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Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Luoyang

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.
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Shaolin Temple (Shaolin Monastery)
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The original home ofwushu (Chinese kung fu) and base of the Shaolin warrior monks, Dengfeng’s Shaolin Temple nestles in the shadow of Mt. Song. Monks perform live kung fu shows, while aspiring students come from around the world to train. A warlord burned the temple down in 1928, so most structures are recently built.

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Longmen Grottoes (Longmen Caves)

Artists from the Northern Wei dynasty began carving in the Longmen Grottoes (Longmen Caves) in the year 494 and continued to do so for some 200 years. Today, the UNESCO-listed caves, known in Chinese as Longmen Shiku (literally: Dragon's Gate Caves), contain more than 100,000 Buddhist statues and images—one of the best and last remaining collections of Buddhist rock carvings in China.

The 2,300 grottoes and niches extend along the banks of the Yi River, but only a stretch of less than a mile (1 kilometer) is open to visitors. Many of the statues have been decapitated by vandals over the centuries, but many of the heads have been returned, giving visitors a more complete image of what the caves might have looked like in their heyday.

Among the most impressive caves are the Ancestor Worshipping Temple (Fengxian Si), the largest of the accessible grottoes at Longment; Ten Thousand Buddha Cave (Wan Fo Dong) with its 15,000 Buddha carvings; and the Three Binyang Caves.

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