The tale of Emperor Xuan Zong and his concubine Yang Guifei is one of the great Chinese tragic romances, the equivalent to the Western Antony and Cleopatra, and is often depicted in art and drama, most famously in an ode by the great Tang poet Bai Juyi. Xuan Zong took a fancy to Yang Guifei – originally the concubine of his son – when he was over 60, and she was no spring chicken. They fell in love, but his infatuation with her, which led to his neglect of affairs of state, was seen as harmful to the empire by his officials, and in part led to the rebellion of the disgruntled general, An Lushan. As An Lushan and his troops approached the capital, the emperor and his retinue were forced to flee southwest into Sichuan; along the way, his army mutinied and demanded Yang Guifei’s execution.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

7 Chinese street foods you need to try

7 Chinese street foods you need to try

Thanks to China’s sheer enormity, travelling through the country is as much a tastebud odyssey as it is a history lesson. And eating your way around the stre…

16 Feb 2018 • Aimee White insert_drive_file Article
20 picturesque Christmas destinations

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

Dreaming of a trip this Christmas? We're here to help. From glittering cities to a few snowy escapes, here are 20 classic destinations for a festive break. …

12 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai has to be a contender for the buzziest city in Asia, a thriving business hub that's brashly modern yet wears its history on its sleeve. Dense with glit…

23 Oct 2017 • Simon Lewis insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right