Luoyang, located in Henan Province in East Central China, served as the capital of the 13 dynasties until the 10th century, when it was relocated to Kaifeng. At its height, the city contained some 1,300 Buddhist temples and a massive Sui-dynasty palace complex. Today, Luoyang resembles many other modern Chinese towns, but its rich history waits for visitors willing to scratch below the surface.
The nearby Longmen Grottoes attract many a traveler to Luoyang, but the city is also home to several temples and excellent historical museums. The Ancient Han Tombs Museum displays a collection of relics from the unearthed tombs from the Western Han and Northern Song Dynasties, while the Luoyang Museum maintains a free collection of art and artifacts spanning several dynasties. Also nearby is the White Horse Temple, believed to be the first Buddhist temple in China, and the Shaolin Temple, the UNESCO-listed cradle of Chinese martial arts.
The easiest way to reach Luoyang is by bus from either Xian (four hours) or Zhengzhou (less than two hours).