The Huaqing Hot Spring is a famous
scenic hot spring spot of Xi'an with a history of more than 3000
years and was used by ancient emperors as their imperial villa and
excursion centre. King Youwang of the Zhou Dynasty built the Lishan
Palace here. Emperor Qinshihuang built a house and a pool of stone
and named them the ”Goddess Hot Springs”. Emperor Wendi of the Sui
Dynasty expanded the facilities. Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty
transformed the hot spring wells into pools which were enclosed
in the palace rooms, so they are known as the Huaqing Palace or
the Huaqing Pools where Emperor Xuanzong and his concubine Yang
amused themselves. From then on, “the Nine Dragons Hot Springs”
”the Chenxiang Hall”, etc. have been additionally built. In the
Xi'an Incident in December, 1936, patriotic generals Zhang Xueliang
and Yang Hucheng arrested Chiang Kai—shek here.
Hot Spring Pool
More stories about the Huaqing Pool:
Huaqing Pool is situated about 35 kilometers east of Xi’an City.
Historically, the Western Zhou Dynasty saw the construction of the
Li Palace on the spot. In the Qin dynasty a pool was built with
stones, and was given the name Lishan Tang (the Lishan Hot Spring).
The site was extended into a palace in the Han dynasty, and renamed
the Li Palace (the Resort Palace). In the Tang dynasty, Li Shimin
(Emperor Tai Zong) ordered to construct the Hot Spring Palace, and
Emperor Xuan Zong had a walled palace built around Lishan Mountain
in the year of 747. It was known as the Huaqing Palace. It also
had the name Huaqing Pool on account of its location on the hot
Huaqing Pool is located at the foot of the Lishan Mountain, a branch
range of the Qinling Ranges, and stands 1,256 meters high. It is
covered with pines and cypresses, looking very much like a dark
green galloping horse from a long distance. So it has the name of
the Lishan Mountain (Li means a black horse).
The Tang dynasty Emperor Xuan Zong and his favorite lady, Yang Gui
Fei used to make their home at Frost Drifting Hall in winter days.
When winter came, snowflakes were floating in the air, and everything
in sight was white. However, they came into thaw immediately in
front of the hall. It owed a great deal to the warm vapor rising
out of the hot spring. This is the Frost Drifting Hall that greets
Close by the Frost Drifting Hall lies the Nine Dragon Pool. According
to legend, the Central Shaanxi Plain was once stricken by a severe
drought in the very remote past. Thus, by the order of the Jade
Emperor (the Supreme Deity of Heaven), an old dragon came at the
head of eight young ones, and made rain here. Yet when the disaster
was just abating, they lowered their guard so much that it became
serious again. In a fit of anger, the Jade Emperor kept the young
dragons under the Jade Cause Way, with the Morning Glow Pavilion
and the Sunset Pavilion built at both ends of it respectively, to
make the young dragons spout cleat water all day long to meet the
needs of local irrigation. Besides, he had the old dragon confined
to the bottom of the Roaring Dragon Waterside Pavilion situated
at the upper end of the Jade Causeway, and obliged him to exercise
control over the young.
The Nine-Bend Corridor west of the Nine Dragon Pool leads directly
to the Marble Boat, which resembles a dragon boat on the water surface.
In the Marble Boat lies the Nine Dragon Tang (the Nine Dragon Hot
Spring where Emperor Xuan Zong used to take baths). At the head
of his court ladies and hundreds of his officials, he would come
to the Huanqing Palace to spend his winter days in October of the
lunar calendar and return to Chang’an City as the year drew to its
close. The Nine Dragon Hot Spring was originally built with crystal
jade, whose surface was decorated with the carvings of fish, dragons,
birds and flowers. In it twin lotus flowers also carved with white
jade could be seen as well. The spring water effused from the break
of an earthen jar, and spouted up to the lotus flowers. Hence the
name is Lotus Flower Tang (the Lotus Flower Hot Spring).
The Gui Fei Bathing Pool was where Yang Gui Fei, Emperor Xuan Zong’s
favorite lady, used to take bath. It was originally built with white
jade, and in its center blooming flower spouted water like a spring.
The pool looked very much like a Chinese flowering crabapple; Hence
its name the Chinese Flowering Crabapple Hot Spring or the Lotus
Lady Yang used to make a stay in this pavilion to see sights or
to air her hair after a bath. Therefore, it was named the Hair Airing
Pavilion. Whether the sun was rising or setting, the pavilion was
aglow with sunshine; hence the name the Flying Roseate Pavilion.
Southwest of the Gui Fei Bathing Pool stands a brick-built pavilion.
On its head three big Chinese characters “Xi Jia Lou” (Fine Sunset-Bathed
Pavilion) are inscribed according to the model of the most celebrated
Chinese calligrapher, Yu You Ren, here is the source of the spring
At this spa there are four hot springs. They have an hourly flow
of 112 tons, and a constant temperature of 43°C. The spring water
contains lime, sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate and other minerals,
which makes it suitable for bathing and considerable treatment of
quite a few diseases such as dermatosis, rheumatism, arthritis and
muscular pain. The Fine Sunset-Bathed Pavilion marks the first source
of the spring water, which was discovered some 3,000 years ago,
roughly in the Western Zhou Dynasty. Its water flow averages 25
tons per hour.
Take up the steps east of the source of hot springs; you will gradually
see the Five-Room Pavilion where Chiang Kaishek made a temporary
stay during the Xi’an Incident.
The Xi’an Incident took place on December 12, 1936, and it is also
known as the Double Twelfth Incident. After the Incident of September
18, 1936, the Japanese imperialists seized the three provinces northeast
of China, and intensified their invasion of North China. This was
the very moment vital to the Chinese nation. Yet Chiang Kaichek
persisted doggedly in carrying out his reactionary policy “domestic
tranquility is a must for the resistance against Japanese invades,”
and commanded the Northeast Army and Northwest Army, respectively
headed by Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng, to attack the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia
Border Region. Inspired by our Party’s policy “let us stop the internal
war and unit to resist the Japanese aggressors,” those two generals
made to Chiang Kaishek the proposal of forming a united front with
the Communist Party for the resistance. Not only did he reject the
proposal, but flew to Xi’an to scheme the “suppression of the Communist
Party.” and the slaughter of the patriotic youth. Out of patriotism,
Zhang and Yang started the famous Xi’an Incident.
Very early on the morning of December 12, 1936 the Incident was
impending. Zhang Xueliang, together with Yang Hucheng ordered a
squad of bodyguards to surround the Huaqing Pool. They fought a
fierce battle there, and wiped out Chiang’s bodyguards in one vigorous
effort. The sound of firing came to Chiang Kaishek, and he was so
terrified that he crept out of the window with his nightgown and
slippers only. What’s more, he hurt his spinal bone, and lost one
of his slippers while crossing over the back wall. He staggered
up Lishan Mountain, and hid himself behind a stone in the crevice
halfway on it. Those brave soldiers began to search the mountain
immediately when they rushed into the Five-Room Pavilion to find
that Chiang’s hat and clothes were still there and that his quilt
remained warm. In the end they found Chiang Kaishek, and thus escorted
him to Xi’an.
In order to avoid a civil war and try t establish a national united
front for the resistance against Japan, Mao Zedong on behalf of
the C.C.P.C. insisted on a peaceful settlement of the Incident.
Therefore, a delegation headed by Zhou Enlai was sent to Xi’an.
Zhou Enlai and his suite did a large amount of work there, took
everything possible into consideration, and ultimately forced Chiang
Kaishek to accept the proposal by his two generals. On December
25, Chiang was freed, and flew back to Nanjing. The Xi’an Incident
was so peacefully settled.
The peaceful settlement of the Incident put an end to the internal
war which had lasted for ten years, and accelerated the formation
and development of the national united front for the anti-Japanese
drive. Moreover, it showed that the co-operative relationships between
the Communist and Nationalists arrived at a new stage. It marked
a great turning point in modern Chinese history.
In the year of 1946 the KMT government had a “National Rejuvenation
Pavilion” built near the crevice where Chiang Kaishek had hidden
himself in the Incident. It was also called “Vital Energy Pavilion”.
After the national liberation it was renamed “Catching Chiang Pavilion”.
Close by the pavilion stands a wooden board which carries a brief
introduction to the Xi’an Incident. Iron chains and rings in the
crevices east of the pavilion, by which visitors can climb up to
take a look at Chiang Kaishek’s shelter.
Up the winding path east of the Five-Room-Pavilion you will catch
sight of a bridge-like construction. It shines regularly with a
myriad of evening sun rays both in summer and autumn, and looks
very much like rainbow. So it has the name of the Hovering Rainbow
Located on the Xixiu Ridge (the West Embroidery Ridge) of the Lishan
Mountain, the remains of the beacon tower of the Western Zhou Dynasty
seem easy to identify.
The beacon tower was mostly built at the top of the mountain to
give border alarm in ancient times. It was constantly under special
control. Once the enemies were pressing on towards the border, the
beacon tower began to take effect: it was made to smoke in the daytime
while set on fire at night.
The story goes that Bao Si, Queen of the Western Zhou dynasty was
highly honored, yet she never cracked a smile. King You tried many
ways to put a smile on her face, but he failed over and over again.
He “called his court band to toll bells and beat gongs”, and she
pulled a long face. Then the band was asked to “play the bamboo
flute and strings” and she remained displeased. Afterwards, “maids
of honor served wine, festively singing and dancing,” and she did
not let out a smile at all.
“You don’t like music! What on earth are you fond of?” the King
“I nearly have a liking for nothing. But I can still well remember
I liked to give ear to the sound of tearing a piece of colored silk
when I was a child. It was clear and melodious,” she replied. King
You said in excitement, “That is very simple. How come you didn’t
let me know it earlier?”
Thus he ordered the officially appointed property manager to offer
colored silk, and made fresh and energetic maids of honor to tear
it into pieces. Hundreds of bolts of colored silk were utterly torn,
but Bao Si remained unmoved.
“Why didn’t you let out a single smile then?” he asked.
“I have never smiled so far,” the Queen replied.
The King tried over and over again, but failed repeatedly, and in
the end he gave orders, “Anyone both in and out of court who can
amuse Bao Si will be awarded one thousand pieces of gold.”
Afterwards Guo Shifu, a treacherous court official came and offered
advice: “Set the beacon tower on fire and fool your sovereign rulers.”
That night the King and Queen reached the Lishan Mountain by carriage,
and gave the order. In the split second the flames of the fire lit
up the sky ad the sovereign rulers moved their troops immediately
to the Lishan Mountain. There they found nothing but that the King
and Queen enjoyed drinking festively. The King then dispatched his
bodyguard to inform them that “Everything should have been all right.
I have just been joking with you.” When they got this, they looked
at each other in blank dismay, and left disappointed. Sure enough,
Bao Si burst into laughter, stroking her hands when she noticed
all the troops come in vain and go noisily. Accordingly, Guo Shifu
got a prize of one thousand pieces of gold. Later on King You did
so more often than not. In 771 B.C. Quan Rong (a then minority tribe)
staged an armed rebellion against the Western Zhou Dynasty. King
You ordered urgently to set the beacon tower on fire, but all the
sovereign rulers remained unmoved. Consequently King Yu was killed,
and Bao Si was taken away. The Western Zhou dynasty vanished. Herein,
it came the Chinese idiom “A single smile costs one thousand pieces
of gold” and “The sovereign rulers are fooled by the beacon fire.”
Other tourist attractions in Xi'an