Ruzhou, a city of west-central Henan province, lies supine with Mount Funiu in the south and Mount Songqi in the north and Beiru River running through it from west to east, forming a landscape of “two high mounts on both sides and a stretch of plain with a river in the middle.”
Ruzhou has a total area of 1,573 square kilometers, consisting of 4 towns, 11 villages and 455 administrative villages, with a total population of 947,000 people. Ruzhou has been awarded many titles for its development and environment, including the Reform and Opening up Experimental City, Urbanization-Quickening Key City, Charm City with Chinese Characteristic, Sanitary City of the Province, and Civilization-Building Advanced City of the Province.
Ruzhou has a long history and profound cultural foundation with various cultural landscapes. As long as five or six hundred thousand years ago, our ancestors already lived and multiplied here, making it one of the birthplaces of Yangshao Culture and Longshan Culture. To date, 23 dwelling sites of ancient humans from the Old Stone Age to the New Stone Age in primitive society have been excavated. The unearthed ancient painted pottery jar of A Stork holding A Fish in Its Mouth is the largest as well as the most complete pottery painting in China, dating back 6,000 years, and ranking first in the list of 64 relics forbidden for overseas exhibits. Ruzhou has many scenic spots and historic sites, including Fengxue Temple, Zhanggongxiang Kiln-site, Faxingsi Pagoda and Ruzhou Confucian Temple, all of which are National Cultural Heritage Units under State protection.
Fengxue Temple, located at the southern foot of Mount Shaoshi, Songshan Mount chain, has a history of more than 1,500 years. It is named among the Four Famous Temples of the Central Plains, along with the White Horse Temple, Shaolin Temple and Xiangguo Temple. The Qizu Pagoda is the best preserved one among the seven brick pagodas of the Tang Dynasty, and a representative treasure of the Temple together with the Song Bell, Golden Temple and Ming Buddha. The pagoda groups here are the third largest in China.
The Ruzhou Confucian Temple was built in the third year of Hongwu, during the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1379), and covers an area of 22mu, or 1.47 ha., with more than one hundred houses of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Ru Porcelain Museum in the Temple is the only professional venue in China to collect, appreciate and exhibit Ru Porcelain. Many important and rare cultural relics reflecting Yangshao Culture and Longshan Culture are on display here, and the Zhanggongxiang Kiln site is identified as the official kiln site of the Northern Song Dynasty.
Qu Opera, originally from Ruzhou, is the second major type of drama in Henan Province, which has been included in the list of the first group of nation-class Intangible Cultural Heritage.
“Ruzhou’s Four Wonders,” which have enjoyed a longstanding reputation, refer to Ru Porcelain, Ru Stone, Ru Tie and Ru Pottery. Ru Porcelain is the special porcelain used in the palace of the Song Dynasty, ranking first among the five famous types of porcelain. It takes an important position in the ceramics development history in China, and even in the world. The firing techniques of Ru Porcelain have been labeled National Intangible Cultural Heritage of the first order. Ru Stone, known as the famous Chinese Stone, is the treasure of the jades. It has been sold both at home and aboard with exquisite workmanship. Ru Tie, a work of calligraphy by famous people from ancient times, is named by four major famous Ties with Chunhuage Tie, Quanzhou Tie and Jiangzhou Tie.
Ruzhou also has oodles of historical human culture. Ruzhou-born medical scientist Meng Shen, during the Tang Dynasty, wrote the Dietary Therapy of Materia Medica, a treatise on Chinese herbal medicine, and the earliest book about dietary therapy still in existence today in the world. In addition, many poets of the Tang and Song dynasties left with us beautiful poems praising the sights of Ruzhou.
Ruzhou has unique geothermal resources. Characterized by its good water quality, stable flow quantity, high temperature and rich microelements, the Ruzhou Hot Spring is the royal hot spring of the Han and Tang Dynasties, on par with the Vichy Royal Hot Spring of France.
The fabulous landscape and picturesque scenery of Ruzhou make it a renowned tourist resort. Dahongzhai Geopark in Pingdingshan City has obtained the famous national “AAA” grade of tourist zone standards. It has obviously preserved the three geological movement traces of the Cambrian Period. In this Geopark there are many scenic spots, including the Guaipo, Fengxue Temple, Dahongzhai, and Peach Bottom.
The Guaipo takes its name from the unusual phenomenon by which vehicles can travel uphill effortlessly but downhill only with great difficulty, which is amazing! It is the largest Guaipo group in China, with a total length of 2000 meters. In the Geopark, when the autumn is coming, leaves change to red all over the mountain, creating beautiful scenery beyond words. During the War of Liberation, it was the residence of the Henan Provincial Committee of the CPC and Henan Provincial Military Area Command, adding a deeper historical connotation to it.
Mt. Ziyunshan has the typical southern scenery of blue waters, rare rocks and fabulous scenes. Mt. Jiufengshan, the ruins of the Ancient Great Wall of the Chu Kingdom, also has beautiful scenery, with a spring of clear water spewing out from the steep cliffs and limpid brooks winding through the valley. According to colorful legends and folk tales, it has attracted many visitors with much interest. The scenery of Mt. Jianggushan is marked by its fabulous caves and caverns. Its unique geological structure has been a concern to geologists at home and abroad.
In recent years, Ruzhou has released many recreation routes relying on its special tourism resources mentioned above, such as Fengxue Temple National Park—Mount Ziyunshan Eco-tour, Hot Spring Leisure Tour, Guaipo Special Tour and Fengxue Temple Ancient Architecture Tour, all of which have won high praise from tourists.