Huaqing Hot Spring and the Love Story Between Emperor Xuanzong and Lady Yang

Located at the northern foot of Mt. Lishan in Lindong County of Shaanxi Province, 30 kilometers from Xian, Huaqing Hot Springs (also known as Huaqing Palace or Huaqing Pool), is a state place of interest as well as a scenic spot. It is one of the most famous hot spring pools in Xi’an, highlighting ancient palace complexes and scenic natural views.

Fast Facts of the Huaqing Hot Springs

  • Type: Natural beauty, ancient architecture, cultural relics.
  • Opening Hours:7:00-19:00 in peak season (Mar. – Nov.); 7:30-18:00 in low season (Dec. – Feb.).
  • Ticket Price: CNY 120 per person
  • Best Seasons:March to October
  • Time Needed:around 3 hours
  • Location: 38 Huaqing Road, Lintong District, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, China; at the northern foot of Li Mountain

History of Huaqing Hot Spring

According to the record, as early as the Dynasties of Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang, a temporary imperial abode was constructed here. In the 6th year of Emperor Xuanzong’s Reign in the Tang Dynasty(747) it was expanded on a massive scale by turning the hot springs into bathing pools, ringing the Mount with palace buildings, which were to be protected by an outer circular defensive wall and renamed it Huaqing Palace.

As the palace was built upon the hot springs, it was also called Hot Spring Pools. In 756, it was reduced to ruins by the flames of war. Most of the existing buildings were constructed in the Qing Dynasty and after the liberation of China.

Huaqing Hot Spring
Huaqing Hot Spring

Love Story Between Emperor Xuanzong & Yang Yuhuan

The story about Emperor Xuanzong– the Song of Everlasting Sorrow Bai Juyi, a great poet in the Tang Dynasty, reconts in his poem The Song of Everlasting of Sorrow, the love story of Xuan Zong, Emperor (reigned 725-768) of the Tang Dynasty and Yang Yuhuan(719-759), his favorite concubine. This pathetic and touching story was witnessed by the Huaqing Palace situated at the foot of the Mountain Lishan during the prime time of Tang Dynasty.

Xuanzong fell in love with Yang Yuhuan, a born beauty without peer and took her into the Palace as concubine. Yang was not only beautiful but also very talented in music and dancing. Xuanzong loved her very much that he even built her a Crab Aplle pool where she could take a bath. They took pleasure in the spring night behind the warm lotus- flower curtain got drunk with wine and spring at banquet in Jade Tower, and entertained themselves in the Palace of Eternal Younth by dancing. Soon Yang was affectionate to the monarch.

Then a power struggle over control of the the central government between An Lushan, Yang’s adopted son, and Yang’s brother, led to An’s rebellion in 755. Xuanzong and Yang fled from the capital to Ma Weipo before the rebels occupy the capital. Royal guards blamed Yang and her brother for the rebellion and forced Xuanzong to order their execution. The emperor had no alternative but to abdicate. The death of Yang Yuhuan made the emperor stricken with grief.

After the rebellion was crushed, Tang Court moved back to the Capital Chang’an. With a broken heart, he wished to meet Yang Yuhuan every night in the palace of moon where they held each other’s hands, exchanged their lovesickness in tears and renewed their love. The large-scale real-scene historical drama.

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow is a reproduction of the moving romantic story at the very scene where the story happened. It has one prologue and nine acts belonging to four parts which respectively falling in love. The inseparable couple, A Farewell to the Lover, and Reunification in Fairyland. Against the backdrop of Mountain Lishan. Nine-dragon Lake, and other elements like pavilions, halls, colonnades, weeping willows, and green lake, the drama presents magnificent pictures of imperial temples, sparkling sky, rolling fog and brightly burning flame.

What to See and Do at Huaqing Hot Springs

Huaqing Pools is fascinating for its exquisite and picturesque scenery characterized by pink peach blossoms, green willows, dense foliage, beautiful pavilions and terraces, magnificent halls, rolling towers, etc. Jiulong(Nine Dragons) Lake is crystal clear and mirrors the pavilions and towers. There are four hot springs in the Huaqing Pool. The water is so clear that you can see down to the bottom. See below the top things to do on your trip to the Huaqing Hot Springs.

Huaqing Hot Spring
Huaqing Hot Spring

Visit the Museum of Imperial Hot Spring Pools

This museum is where the original royal hot springs of Tang Dynasty are located. Here you can witness the original Star Pool and the Lotus Pool which was used by Emperor Zuanzong and his concubine Yang Guifei. Also, the over 3,000 pieces of architectural materials here will introduce you to the architectural features and culture of the Tang Dynasty.

See the Historical Site of Xi’an Incident

On December 12, 1936, two patriotic generals of the Nationalist Party kidnapped their leader Chiang Kai-shek at the Huaqing Palace in Xian to force him to stop the civil war and resist the invasion of Japanese. This incident was knwon as Xian Incident or Double 12th Incident which drew international attention and marked a turning point in the Chinese resistance against Japan. When visiting the Huaqing Hot Springs, visitors can also make a visit to the museum of Xi’an Incident to see the historical relics, photos, and documents related to this incident.

Admire the Nine Dragon Lake & Pear Garden

The Nine Dragon Lake is a man-made lake built in 1959, covering an area of about 5,300 square meters. The lake is divided into two parts by the Nine Dragon Bridge and reflects the distinctive features of the northern royal gardens. The upper part features modern fountains, while the lower part invites visitors with a large stone dragon boat and the sculpture of Yang Yuhuan.

The Pear Garden is the imperial theater in the Tang Dynasty. It is the place where Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Yuhuan once enjoyed music and dance performance. The current museum of Pear Garden is restored on the original site, housing many artifacts unearthed from the former Pear Garden and 15 murals depicting musical and dance performances.

Watch the Dance Drama of the Song of Everlasting Sorrow

The Song of Everlasting Sorrow show is a large-scale real scene drama based on the poem by Baijuyi, depicting how the Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Yuhuan met, fell in love, and their sad end due to the rebellion. With the Li Mountain as its background, it will reward you with a stunning visual spectacle, enchanting dance, and  traditional Tang costumes.

Attractions Nearby the Huaqing Palace

  • Terracotta Warriors and Horses: One of the top reasons for people travel to Xian. Marvel at over 8,000 life-size clay soldiers and horses that were burried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
  • Li Mountain: Standing at a height of about 1,256 meters, the mountain had served as royal garden since the Zhou period. It is known for the stunning natural scenery, many ancient temples, and the earliest military observation tower in China.

Xian Tours including Huaqing Hot Spring