The Prince City Scenic Area consists of the Prince Jingjiang City of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Solitary Beauty Peak, both are important cliff inscriptions under the state protection.
The Prince City is located in the center of Guilin, and the famed Solitary Beauty Peak stands in the center of the Prince City. Before Emperor Shun of the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) succeeded to the throne, he cultivated himself at Dayuan Temple in front of the Solitary Beauty Peak. After Zhu Yuanzhang founded the Ming Dynasty, he named Zhu Shouqian, his grandnephew, Prince Jingjiang of the vassal state of Guilin, and the Prince City was originally the residence of Prince Jingjiang.
Ancient Buildings in the Prince City
The Prince City was first constructed in 1372, the fifth year of the Hongwu reign of the Ming Dynasty, and the construction was completed in the ninth year of the Hongwu reign, with a history of over 630 years. Hence the Prince City in Guilin was 30 years older than the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Prince City is 557.5 meters long from south to north, and 336 meters wide from east to west, and covers an area of 187.000 square meters. The city wall is 7.92 meters high and 5.5 meters thick, with four gates. On the left lies the Ancestral Temple, and on the right stands the Altar to the God of the Land and Grain. In the city, there are many architectural structures with various functions, such as Chengyun Gate, Chengyun Hall and the palace where the imperial family lived. You can go boating in Cresent Pond in the Imperial Garden. In 1652, the Prince City was burned down. Now the city wall and the four gates are the original, and the architectural structures in the city were constructed after the War of Resistance against Japan.
Solitary Beauty Peak
Solitary Beauty Peak, the picturesque landscape of Guilin, stands in the center of the Prince City. Since ancient times, many famous personages have vied each other for climbing to the top of the Solitary Beauty Peak, where they can have a panoramic view of the city. After climbing up the 306 stone steps, you will reach the top, where the Solitary Beauty Pavilion stands.
Rock for Reading Books
On the southern side of the Solitary Beauty Peak, the rock was the place where the governor of Shi’an prefecture (today’s Guilin) of the Southern Dynasties often read books. It is the oldest historical site in Guilin.
This cave is to the southwest of the Solitary Beauty Peak. Legend has it that in the Ming Dynasty, Prince Jingjiang found a coin “Taiping Tongbao” from the cave, hence the name. In the cave, you can find 60 cliffside line-carved gods.
Stone Carvings on Solitary Beauty Peak
The Solitary Beauty Peak has a total of 136 stone carvings chiseled after the Tang Dynasty (618-907), which have been listed as a historical monument under state protection. Of them, a poem inscribed in front of the Rock for Reading Books is the most valuable, because it includes a well-known sentence: “Guilin has the most beautiful scenery in the country”. A stone portrait of Confucius carved in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) is rare and precious, because of its high craftsmanship and smooth and succinct lines. To the east are four carved Chinese characters, which mean “No. 1 Pillar in South Heaven”, each has a three-meter diameter, being the largest stone inscription of the 2,000-some cliffside stone inscriptions in Guilin.
(The four carved Chinese characters mean “No. 1 Pillar in South Heaven”)
Transport: It can be reached by bus No. 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 14, 18, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 51, 57, 58 and 99.