is a small city, 25 kilometers to the south of the Yellow River, and
is well known in China as "The
Capital of Nine Dynasties", having been capital on and off
from the Eastern Zhou (770 BC) to the later Tang Dynasty (923-936 AD).
The city as you see it today is not quite what it was in the heady
days of its youth and the majority of the best sights now are
those that the past has left behind. It is, however, at the moment,
not overly plagued by tourists, so that the many sights here can still
be enjoyed in relative peace and quiet.
The reason for Luoyang's popularity in
ancient times is mostly linked to the geographical and climatic
factors of Henan. Many times the imperial entourage had to move from
the chosen favorite, Xi'an, due to the frequent droughts that plagued
this part of China. Strategically as well, Luoyang is a very useful
city, with hills on three sides making it close to impregnable. The
area is also fairly central in Henan and so the city became a very favorable
location to control. It was all of these factors that were the causes
of the many wars that have raged in or around the Luoyang locale and
nowadays frequent reports surface of the discovery of ancient weapons,
unearthed in various parts of the city.
history of Luoyang as a town and later as a city run much longer than
that of it as a capital. Documents and cultural relics are continually
being found here, allowing archaeologists the chance to slowly piece
together the past and allowing the Luoyangese the comfort of swelled
pride. But the interpretation of history is never the easiest thing
and the ancient discoveries are always somewhat tinted by this pride.
Recent evidence, discovered in the Neolithic site found in the west of
the city, has dated a population here as far back a 7,000 years ago.
Buddhism was apparently introduced here as early as 68 AD from Nepal.
The revered Chinese scholar, Confucius, is also said to have spent
some time here, perfecting his philosophical thought. The
biggest claim, however, that the people of Luoyang make is that
contrary to common belief the Silk Road's true starting point was, in
The cities glorious position began to
dwindle after the last of the capitals collapsed. In recent years the
city has been making a come back economically, although this comes
somewhat at the cost of losing the small city charm. Concrete
buildings and skyscrapers are rapidly entering the city, so that most
of the sights worth visiting here are situated outside the city
proper, most notably the Longmen
Caves, 16km out of town.