Our Yangtze Cruise Ship
docked and we disembarked at Jingzhou, a city located on the banks of the
Yangtze River. It has been a transportation hub and commodity distribution
center for 6,000 years. This ancient city has also been a strategic location
of military importance since ancient times.
Jingzhou occupies an area of
14,067 square kms and has a population of about 6.5 million. It is located
in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River on the Jianghan Plain which
is covered by a dense network of waterways and a lake. This ancient city
has been known as a place of high culture where there is much production
of rice and of fish from fish farms. Jingzhou is considered one of China’s
most important cultural and historic cities.
Downstream 200 km to its east
lies Wuhan, the provincial capital which will be our next destination where
we are to board a bullet train to take us westward toward Yellow Mountain.
Guan Yu Statue
On our way to our first stop,
the Jingzhou Museum, we passed the enormous statue of Guan Yu, the famous
general in Chinese history who was later deified.
It’s 58 metres tall and weighs
over 1,320 tonnes, and it contains over 4,000 strips of bronze. The monument
is so big that there’s even an 8,000 sqm museum inside it! Visitors are
allowed to walk up a staircase, up the 10m pedestal into the Guan Yu Museum.
Guan Yu lived during China’s turbulent Three Kingdoms period. He carried
an axe-like weapon called a Green Dragon Crescent Blade, which has been
immortalised with him as part of the statue. The only difference is that
the weapon now weighs 136 tonnes!
We saw interesting sights on
our bus ride from the dock area. Our first stop was the Jingzhou museum
which provided us with a brief overview of the long and colourful history
of the area. and displayed many excavated national treasures -- about 120,000
precious ancient Chinese relics. The musuem is housed in beautiful interconnected
buildings which surround a scenic ornamental lake.