Huaqing Pool is located about 35 kilometers east of the city of Xi'an. Historically, during the Qin Dynasty, a stone pool was built and was given the name Lishan Tang (Lishan Hot Spring). The site was enlarged into a bigger palace during the Tang Dynasty, and was renamed Hot Spring by Emperor Tai Zong, Li Shimin. Emperor Xuan Zong had a walled palace built around the Lishan Mountain in the year 747. It was known as Huaqing Palace. It also had the name "Huaqing Pool" because of its location over the hot spring.
Huaqing Pool was destroyed during An Lushan and Shi Siming Rebellion at the end of the Tang Dynasty. The present-day site is only a small part of the original Huaqing Palace. Huaging Pool, which we see today, was rebuilt on the site of the Qing Dynasty structure. The palace covers an area of 85, 560 square meters.
Entering the West Gate of Huaqing Pool, you will see the Nine Dragon Pool, the Lotus Flower Pool and the Frost Drifting Hall, etc. All these structures were rebuilt in 1959 in the Tang Dynasty architectural style.
The Tang Emperor Xuan Zong and his favorite concubine Yang Yuhuan used to make their home in the Frost Drifting Hall. Close by the Frost Drifting Hall lies the Nine Drag Pool. The Nine-Bend Corridor, which lies to the west of the Pool, leads directly to the Marble Boat. This boat resembles a dragon boat, floating on the pool. In the Marble Boat lies the Nine Dragon Hot Spring Pool where Emperor Xuan Zong would take his baths. Every October he would take his court ladies and hundreds of his officials to Huaqing Palace and spend his winter days here, and return to Chang'an at the end of the year. The Nine-dragon Hot Spring Pool was originally built with crystal jade. In the pool, twin lotus flowers carved out of white jade could be seen as well. The spring water wells up from a mouth of a spring, and spouts up to the lotus flowers, hence the name Lotus Flower Pool (the Lotus Flower Hot Spring).
The source of the hot spring that flow into Huaqing Pool and the Five-room Hall, the historic site of Xi'an Incident, are all situated to the east of Huaqing Pool. In this area there are four hot springs. They have a flow of 112 tons an hour with a constant temperature of 43℃. The spring water contains lime, sodium carbonate, sodium sulphate and other minerals, which make it suitable for bathing and the treatment of quite a few diseases such as dermatosis, rheumatism, arthritis and muscular pain. The source of the spring water at "Fine Sunset-bathed Pavilion" was discovered some 3,000 years ago, roughly in the Western Zhou Dynasty. Its water flow averages 25 tons per hour.
Climbing the steps east of the source of the hot springs, you will gradually see the Five-room Hall where Chiang Kaishek stayed temporarily during "Xi'an Incident."
"Xi'an Incident" took place on December 12, 1936. It is also known as the "Double Twelfth Incident." In December 1936, Chiang Kaishek flew to Xi'an to scheme the "suppression of the Communists." Out of patriotism, Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng started the famous "Xi'an Incident."
At 5 o'clock on the early morning of December 12, 1936, Zhang Xueliang, together with Yang Hucheng, ordered a squad of body guards to surround Huaqing Pool. Chiang Kaishek was so frightened by the sound of bullets that he crept out of a window in his nightgown and slippers. He staggered up the Lishan Hill, and hid himself behind a stone in a crevice. Those brave soldiers began to search the hill immediately. At 8 o'clock in the morning they found Chiang Kaishek, and escorted him to Xi'an.
In order to avoid a civil war and try to establish a united national front for the resistance against Japan, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee stood for a peaceful settlement of the incident. Therefore, a delegation headed by Zhou Enlai was sent to Xi'an at the invitation by Mr. Zhang and Mr. Yang. Zhou Enlai and his delegate did a lot of work there and took everything possible into consideration. Ultimately Chiang Kaishek was forced to accept the proposal made by his two generals. On December 25, Chiang was released, and flew to Nanjing. Consequently "Xi'an Incident" was settled peacefully.
In the year of 1946 the Nationalist Government had the "National Rejuvenation Pavilion" built near the crevice where Chiang Kaishek had hidden himself during the incident. It was also called the "Justice Pavilion." After the founding of New China in 1949 the local people started to call it the "Catching-Chiang Pavilion." Now it has the name of "the Remonstration Pavilion." Iron chains and rings are available all the way up to the crevice east of the pavilion by which visitors can climb up to take a look at Chiang Kaishek's shelter.
Located on the Xixiu Ridge (The West Embroidery Ridge) of Lishan Hill, the remains of the Beacon Tower of the Western Zhou Dynasty is easily identified. King You of the Western Zhou Dynasty had a palace built in Huaqing Hot Spring, and a beacon tower on top of Lishan Hill in order to make fun of other ducal states to make Bao Si, his favorite lady, smile. As a result the Western Zhou Dynasty was overthrown and the King was killed, hence the Chinese saying "A single smile costs 1,000 ounce of gold" and "The sovereign rulers are fooled by the beacon fire."
Huaqing Imperial Pool Museum
In April 1982, on a construction site that was well under way, the ruins of the Imperial Pools in the Tang-Dynasty Huaqing Palace were discovered. After excavation and sorting out the information at hand, archaeologists found the ruins of the five pools in an area of 4,200 square meters. They proved them to be the Star Pool, the Lotus Flower Pool, the Crabapple Pool, the Crown Prince Pool and the Shangshi Pool, all of which were recorded in history. The Museum of the Imperial Pools in the Tang-Dynasty Huaqing Palace was built on their ruins and was opened to public in October 1990. "The Crabapple Pool" was specially built by the order of Emperor Xuan Zong for his favorite lady Yang Yuhuan to bathe in. Therefore, it was also called Lady Yang's Pool. The Lotus Flower pool, also named the Imperial Nine Dragon Pool, was built for the emperor; the Crown Prince Pool, as its name suggests, was for the crown prince; the Shangshi Pool was for ministers and officials; while the Star Pool was believed to be built of much earlier age.
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