The sprawling city of LUOYANG (洛阳, luòyáng) lies in the middle reaches of the Yellow River valley in Henan province. It’s most commonly used as a hub for the famed Longmen Caves, one of China’s three major rock art galleries, which lie just to the south. In addition, it’s within striking distance of Song Shan and Shaolin Si. These ancient sights hint at a rich history – Luoyang has, indeed, been occupied since Neolithic times, and served as China’s capital at various points from the Zhou through to 937 AD. Confucius once studied here, and this is where Buddhism first took root in China in 68AD. While the industrial and drab modern city itself retains no atmosphere of past glories, the outlying fields are dotted with earthern tomb mounds of former officials and wealthy citizens, and there are two outstanding Buddhist sites nearby: the aforementioned Longmen Caves, and the venerable Baima Si.
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