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August 8, 2009

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City highlights

Jing Shan (Hill of Scene)

In Lucheng District, it used to be called Xue Shan (Snow Hill) though it seldom sees snow these days. At its foot is the only zoo in southern Zhejiang Province -- Wenzhou Jingshan Zoo. It was built in 2000 and now houses more than 1,000 animals.

Higher up is Huguo Temple, first built in 1127 and reconstructed about three years ago. It remains as popular as it was hundreds of years ago. Nowadays, many believers still go there regularly to pray for a happy life.

Jiangxin Yu (Island in the River Center)

This long and narrow island on the Ouhe River, north of the city center, occupies an area of about 70,000 square meters. It was originally two islands next to each other. In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), construction started on temples and pagodas on the islands.

In 1137, the two were made one under the order of Emperor Zhao Gou.

Later, Wenzhou's most famous temple -- Jiangxin Temple was built.

Since it was built by the emperor, it attracted many monks, including some from other countries.

The original temple was twice destroyed in typhoons in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The current construction was mostly built in 1789 and occupies an area of over 3,000 square meters.

In 1983, after some renovation, it was opened to the public.

On both sides of the temple lie two little hills, on each of which there stands a pagoda -- the west one was built in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and the east one in the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

They stand face to face and can be seen from far away. When people on boats see these two pagodas, they know they're approaching Wenzhou. Thus, these two pagodas have become one symbol of Wenzhou City.

Besides these historical sites, there's also a grand modern amusement park.

Wuma Street (Five-horse Street)

The most famous shopping street in Wenzhou is over 400 meters long and 12 meters wide. It's said the street was first built by the famous Chinese calligrapher Wang Xizhi in the Jin Dynasty (AD 265-420) when he was the prefect of Wenzhou. In 1984, it became a pedestrian street. On both sides there are hundreds of shops and restaurants, selling furs, purses, jewelry, silks and decorative objects. Since many of them are selling items of appeal to women, the street is also known as "Women's Street."

One story says the street got its current name from a folk tale about an old man and a rock on which was printed five horses, while another says that the name came from Wang when he first arrived here in a five-horse carriage. At the entrance to the street, there stands a vivid sculpture of a carriage with five horses.


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