As one of the seven great ancient capital cities in China, the city of Kaifeng has much to offer in terms of ancient buildings and historical relics. Dragon Pavilion Park ( 龙亭公园 – Long Ting Park ) is a big draw when visiting Kaifeng on your Henan tour.
Dragon Pavilion is the main structure in the park for the same name sake with an area of 83.13 acres half covered by two lakes – East Dad Lake (Pan Family Lake) ans West Good Lake (Yang Family Lake). Dragon Pavilion is actually not a pavilion, but a palace built on the 13m-high blue brick terrace.
A flight of 72-steps leads up to the platform of the terrace with stone balusters on both sides. In the middle of the flight of steps are cloud-dragons. The Palace Hall atop the terrace is a wooden structure with double-gable roofs. The terrace is fenced with stone balusters. People have a good view of the surrounding scenery – the downtown, Qing-Ming Street and the two lakes. The terrace is a perfect place to view the sunset with beautiful glows.
The building of the Dragon Pavilion dates back to to 1692, the 31th year during the reign of Kangxi Emperior in Qing Dynasty ( 1644-1911). Originally known as Wanshou Pavilion, it was built on the coal hill of the former palace buildings of King Zhou in Ming Dynasty (1638-1644). It housed the emperor tablets for the local officials to pray. Later the Coal Hill wad renamed Dragon Pavilion Hill, hence the name for Dragon Pavilion.
Kaifeng is the ancient capital city for 8 dynasties with their palaces successively built on the location of the present Dragon Pavilion and the two lakes. The first man who chose this place with fengshui that prospered for 0ver next 1200 years was Li Mian, the local governer in Tang Dynasty who had moved his office building from Shanqiu to the present Kaifeng in the year of 781 , thus starting the axis of the ancient Kaifeng for over 1200 years.
The interesting thing is that after Li Mian, came with the five dynasty period – Hou Liang Dynasty, Hou Jin Dynasty, Hou Han Dynasty, Hou Zhou Dynasty, Northern Song Dynasty, Jin Dynasty and Zhou Palace in Ming Dynasty.
So now under the Dragon Pavilion and the two lakes in the park are still buried with the ancient cities successively from Zhou Palace in Ming Dynasty, Jin Dynasty, Southern Song Dynasty, Hou Zhou Dynasty, Hou Han Dynasty, Hou Jin Dynasty, Hou Liang Dynasty and Li Mian’s Office Buildings.
Dragon Pavilion Park is on the northern tip of the axis ( Zhongshan Road) easily accessed by the public buses (Bus 1 and Bus 20) and taxis. To its south is the 400m-long Ming Qing Street, a replica of the streets in Ming and Qing Dyansty. The best time to visit Dragon Pavilion is during the chrysanthemum festival from Mid-October to Mid-November, a lot of colors and styles really open your eyes and the most spectacular flower show in the world. Entrance fee: RMB 70.
Now, follow me to have a glimpse of the impressive Dragon Pavilion and its same name park.
This is the main entrance gate facing south, also called Wu Men Gate ( Meridian Gate). By the right side of the gate is the ticketing office. South of the gate is the Ming and Qing ancient street ( 400m).
From the entrance gate to the Dragon Pavilion is about 480m, an imperial way in the middle. Today is November 12, still within the yearly Chrysanthemum Festival. I could see the 450m long imperial way decorated with pots of yellow Chrysanthemum flowers.
The imperial way is linked by the Jade Belt Bridge that has been also festooned with flowers.
After the Jade Belt Bridge is the long corridor of red railings that have also been beautified with bots and trees of flowers.
Everywhere is decorated with yellow Chrysanthemum flowers – in the middle of the road, trees and roadside pots that have been covered by the sea of yellow flowers.
Before we reach the screen wall and the dragon pavilion itself, there is a garden of yellow Chrysanthemum flowers.
Behind the garden is the red lanterns hung on the ropes linked to the screen wall in front of the Dragon Pavilion.
Behind the screen wall is the flight of 72 steps leading up to the terrace of the Dragon Pavilion.
Looking at the west, the beautiful setting sun is high up over the Dragon Pavilion Park.
The setting sun is over the West Lake ( Yang Family Lake ) by the boat.
South of the Dragon Pavilion Park is the 400m ancient imitation street of Ming and Qing dynasties.
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