Yellow Crane Tower: One of the Three Famous Towers South of the Yangtze River

The Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan is considered one of the three famous towers south of the Yangtze River, together with the Pavilion of Prince Teng in Jiangxi and the Yueyang Tower in Hunan. Enjoying such titles as “best scenery under heaven” and “the first tower under heaven”, the Yellow Crane Tower is also a symbol of Wuhan and one of the 40 excellent scenic spots in China.

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The Yellow Crane Tower lies on the top of Snake Hill in Wuchang District of Wuhan City, near the southern end of the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge. Legend has it that there used to be a pothouse opened by a young man named Xin, who used to give free wine to a Taoist priest. In order to thank Xin for his kindness, the Taoist drew a picture of a yellow crane on the wall of the pothouse before he left and told Xin, “The crane will dance upon hearing the claps”. When people in the city heard of this, they flocked to the pothouse to see the dancing crane. The pothouse was always full of guest, and Xin soon became rich. Ten years later when the Taoist priest retuned, he played the flute and then rode on the crane to the sky. Xin built a tower on the place of the pothouse and named it Yellow Crane Tower to commemorate the Taoist priest.

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According to records, the tower was firstly built as a military watchtower in 223 A.D. during the period of the Three Kingdoms. Later, the tower became a gathering place for celebrities and poets to hold parties, have dinners, visit or compose poetry. During the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), many popular poems were written in praise of the Yellow Crane Tower, and it was these poems that made the tower so renowned. Among them, the Yellow Crane Tower, written by Cui Hao, a famous poet of Tang Dynasty, made the tower well known throughout China. A modern English translation of this poem may follow as such:
Long ago one’s gone riding the yellow crane, all that remained is the Yellow Crane Tower.
Once the yellow crane left it never returned, for one thousand years the clouds wandered carelessly.
The clear river reflects each Hanyang tree, fragrant grasses lushly grow on Parrot Island.
At sunset, which direction leads to my hometown? One could not help feeling melancholy along the misty river.

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Destroyed many times, the tower was rebuilt time and again in later dynasties until it was reduced to ashes 100 years ago. The Yellow Crane Tower you see today was rebuilt it in October, 1981 on the basis of the prototype of the tower built in Tongzhi Reign of the Qing Dynasty, and the construction lasted for four years. The new tower, standing 51.4 meters high with five floors, faces the west and overlooks the Yangtze River. It has 60 upturned eaves layer by layer, and is covered with yellow glazed tiles and supported with 72 huge pillars. With yellow upturned eaves, each floor seems to have been designed to resemble a yellow crane spreading its wings to fly. Inside the tower, you can appreciate murals, couplets, poems, and traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphy. The Yellow Crane Tower is the best place to have a fabulous panoramic view of the surrounding scenery, the mighty Yangtze River and its bridge. You can climb or take the lift to the top.

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The Yellow Crane Tower Park as a whole is nicely landscaped. It consists of the Yellow Crane Tower, pavilions, corridors, archways, corridors of tablets with poem inscriptions and business streets of ancient style. Of particular interest is the enormous bronze bell named Millennium Bell, which is located behind the Yellow Crane Tower, as well as a teahouse (nearby the south gate) called Luo Mei Xuan, which features regular performances of traditional Chu-era music.

Yellow Crane Tower Park

Travel Tips:

Admission: 80 yuan

Opening Hours:

Mar. 1 – Nov. 9: 07:00-18:30

Nov. 10 – Feb. 28: 07:30-17:30

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