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28
Apr
2010
Qufu - Confucius Says... E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Peter
Qufu, home to Confucius and his next 75 generations. A town of 2500 years of history and UNESCO listed, on paper this place is impressive. Qufu is where it all began for Kong Qiu (孔丘) or as westerners know him, Confucius. He was born and buried here. His teachings, the Analects of Confucius, were the basis of thinking during the majority of the dynasties throughout Chinese history.

Catching the bus from Jinan seemed a little too easy. Upon reaching the border of Qufu county, the xifu explained the bus doesn’t stop in the city, but on the outskirts of town. After some song and dance, he smiled and left me alone. I began to think “how far am I prepared to walk?”  The bus stops to let me off, I get ushered into a waiting taxi and after giving my hotel name I was on my way. The taxi driver was asking for RMB20, this must be a long way out I was pondering. The cost of the ticket for the bus ride from Jinan was RMB21.

Okay, so 2 or 3 kilometres down the road, ol’mate taxi driver pulls up and says we have arrived at the hotel, and he puts out his sun dryed hand and repeats the request for RMB20. Well, at least he and his family would be eating a hot meal that night.

As you can expect going to any big Chinese known tourist attractions, Qufu was overflowing with rickshaws, horse drawn carts, tacky souvenir stalls, unmarked taxis, and people asking for money. Nevertheless, these did not deter me from the awestruck I was feeling. This place was old. Old buildings, old roads, old everything. Very peaceful and quaint.

My hotel was in a perfect location, across the road from the drum tower, and the length of a horse pee to the Confucius Temple and Mansion. After sending some emails from the computer in my hotel room, and putting on a pair of clean socks, I was ready to dive into my mystic side and be Confuciusalised (Yes, I have just created a new word).


A short stroll, and RMB150 later I had a ticket for all 3 things Confucius: Confucius Temple, Confucius Mansion, Confucius Forest. The temple and mansion are next to each other, and together they make an enormous place. A plaque at the entrance explains that this place is the 2nd biggest of its kind in China, being lesser only to the Forbidden City. The temple and mansion here though, are nothing on scale to the grandeur of those at the Forbidden City. The temple was comprised of numerous halls and archways, tablets and incense holders, spread amongst loads of very big and very old trees. The mansion was of similar style and feeling.

Numerous halls and plaques to read, and loads of more old trees. Confucius even had rooms for his concubines to sleep (or were they for his sons..). What I found tremendously pleasing about this, was the lack of renovation and rejuvenation. The Chinese government feels compelled to keep things like the Great Wall and Forbidden City looking like it was built yesterday, but at the Confucius Temple and Mansion the buildings were old, faded, and dirty. Giving it a real ancient and authentic feeling, seemingly hundreds of years old feeling.

A RMB3 rickshaw ride down the road, and I was at the Confucius Forest. One word to describe this place upon entering the gate, “wholly f***”. The walls around are some 7kms in length, which surrounds some 2000ha of land. This place has graves of 76 generations of the Kong family (Confucius ancestry), and a multitude of Qing, Ming, Song emperors and their families; totalling some 10,000 tombs. Stone tombstones could be seen in abundance. There were huge trees, and the ground was covered with little purple flowers. This place was peaceful and quiet. Ideally choosing the perfect time of the day to walk around.

During my 1.5hours there I did not see practically anyone else. Which in a place like this, is very special and important. I pondered around taking many photos, and soaking in as much as I could. The setting sun could be seen breaking through the trees, and many little birds would fluster around trying to find their perch to sleep for the evening. Some graves were lined with animal statues, and fronted by stone benches and archways. It was so quiet and peaceful, that if you stood long enough you could picture the deceased sitting on the stone bench puffing on a long pipe contemplating an teaching from the Analects of Confucius. The tomb itself of Confucius was very simple and humble. Tucked away in the middle of the Forest. It was a nice place to rest and ponder for a little while.

My path to Confucius was now complete, and I was ready to put some of my philosophical learning to life. After shovelling down some food, and drinking some local brew. I was ready for bed. A peaceful and restful sleep was had.

Confucius says.."Man who goes to bed with itchy bum, wakes up with smelly finger."

More information

Qufu (Chinese: 曲阜; pinyin: Qūfù; Wade-Giles: Ch'ü1-fu4) is a city in Shandong Province, China. It is located at 35° 36′  northern latitude and 117°, 02′ east, about 130 km south of the provincial capital Jinan and 45 km northeast of the sub-provincial city Jining. Qufu has an urban population of about 60,000, the entire administrative region has about 650,000 inhabitants.

Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius; it served as the capital of the State of Lu during the Spring and Autumn Period. Qufu contains numerous historic palaces, temples and cemeteries. Many of the major cultural sites in the city are all associated with Confucius, such as the three sites of the Temple of Confucius, the Cemetery of Confucius, and the Kong Family Mansion. The Qufu complex of monuments have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1994.

Qufu also played a minor role in the Yanzhou Campaign of the Chinese Communists in 1948.

Click here to learn more about Qufu!

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Our valuable Editor Peter has been with us since Saturday, 11 July 2009.

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