Located in the center of Guilin City and built around the Solitary Beauty Peak, Jingjiang Prince City Scenic Area is a highest grade tourist resource in the city which was built on the site of the mansion of the Prince Jingjiang in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In the scenic area, the manmade sights embrace the natural beauty. The authentic work of the inscription "Guilin's Scenery Ranks First in the World" is found there. It is a typical representation of the culture and history of Guilin.
History of Jingjiang Prince City
The Prince Jingjiang was the master of the present prince city. He was given the title by his grandfather Zhu Yuanzhang, the creator of Ming Dynasty. It took over 20 years to build his mansion and the history is longer than the Forbidden City in Beijing. In the 257 years from the construction to destruction, all together 14 regional princes in 12 generations have lived in the mansion. In Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was served as the imperial examination hall. It was Sun Yat-sen's base camp during his north expedition. At present, it is a part of the campus of Guangxi Normal University.
Construction of Jingjiang Prince City
Covering an area of 20,000 square meters (49 acres), it is mainly composed of Chengyun (Be Ordained by Heaven) Gate, Chengyun Hall, Bedchamber, Ancestral Temple, The Altar of the Earth and Harvests, pavilions, terraces and towers. The whole city is a huge building complexes decorated with red walls and yellow tiles, splendid and glorious. Around the Prince City, there is a city wall piled up by strong square green stones. Four city gates are opened in the eastern, western, northern and southern sides, named Tiren (Donghua Gate), Duanli (Zhengyang Gate), Zunyi (Xihua Gate) and Guangzhi (Hougong Gate) respectively. The straight Solitary Beauty Peak stands erect in the city. Yueya (Crescent) Pool is lying at the top of the peak. Move up, visitors can find Xuanwu Pavilion, Kwanyin Hall, Sanke Temple and Sanshen (Three Deities) Ancestral Temple elegantly dotted on the peak.
Solitary Beauty Peak
It is located in the ancient Mansion of Prince Jingjiang, in the center of Guilin City, Guangxi Province, with an area of 6,100 square meters (1.5 acres). Towering 216 meters (709 feet) above the sea level and 66 meters (217 feet) above the ground, this peak has been a major scenic site in Guilin since ancient times and is renowned as the 'Sky-Supporting Pillar in the South'. Composed of limestone from the shallow sea sediment biochemistry about 0.35 billion years ago, the peak got its name from the famous line in Southern Dynasty (420-589) literature, 'none can surpass this solitary peak in beauty'. When bathed in the dawn sunshine or afterglow, the peak seems to be wearing a purple gown and a golden belt, which is the origin of its other name 'Purple Golden Hill'.
A stone stair of 306 steps will lead you to the top of the peak, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Guilin City. Here, you will also find the famous Solitary Beauty Pavilion, which is 7 meters (23 feet) high, has 2 floors and is supported by several red pillars.
There are many peculiar caves in this scenic site. The most famous one is the Dushu (Study) Rock at the east foot of the peak, which looks like a stone room with natural windows and beds inside. It is said that Yan Tingzhi, governor of Guilin and also a famous writer, often studied here about 1,500 years ago. At the west foot lies the Taiping (Peace) Rock, which is 2.9 meters (9.5 feet) high and covers an area of 140 square meters (1,507 square feet). This cave looks like a gracious house with a very smooth floor and stalactites of various shapes hanging down from the roof. Flowers are planted in the front of the cave, and statues of Buddha have been erected inside. On the wall of the cave, you can read poets' praise of the cave's exquisite characteristics. The Snow Cave on the other hand, which is located at the north-west foot, is famous for its stalactites that are white as snow.
The renowned Yueya (Crescent) Pond is located at the east foot of the peak. Its name is owing to its distinct crescent shape. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Tower stands on the bank of the pond, and was established in 1921 to memorize the revolution led by its namesake, Sun Yat-sen. Now, it has been acknowledged as one of the major protected heritages of Guilin City.