Zigui Introduction

Zigui County of the Hubei Province is the birthplace of the great poet Qu Yuan and Wang Zhaojun, one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. It covers an area of about 2,427 square kilometers (599,725 acres) and has a population of about 400,000. The Yangtze River passes through the county and divides it into two parts, forming a large basin with the Xiling Gorge in the middle. As a result of the Three Gorges Project, the reservoir flooded part of the county, which was once home to 100,000. These people had to be resettled, and to accommodate, a new district was constructed in the eastern part on the county. The displaced residents were relocated there in 1998.

Zigui is the birthplace of the Chu Culture, and human activity in the region dates back over 7,000 years. Qu Yuan, one of the greatest poets in China, made Zigui the birthplace of a new and unique poem style-Sao. Poetry of this kind, which was called Chu Ci, became renowned throughout the country and greatly influenced Chinese literature. Visitors to Zigui may visit Quyuan Temple and other scenic spots, such as the Fragrant Stream (Xiangxi River). Along the Xiangxi is a statue of ancient beauty Wang Zhaojun, which tells the story of her successful negotiation of peace between the Han and the northern Hun tribe. Baoping Village where Wang lived has renovated several historical sites about Wang's life. There is site of Wang's dresser, the Wangyue Pavilion, where Wang did her leisure-time activities such as reading, embroidering and playing musical instrument. In addition, Zhaojun's residence and Zhaojun Memorial are found in the village.

Quyuan Temple

Qu Yuan (Chu Yuan) was a great statesman and patriotic poet in the Warring States Period (475 BC- 221BC). Qu Yuan Temple was first constructed in the year 820 in his birthplace, Quyuan Village of Zigui County . Many relics concerning Qu Yuan and his deeds are well preserved there such as the Lepingli Gateway, and Qu Yuan Residence, with vivid legends told by each.

Since the original construction of the Quyuan Temple in the year 820, it has undergone several renovations during later ages. In 1080, the Emperor Shenzong of Song Dynasty (960-1279) honored Quyuan as 'Qinglie Gong' thus the temple was renamed as 'Temple of Qinglie Gong'. However, the construction of the Gezhouba Water Control Project in 1987 made the Yangtze River level ascended and the 'Qingliegong Temple' was moved to Xiangjiaping, 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) away from the Zigui County. 'Quyuan Temple', as it changed, was opened to the public in 1980 and took on a new look.

Covering an area of 14,000 square kilometers (3,459,475 acres), the Quyuan Temple structure consists of front door, and statue of Quyuan, inside are two corridors for steles, an exhibition hall and the Quyuan cenotaph, with its five parts dotted among the forests of cypresses giving a solemn and secret atmosphere.

Because of the Three Gorges Project , parts of the Zigui County will become submerged when the new dam and reservoir are completed. In November 2006, the Quyuan Temple began its move to the new site-the Fenghuang Mountain in the east of the new Zigui County. It is reported that the new temple is five times larger than the original size. Except for the tomb and the steles that were kept from the original temple, the pavilions and halls are newly built in archaized style. Quyuan Temple together with the ancient buildings on Fenghuang Mountain is attracting increasing numbers of visitors, as new Zigui becomes ever more famous.

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