufu leg is going to set off at 8 am. A short launching ceremony would be held in front of the Hall of Great Accomplishment, the major structure of the Confucius Temple.
Covering a building space of 22 hectares and consisting nearly 500 rooms, the temple is one of the three largest ancient architectural complexes in China, second only to the size of the Forbidden City. The yellow tiles and red walls all covered with delicate decoration make the Temple extremely grand.
Along the route, the flame will visit some historic relics like the wall of the Kingdom of Lu, the tomb of Shao Hao, one of the five legendary emperors in ancient China.
A total of 100 torchbearers will participate in the 5.1-kilometer leg of the Olympic torch relay in Qufu.
Torchbearers are from all walks of life, including athletes, bankers, salesmen, teachers, firefighter, etc. Kong Peng, a local tour guide and a descendant of Kong family, will be the first bearer.
(Xinhua News Agency July 22, 2008)