Qufu is located in the southwest of Shangdong Province. Ranking as one of the four holy cities in China, Qufu is the hometown of Confucius, and is regarded as the “Oriental Jerusalem” among westerners.
Confucius, who was born in Qufu and known in China as Kongzi, is a world-renowned great thinker, statesman and educationist. He set up the oldest forum of China, and founded Confucianism which has exerted profound significance in China. In Qufu, about one fifth of the residents have the surname Kong and they are all Confucius’ descendants. There are no high buildings in this city as local people don’t allow the buildings to be higher than the Dacheng Hall, which is the main hall of the Temple of Confucius. It is their way to show respect to this great philosopher. The International Confucius Cultural Festival is held every year from September 26 to October 10 in Qufu, to commemorate the birthday of Confucius.
Must Sees in Qufu
If you are interested in Chinese culture you should definitely pay the city a visit. Qufu boasts a large number of renowned historical sites, such as the Three Kongs (the Temple of Confucius, the Kong Family Mansion and the Cemetery of Confucius), as well as the ancient city of Lu State, the old city of the Ming Dynasty, and Mausoleum of Shaohao. Among them, the Three Kongs which have been included in the World Cultural Heritage List, and the Mausoleum of Shaohao which has been called “Pyramid of China”, are must sees in Qufu.
Temple of Confucius
The Temple of Confucius, located in the center of Qufu City, is China’s second largest imperial architectural complex after the Forbidden City, and has been the place for worshipping Confucius throughout several dynasties. First constructed in 478 B.C., the temple is well designed and looks splendid in green and gold, fully showcasing the characteristics of the traditional Chinese wooden architecture.
The Temple of Confuciusis about one kilometer long from south to north, with three gates and nine courtyards along a south-north central axis. The main buildings in the temple include three halls (Dacheng Hall, Qin hall and Shengji Hall), Kuiwen Pavilion and Apricot Altar. The Kuiwen Pavilion is the largest pavilion among China’s existing ancient pavilions. Dacheng Hall in the Temple of Confucius, the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the former Imperial Palace in Beijing, and the Tiankuang Hall in Daimiao Temple in Tai’an are the three most important halls in China. In front of Dacheng Hall sits Apricot Altar, where Confucius used to give lectures. It is the oldest forum in China.
Kong Family Mansion
The Kong Family Mansion, bordering the Temple of Confucius in the west, is the place where the descendants of Confucius lived and handled affairs. First constructed in 1377, the Kong Family Mansion has nine courtyards and three routes. As a feudal noble manor with the longest history, the mansion is a typical architectural structure of the feudal society, integrating offices and residences. The houses along the middle route are offices, with residences at the rear, which are linked with a garden. The mansion is a magnificent noble’s residence, only next to the former Imperial Palace in Beijing, hence the name the “No.1 residence on earth”.
Cemetery of Confucius
Covering an area of two square kilometers (494 acres), the Cemetery of Confucius is a special clan cemetery with the longest history, largest scale and best preservation in Chinese history, as well as the only large cemetery built with timbers and rocks in China. After the disciples of Confucius buried their teacher here in 479, a large number of the descendants of Confucius of over 76 generations have been buried here over the past 2,500 years, totaling over 100,000 tombs in the cemetery. The cemetery is not only a museum in the open air integrating bombs, architectural structures, stone carvings and tablets, but also a natural botanic garden.
Mausoleum of Shaohao
Located in the northeast of Jiuxian Village, east of Qufu City, is the mausoleum of Shaohao, one of the five legendary emperors of China. The mausoleum is 28.5 meters wide and 8.73 meters high, constructed with 10,000 stones in the shape of a pyramid, hence the name the “Pyramid of China” or the “Hill of Ten Thousand Stones.” On its flat top stands a small pavilion that houses a statue of Shaohao.