Beijing Getaways: Qufu
Check out Qufu: Confucius' Hometown offers a Chinese-style Bohemian Experience
Located in eastern China's Shandong Province, Qufu is a quaint, rural Chinese town with an ancestral temple, a forest cemetery, and the mansion of a family clan that did rather well in Chinese history - the Kong clan.
On the face of things, that hardly makes the town stand out, but it is the Kong family that makes Qufu so special. In fact, 125,000 of Qufu's 630,000 residents are still surnamed Kong.
Qufu's temple is dedicated to Master Kong - Kong Fu Zi, in Chinese. And that name, along with the title, has become anglicized as "Confucius."
The home town of China's most famous scholar and philosopher, Qufu also served as the capital of the State of Lu during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC) of the Chinese Zhou dynasty.
The Temple of Confucius, Cemetery of Confucius, and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu have all been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1994.
Qufu can be visited as a hurried day trip from Jinan, but an overnight stay allows a more leisurely appreciation of the sights and rarefied air - the nearby sacred Mount Tai Shan can also be incorporated in a 2-day visit. Qufu has three basic attractions: the Temple (built around the house that Confucius grew up in), the "Forest" (the Kong family cemetery where over 100,000 of Confucius' descendants have been buried in the last 2500 years), and the Ming-era mansion compound where the descendants of Confucius lived as nobility.
The Qufu Tourist Information Center on 4 Gulou Beijie is a good stop for those new in town, providing maps and information on sights and accommodation. It is possible to tour the temple, mansion and forest on foot, though hiring a pedicab or horse-drawn taxi to the cemetery is cheap and less tiring. Buses run from the southwest of town past the bus station all the way up Gulou Jie to the forest.
An inexpensive choice for lunch or dinner is Kong Fu Jia Yan Tang on Kong Miao Dong Jie, which provides decent Confucian food. Check out the shenxian yazi (fairy duck) and shili yinxing (sweet "poem" gingko). You can order half portions, which makes it ideal if you're traveling alone or as a couple. Farther east along Wumaci Jie, a lively night market offers a variety of snacks, including fantastic kebabs, roasted nuts and bean curd.
The Queli Hotel has nightly Confucian musical performances - tickets are cheap and sold in the lobby. From April to October, there are also nightly "Confucius Dream" musical performances at 8.30pm at the Apricot Altar Theatre (Xing Tan Juchang) where some of the rites mentioned in the Analects are performed.
- Various trains leave Beijing Friday night / arrive Yanzhou (15km from Qufu) early Saturday morning - approx. 200RMB hard sleeper
- Various trains leave Yanzhou Sunday night / arrive Beijing early Monday morning
- Regular buses / taxis Yanzhou Qufu - Yanzhou
- Pedicabs 20-30 RMB/day, horse-drawn carriages 2-4 RMB per person (short journeys)
- Ticket for Confucian Mansion, Temple & Forest 105 RMB
- Qufu Tourist Information Center, 4 Gulou Beijie, Tel: 0537/441 4001, open 8am-6.30pm
- Kong Fu - Confucian Mansion (7.30am-6pm)
- Kong Miao - Confucian Temple (7.30am-6pm)
- Kong Lin - Confucian Forest & Cemetery (8am-6pm)
- Xing Tan Juchang - Apricot Altar Theatre, Da Cheng Lu, Tel: 0537/442 4095
- Queli Binshe (Queli Hotel), Youzheng Binguan (Post Hotel) and Yulong Dajiudian (Yulong Hotel) all good options
- Hotels in Shandong Province
- Popular souvenirs include the "Four Treasures of the Study" - seals, ink stones, calligraphy brushes and rice paper - all available at Chunqiu Ge at 5 Gulou Beijie (open 8am-7.30pm). The store also sells ceramics, jewelry, cloisonne, and jade, and accepts international credit cards.