The Longmen Grottoes
Longmen Grottoes contain a large and impressive collection of Buddhist Chinese carvings considered to be some of the finest examples of Chinese art. The grottoes, numbering 2,345, are located on both sides of the Yi River. In 2000, the site was named a UNESCO World Heritage site as “an outstanding manifestation of human artistic creativity,” and the tens of thousands of statues of the Buddha and his disciples are a testament to artistic and religious expression.
The entrance to the grottoes is under the Longmen Bridge over the Yi River. The recommended route through the park is to start at the West Hill Grottoes continuing on to the East Hill Grottoes, then to XIangshan Temple and end at the Baiyuan Garden, where you can enjoy a cup of tea.
Ancient Tombs Museum
This superb but little-visited museum has three main exhibits, 20 reconstructed tombs (spanning five main dynasties, or over 1000 years), re-created using original building materials; original tomb murals; and a Northern Wei royal burial mound. Grab an audioguide (¥20) on the way in and let loose your inner Indiana Jones, stand inside 2000-year-old tombs to admire delicately carved panels and faded frescoes.
Luoyang Tianzi Jialiu Museum
Located in the center of Luoyang, the Museum of Emperors Chariot Drawn by Six Horses of Zhou Dynasty is worth a visit. The museum is built over the sacrificial pit area for the emperors in Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770BC – 256BC) with its capital at the site of present day Luoyang. The burial of the royal horse and chariots here is earlier than that of Terracotta Warriors in Xian.
Compared with other museum in China, this museum is a little small. It is divided into two main parts, the sacrificial pits and the exhibition building. The remains of horses and chariots that were sacrificed during Eastern Zhou Dynasty are in the sacrificial pits; while the exhibition building displays the history and culture of Eastern Zhou Dynasty.
Luoyang Old Town
Take a stroll through Luoyang Old Town (Laocheng District) to get a feel for the city’s ancient architecture. It has been the cultural, political and economic center of the city throughout history.
Entering through the Lijing Gate (considered one of best and most typical of its kind in China) you will be immediately immersed in local Heluo culture and life. The old city is divided into shopping streets and residential streets. Strolling through the ancient shopping streets and perusing the many stalls, you will find antiques, local tri-color glazed pottery and handcrafts, paintings, and calligraphy (the art of paper making was invented here). Here would be a good place to purchase a painting of the peony as a souvenir of the “City of the Peony”.
Baiyunshan National Forest Park
Baiyunshan National Forest Park, which covers an area of 168 kilometers, is located at the Funiu Mountain Ridge.
The national forest park is made up by several parts, including Primitive Forest, Baiyunshan Peak, Yuhuangding Peak, Little Huangshan Mountain ad Jiulong Waterfall Scenic Area. Baiyunshan National Forest Park is regarded as “the most beautiful place” in China. It is also called the “natural museum”.
White Horse Temple
Although its original structures have all been replaced and older Buddhist shrines may have vanished, this vast, active monastery outside Luoyang is regarded as China’s first surviving Buddhist temple, originally dating from 68 AD. When two Han dynasty court emissaries went in search of Buddhist scriptures, they met two Indian monks in Afghanistan; the monks returned to Luoyang on white horses carrying Buddhist sutras and statues. The impressed emperor built the temple for the monks; it is also their resting place.