Monday, August 9, 2010

Last Tour Around Quanzhou

Well, days before exam madness started and then I left for Shanghai, I went on a tour of some of the more famous attractions in Quanzhou with a friend. It's amazing how one can live in a city for so long without ever seeing its tourist spots.

The picture above is a small local temple on one of the back streets we took to reach one of the larger temples. It has a lot of character though. It's probably the most crazily decorated temple I've seen.

And this boy was sitting on his rocking chair watching us as we passed. He was pretty thrilled that we took his picture.

Above is one of the pagodas of the Kaiyuan temple, probably Quanzhou's most famous temple. It has two towers - the "twin pagodas." I don't think it's possible to capture both in one picture without a helicopter, but the other one looks the same. Promise.

Couldn't resist. Isn't he cute?

There are lots of buildings on the grounds of the Kaiyuan Temple. Somehow I didn't manage to get a good picture of the main building, but this is another worship hall (I think.)

One of the courtyards held broken statues. Somehow they all lost only their heads.

We also went to the Qingjing Mosque, which is my favorite spot in Quanzhou. It's a thousand years old, which in and of itself it really cool, but mosques are also pretty rare in China. This beautiful old mosque is a sign of Quanzhou's cosmopolitan past. In the late first millenium and beginning of the second, Quanzhou was a very busy international port, so it also had people from all over the world living and traveling through there. Among other things, it had a large Muslim population. Nowadays there is still a Muslim population, for whom a new mosque was built just last year (not picture, mea culpa.)

After 1,000 years, the roof and much of the inside architecture of the mosque has been lost. It's got a stark beauty to it though, like most ruins, I suppose.