5-12 earthquake did some damage to the tourist facilities of Dujiangyan irrigation and Mt Qingcheng. Tourism there is thus suspended. It is believed that both sites will be reopened on September 29th.Brief introductionWorld Cultural Heritage Site Constructed in 256 BC under the leadership of governor Li Bing, the Dujiangyan irrigation system was the world‘s oldest and only damless project that is still functioning, distributing waters of the Min River to the farmland of the Chengdu Plain, supporting a population over 10 million today. It best embodies the ancient Chinese philosophy: Respect Nature. The irrigation system consists of three sections: the Fish Mouth, which splits the Min River into the inner and outer rivers, the Feisha Dike, which helps reduce the amount of silt carried by the inner Min River before it flows into the Baopingkou ("mouth of the treasure bottle") Aqueduct, the third section which leads the waters into the Chengdu Plain. The bed of the outer river is convex while that of the inner river is concave. This fact, an integral part of Li Bing‘s original design, results in less slit going into the inner river which is primarily used for irrigation.
The Feisha Dike is situated at the point where the inner Min River makes its first turn after split from the outer Min River at the Fish Mouth. Li Bing and his people cleverly used the fact that the waters flow at different speeds at the river turn, with the outer ring moving slowly and thus carrying most of the slit, which is then filtered at the dike and goes back into the outer Min River (which eventually merges into the Yangtze River). The dike also adjusts the capacity of the inner river for irrigation such that it carries 40% of the water capacity in the entire Min River in a flood season while 60% of the capacity in a drought season.
The Baopingkou Aqueduct is a passage cut through the Yulei Mountain. Before the invention of explosives, the builders accomplished this by repeatedly heating the rock with wood fires and cooling the rock with the water from the river below to crack and weaken it. The strenuous work lasted seven years before the mountain finally yielded the openning.
Located in Sichuan Province, southwest China, Qingcheng Mountain is one of the birthplaces of the Taoist religion. With over 20 temples and religious sites for Taoism, it exudes a strong flavor of Taoist culture and the buildings demonstrate the Sichuan style of architecture.
Large stone inscriptions by Huang Yunhu of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) are prominent on the mountain, reading "the fifth famous mountain under the sun", and the first peak in Qingcheng Mountain". A 2.9-m-high and 4.5-ton statue of Li Bing, made 1,800 years ago, the first altorilievo stone sculpture in Chinese history, is now on display in a hall on the mountain after its excavation from a riverbed in 1974. Inscriptions recording water management methods, maps of Dujiangyan made in the Qing Dynasty and testimonials to Li Bing and his son are also on display, side by side with precious art works by several famous modern painters such as Xu Beihong, Zhang Daqian and Guan Shanyue.
Qingcheng Mountain is a representative site of Taoist culture. Major religious sites here include the Natural Picture (a building complex immersed in Nature), the Jianfu Palace, the Tianshi Cave, the Zushi Palace, and the Shangqing Palace. All structures are shaded by dense woods and embraced by nature.
1. Jianfu Palace
The Jianfu Palace, with extraordinary bearing, stands against the barranca under the Zhangren Peak. It was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and repaired for several times in the successive dynasties, now only two halls and three compounds are preserved.
2. Tianshi Cave
The Tianshi Cave, perching on a cliff with only a small path leading to its entrance, houses statues of Fuxi, Shennong and Xuanyuan (three legendary primeval kings of the Han people) on its main altar, made in the Tang Dynasty. The palace contains wood and stone tablets of past dynasties. The most famous include the Tang Xuanzong‘s imperial decree and Yuefei‘s handwriting of Zhu Geliang‘s Chushibiao, etc.
3. Zushi Palace
The Zushi Palace is also named Zhenwu Palace. It was built in the Tang Dynasty, with murals of the Eight Immortals and inscriptions left by famous writers through the dynasties in the main hall.
4. Shangqing Palace
The Shangqing Palace situates on the peak at an elevation of 1,600 meters. The Shangqing Palace was first built in the Jin Dynasty (265-420) and the extant temple was built during the reign of Tongzhi in the Qing Dynasty. Besides a woodcut edition of Dao De Jing, there are two wells in the palace; one is called Mandarin-duck Well, the other Fairy Magu Pond. It is the best place to appreciate the three famous scene of Qingcheng Mountain -- Sunrising, Cloud Sea, and Holy Lights.
5. Natural Picture
The Natural Picture is a building complex made of wood. Lying in the arms of high mountains and steep cliffs, it presents a lush and primitive view of forests and pure sky. The neighboring Crane-dwelling Village adds even more colors to the picture when the white cranes cruise gracefully among the mountain peaks.