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Baoxie Plank Road

In Chinese history the Ancient Baoxie Plank Path is an early passage running through Mt. Qinling, and its name resulted from the gorge along the Bao and the Xie Rivers. In ancient times the vast Qinling Mountains blocked the southern regions from the northern regions. Our ancestors, after several explorations, eventually initiated the satisfactory route along the gorge. At a glance you will think it is a path between Hanzhong and Meixian County, but its meaning is far beyond its function. It is universally acknowledged as a must-pass way to Sichuan via the Central China.
 
Southern Shaanxi Province is dominated by the Qinling Mountains and Bashan Mountains, between the Qinling Mountains to the north and Bashan Mountains to the south, covering the areas of Hanjiang River, Jialing River, Danjiang River and the South Luo River water systems. The Qinling Mountains run from east to west in the middle of China and divides China into the north and south. A trip over the Qinling mountains to the city of Hanzhong is now also a popular tourist route.
 
The Qinling Mountains were formed by the Himalayan Orogenic Movement with a steep and rocky northern side. A trip through the Qinling Mountains can be of great pleasure with a thrilling view of the wall-like cliffs, endless mountain peaks and splashing springs. There are a lot of historical remains along the way among which the most famous one is the ancient Baoxie Plank Path. This path was 250 kilometers long through the Qinling Mountains with the southern end called Bao and the northern end called Xie. It started from the Baogu Pass at Hanzhong in the south and ended at Xiegu Pass in Meixian County of the north. The road was constructed by cutting into the rocky cliffs and building wooden bridges and was one of the five ancient roads linking Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces, taking a very important position in the ancient Chinese transportation history. The stone gate that marks the southern end of the road, 17 kilometers from Hanzhong city, was constructed during the Warring States Period about 2000 years ago and is known to be the oldest man made tunnel in China. Both the stone gate and the ancient road now are under the water of the reservoir. In the recent years, a 600-meter-long ancient road has been reconstructed along the valley of Bao River. Walking on it, one feels like walking in the clouds and it has already become a popular tourist attraction in the suburbs of Hanzhong.
 
Two or three kilometers to the west of Mianxian County west of Hanzhong, stands the First Temple of Zhu Ge Liang, a mastermind of military strategy in the Three Kingdoms Period  about the third century AD. In 263 AD, Liu Chan, the king of the Shu Han Kingdom ordered the building of the temple for Zhu Ge Liang. It is the first temple built for him. It is built on the bank of the Han River with a rectangular courtyard. Numerous towers, pavilions, mansions and platforms have been built in a perfect layout. There are also stone tablets and inscribed wooden boards from Han, Jin, Tang, Sung and Yuan dynasties in the temple.
 
There are two more important tourist attractions in Hanzhong. One is the Ancient Hantai, the ruins of an imperial palace built in Han dynasty, and the other is Baijiangtai. It is said that in 206 BC, Xiangyu proclaimed himself the King of Chu and Liu Bang the King of Hanzhong. Hantai is believed to have been the residence of Liu Bang who later became the first Emperor of the Han Dynasty. As the Hanzhong Museum today, Hantai has become a landmark building in Hanzhong after several times of renovation.
 
Baijangtai was built to commemorate the event when Liu Bang appointed Hanxin the Chief Commander of the imperial army. The Baijiangtai consists of two raised platforms, each built on the southern and northern hills of the mountain. The southern platform is enclosed with fence made of marble and the northern one is with a pavilion on it. In 206 BC, Liu Bang was made the King of Hanzhong. Hanxin, a talented military strategist defected from Zhu to Han. Not realizing his talent, Liu Bang did not pay much attention to Hanxin. Disappointed, Hanxin left. On hearing this, the prime minister of Liu Bang, Xiaohe rode for a long distance in the mid of the night to get Hanxin back. Knowing his talent and ability, Xiaohe promised to Hanxin that he would do his best to introduce Hanxin to Liu Bang. Liu eventually appointed Hanxin his Chief Commander of the army. Baijiangtai was built at that time. ( Chris Ning )
 
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