Chengdu in the Sicuan Basin

Travel in spring from windy north China to Chengdu in the southwest and you will find the air mild and moist, with no sand blowing in your face. And you will remember Chengdu for luxuriant trees and graceful bamboo, intertwining rivers and canals, lovely flowers and lush green grass. The city is also known for its many historical sites.

At a distance of some two thousand kilometers from Beijing (Peking), Chengdu is located in the center of the Sichuan (Sze-chuan) Basin. High mountains shelter the city from cold currents from the north, so that winters here are no colder than in the middle and lower reaches of the Changjiang (Yangtze) River, and the four seasons are not sharply defined. In the third century the feudal kingdom of Shu, one of the three contending at the time, made its capital at Chengdu. Even Bing had the renowned Dujiangyan irrigation system built. This was a remarkable feat of hydraulic engineering that contributed greatly to making Sichuan fertile and rich. Chengdu is an ancient cultural center as well. Born here were Sima Xiangru and Yang Xiong, noted poets of the Han dynasty, two centuries before Christ. Du Fu of the eighth century and Lu You of the 12th both dwelt here for many years and composed poetry that has lived through the generations.

In Chengdu’s southern suburbs is a park enclosed by red walls where there are spacious buildings shaded by towering old cypresses. Typical of ancient Chinese architecture, these form the temple dedicated to the memory of Zhuge Liang, the Chinese statesman and strategist of the third century who personified wisdom in Chinese legends. By helping to established the State of Shu and serving as its Prime Minister, he contributed to the unification of southwest China and so to its economic and cultural development. The park contains also the tomb of Liu Bei, the first ruler of the State of Shu. Here one will find statues of Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang as well as multitude of steles, wooden inscriptions places on lintels, charcoal braziers, bronze tripod vessels, bells and a drum used by Zhuge Liang in battle. These articles are important in studying the history of the State of Shu. Wangjiang(Overlooking the River)Tower Park lies east of the Zhuge Liang memorial temple and beyond the campuses of Southwest China Institute for Nationalities, Sichuan University and other institutes of higher education. The Tang dynasty is said to have used water from a well that that has remained to this day for making the dark-red paper she wrote her poetry on. This paper, called “Xue Tao paper”, became very popular. A path lined with green bamboo leads to the ancient Wang-jiang Tower. Both the flowers and bamboo in park flourish in great variety. The bamboo includes every valuable species Native to Sicuan Province and thirtyodd kinds from south China and Japan. Some species have thick foliage,others have nodes at their roots, while one species has straight slender leaves like the tail of the legendary phoenix. Every park here is shaded with bamboo, and every pavilion surrounded by groves of it. The very rays of sunlight that filter through the bamboo seems to be tinted green.