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朝辞白帝彩云间,
千里江陵一日还。
两岸猿声啼不住,
轻舟已过万重山。

-李白

We parted Baidi through the morning clouds
down to JiangLing in a day, a thousand miles
Wild Monkeys called, along the river shores,
As the boat swiftly passed mountains and hills

-Li Bai

This famous poem by Li Bai described was written during his homeward journey from Baidicheng to Jiangling by boat down the Yangtze River, after he was pardoned by the emperor. Baidicheng is an ancient city that is full of history, and is now a popular destination on the Yangtze River. When we were on the Three Gorges Cruise, we went on an excursion to explore this mysterious site.

脍炙人口的七绝名诗《早发白帝城》是李白流放被赦后返家路上从白帝城乘舟到江陵时所作。白帝城乃为长江上的历史名城。现在,白帝城的遗址已成为长江上的闻名景点。我们去年游三峡时有幸在这里一睹其貌。

From the wharf, passing stalls selling local produce and historical homes, we arrived the entrance of Baidicheng within ten minutes. From here, a long stone bridge connects the shore to the Baidi Hill, an island standing in the middle of Yangtze River where the ancient city of Baidicheng was located. The actual city had long been destroyed and buried under rocks and stones, the only place that is left intact and opened to the public is the ancient Baidi shrine that was stood on top of Baidi Hill looking over the ancient city.

在码头下船,经过卖土产的摊位和古色古香的民房,不到十分钟的步程即到达景点入口。从这里,一条长长的石桥连接着江上的白帝山,即白帝古城的所在地。白帝古城早就被山石所掩埋,现在游客能游览的,只是白帝城山上的白帝古庙。

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The Baidi Shrine dated back to the Eastern Han Dynasty in 30 AD, when it was built to commemorate Gongsun Shu, a general who declared himself the emperor in the Shu region, calling himself the “White Emperor” or Baidi, and was later stamped out by the Eastern Han Army. During the Three Kingdom Period, the Emperor of Shu, Liu Bei, retreated here after his massive at was defeated by the tactics of Wu's young general Lu Xun, failing to revenge for his blood sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. Liu Bei fell ill from grief for his brothers, and passed away in Baidicheng. On his deathbed within Baidi Shrine before he died, he called upon his Grand Counsellor Zhuge Lang, asking him to protect his young son and the Kingdom of Shu. And Zhuge Lang did, fighting for the good of the Kingdom till he died. This touching story was made popular by the Romance of Three Kingdoms published in the Ming Dynasty hundreds of years later, and so the state councillor at the time decided to put into the shrine statues of these Heroes of Shu, calling the shrine “Hall of Benevolence and Loyalty”. The Statues can still be seen in the wooden shrine hall today, with the wooden plaque on the ceiling hand written by the Local Governor during Kangxi’s rule in the Qing Dynasty.

白帝庙建于东汉时期,是后人纪念和供奉公孙述所建。公孙述在西汉末年在蜀有着庞大的势力,在光武元年自立为王,自称白帝,最后为刘秀所灭。现在白帝古庙里的明良殿供放着的诸葛亮,刘备,关羽和张飞为明朝嘉靖年间所放。相传刘备被陆逊打败后撤退到白帝城中,想念关、张悲痛成疾,临终前在白帝庙这里托孤诸葛亮。明朝时罗贯中的三国演义让这忠义故事广为流传,因此当时的巡抚决定把庙中祠堂改为供奉这几个三国演义里的明君良臣,改名为明良殿。殿中央的横匾写着《汉代明良》,为康熙年间的川湖总督所提。

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Apart from the main shrine hall, there are many other classical style building in within the shrine, such as the Stargazing pavilion where Zhuge Lang practised astrology to make predictions on upcoming battles. A lot of buildings were repaired or rebuilt during the Ming and Qing Dynasty, and therefore follow the architectural style of that period.

除了明良殿,庙院里还有很多古色古香的建筑,例如相传诸葛亮在此观星算卦的观星亭,或是相传刘备在此托孤的托孤堂。这些建筑很多都是在明清时期重建或修复,有着浓厚的中国古典气息。

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Behind the shrine there is a massive Chinese style garden, with famous poems written on the walls to commemorate the many poets that come to Baidicheng during Tang and Song Dynasty to get inspirations.

庙堂后面是个面积颇大的庭院,庭院走廊上刻着名诗,以纪念唐宋时期白帝城为江南文人吟诗作对的圣地。

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Coming down from the top of the hill, we can see the beautiful scenery of the Yangtze River along the way. Here, we can admire the close by Qutang Gorge, one of the narrowest gorge of the Yangtze River, flanked by near vertical steep cliffs. The close proximity of Baidicheng to this narrow gorge is the reason why this ancient city is extra important as a fortification historically.

从山上一路下来,可以看到长江的美丽风光。在这里可以眺望险峻的瞿塘峡和沿江峭壁的景色。也是因为瞿塘峡转角处这地理位置让白帝城成为历代的军事要塞。

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At the bottom of the hill, we walked past a large square, where a giant bronze statue of Zhuge Lang stood beside a large stone tablet with writings on it. This is Zhuge Lang’s famous “Proposal to March”, where he outlined to Liu Bei’s young son, the new emperor of Shu, why for the good of the people they must befriend Wu and conquer Wei, and how he would work tirelessly for the good of Shu til the day he die. Such loyality and devotion is surely admirable and had inspired the Chinese for generations

在山脚下的大广场中,几层楼高的诸葛亮铜像高高耸立,旁边立着《后出师表》的石碑,以纪念他为蜀汉鞠躬尽瘁,死而后已的精神。

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As we walked back towards the wharf, we were treated with the beautiful view or he Yangtze River and its shores. Although we were only at Baidicheng for a couple of hours, it was enough to give us a taste of the long history of the region and the scenery that inspired generations of poets and artists. For those who want more time in the city, you can also take a ferry from Chongqing to Fengjie, where Baidiching would just be a 30 minutes bus ride away, giving you the freedom to explore this historical site to your heart’s content.

从原路返回码头,沿途江边景色尽入眼睑。虽然我们在白帝城游玩的时间不长,却已很好的感受到悠悠的历史长河和唐宋文豪心中的诗情画意。除了坐三峡游轮游览白帝城,喜欢自由行的朋友可以从重庆坐船到奉节再转公交车到达白帝城,这就有更多时间去游览城中的众多古迹了。

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