Sunday, 13 September 2009

Chaozhou (Teochew)

Chaozhou 潮州

Guangji Gate 广济门城楼

Located at the east of the city, this gate was built in the Ming dynasty and faces the Han river and is directly opposite the Xiangzi Bridge.

Night view of the gate
Photobucket

Photobucket

The gate has a total of 3 levels, which is further sectioned into 5 rooms on each level.
Photobucket

A temple located directly opposite the gate in the 'old' city.
Photobucket

An overview of the gate in the day.
Photobucket

Xiangzi Bridge 湘子桥

Xiangzi Bridge is perhaps one of the most famous sights in Chaozhou and is one of the 4 ancient bridges of China. There was a famous saying that it would be a fruitless journey not to visit Chaozhou while in Guangdong; and that it would be a wasted trip not to visit the bridge while in Chaozhou. (到广不到潮,枉费走一遭, 到潮不到桥, 白白走一场). In addition, it is also said to be the earliest known example of a bridge which could open and close to allow vessels to pass through. Built in 1170, the bridge was named after Han Xiangzi 韩湘子 (one of the 8 immortals) and his grand-uncle Han Yu 韩愈.

A reproduction of an early map depicting the relative position of the bridge with the rest of Chaozhou.
Photobucket

Xiangzi Bridge being viewed from the upper levels of Guangji Gate. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1990 for restoration and preservation.
Photobucket

An overview of the 517.95m bridge during an early morning thunderstorm. Note the boats in the middle of the bridge; the 18 boats are rotated 90 degrees to link up together to close the bridge or parked parallel to each other to allow vessels to pass through.
Photobucket

The bridge viewed from the opposite bank of Han River. The gap is now closed as the boats had been linked up.
Photobucket

A view of some of the 24 pavillions along the bridge. However, some of these pavillions had been destroyed over the years and later rebuilt. In fact, there is a joke that "潮州风景好风流,二十四楼台二十四贵" (贵means courtesians in ancient China).
Photobucket

Kai Yuan Temple 开元寺

Chaozhou Kai Yuan temple has a mix of both Song and Tang dynasty architecture, and is also famed for a pair of ancient Bodhi trees which stand guard in the temple's courtyard.
Photobucket

This hall was built only in recent years to cater to the growing crowds during festive periods.
Photobucket

Han Wen Gong Memorial 韩文公祠

The memorial was built to honour Han Yu 韩愈, who was the local magistrate during the Tang dynasty. Some of his contributions include clearing the river of crocodiles and greatly raising the standards of living of the people.

A sculpture of a book with some of his famous words is placed at the entrance to the memorial.
Photobucket

Main Gate
Photobucket

The number and sequence of the steps leading to the main hall represents each year and significant events of his life respectively.
Photobucket

Main Hall
Photobucket

The highest hall of the entire memorial is a museum which lists the contribution
by him in Chaozhou.
Photobucket

View of Chaozhou to the west across the Han River. The river was renamed from E Xi 鳄溪 (which literally means Crocodile stream) to Han River 韩江 in honour of him.
Photobucket

The unusual roof design is a hallmark of Teochew architecture.
Photobucket

Bei Ge Fo Deng 北阁佛灯

Photobucket

This ornate lampole served to guide boats cruising on the Han River at night and also functioned as a landmark for the city for boats coming in to dock at night.
Photobucket

Han Jiang Bridge 韩江大桥 is one of the 2 major bridges that link Chaozhou to the north.
Photobucket

Tai Fo Dian 泰佛殿

There is a significant number of Teochew who had emigrated to Thailand (especially in Bangkok), and this Thai temple was built with donated by these overseas Chinese.

Photobucket

I found it highly interesting that the strong afternoon light had spread out into different colours of the rainbow after passing through the slits in the roof.
Photobucket

It sure looks that this shot was not taken in China!
Photobucket

Chaozhou Street Scenes 潮州街景

Trishaws are still a very common mode of transport in Chaozhou. Here a line of trishaws await their fares outside Kai Yuan Temple 开元寺.
Photobucket

A ride through the narrow back alleys of Chaozhou in the morning rain. Passengers are sheltered from the elements with a mix of plastic and canvas sheets and the odd umbrella fastened to the roof.
Photobucket

Fibreglass dolphin-shaped public telephone booths are scattered throughout the city
Photobucket

A sign of the times? The plate in front of the cart reads "Scrap Collector" 收废品.
Photobucket

Maximum efficiency in goods transportation.
Photobucket

Next Post: Shantou (Swatow)

No comments: