Yueyang Tower (China) Travel Guide

Yueyang Tower lies in the west of Yueyang city,nearby the Dongting Lake,it is listed as three famous towers in the south of Yangtze River,together with Yellow Crane Tower at Wuhan, Hubei province and Tengwang Tower at Nanchang,Jiangxi province.

Yueyang Tower was originally built for soldiers to rest on and watch out. In the Three kingdoms Period, Lusu, General of Wu State, trained his soldiers here and then rebuilt it as a tower to review his troops.

In the forth year (716 A.C) of Kaiyuan of Tang Dynasty, General Zhangshuo was dispatched to defend at yuezhou and he rebuilt it into a Tower named South Tower, and then Yueyang Tower. In the forth year (1044 A.C) of Qingli of Song Dynasty, Teng Zijing was stationed at Baling Jun, the ancient name of Yueyang city. In the second year, he had the Yueyang Tower repaired and had poems by previous poets inscribed on the walls of the Tower. Fan Zhongyan, a great artist and poet, was invited to write the well-known poem about Yueyang Tower, in his essay which entitled “A Panegyric of the Yueyang Tower”, the two sentences Fan writes :” Be the first to worry about the troubles across the land, the last to enjoy universal happiness” have for thousands of years been a well-quoted dictum and made the tower even better known then before.

To get here, you can take the city bus line 2 or 9. The taxi costs 1.5 rmb for one kilometer.

Admission Fee:
CNY 46 (for adult)
CNY 23 (children 1.1 meters to 1.4 meters)
Free (children below 1.1 meters)

Opening Hours:
6: 30-19:00 (May 1 to September 30)
7:00-18:30 (October 1 to April 30)

Tel: 0730-8315588, 8319435

Tel for complains: 0730-8232528, 0731-4717614, 010-65275315

Here is Fan Zhongyan’s famous article: Renovation of the Yueyang Building (A Panegyric of the Yueyang Tower)
Author:Fan Zhongyan (Northern Song Dynasty)

The spring in the fourth year of Qingli(reign title of Emperor, Renzong of the Northern Song Dynasty) Deng Zijing was relegated to the post of Baling Prefecture’s procurator. Next year, the government functioned well, the people were in their harmony lives and all neglected tasks were been undertaken. Then the Yueyang Building was renovated, increasing the original scale and carving on its wall with the poems and verses written by the Masters in the Tang Dynasty and contemporaries. I was entrusted with writing prose to record it.

I observed the wonderful scenery of Baling, which depends primarily on the great Tongting Lake. It looks as holding the remote mountains in mouth and swallowing the Yangtze River. It is so vast, mighty and boundless! Over the lake the sky appears bright at morning and overcast in the evening; the scenery is so spectacular and majestic as people’s expected. Those are the grand sight around the Yueyang Building, which had made the descriptive complete records by the predecessors. However,the lake connects northward to the Wu Gorge and southward to the end of the Xiangjiang River; most of the demoted officers and dejected poets are gathering here. Could not their feelings caused by such scenery, be variable?

Whenever the bad weather, the excessive rain is falling thick and fast, even lasting for the whole month. The chilly winds are howling hard and the turbid waves are rushing even up to the sky. The sun and stars lose their brilliance and the shapes of the lofty mountains are hidden. And then the business travels stop and the masts and oars of the sailing boats are collapsed. When the time is to the evening dark, tigers are roaring and apes are whistling. At that time, if people ascend to the top of this buildingall kind of feeling, such as being apart from the capital, yearning for native lands, worrying to be slandered, fearing to be jealous of, and seeing everywhere almost sadly, may be touched off. Deeply moving to the extreme, sadness is inevitable.

On the contrary, in the fine weather, the spring comes in bright sunshine and gentle breeze. The lake is without any terrifying rush and its color from top to bottom is as blue as the sky, as if the blue water is reaching far beyond the horizon. Sandpipers gather flying in the air and fishes play in the water. Fragrant grass and orchids growing up luxuriantly on the shore and sand-bank are blue and green. Sometimes the steam and smoke in the sky completely dissipated, and sometimes a bright moon hanging in the sky shines far away beyond almost a thousand li of distance. The floating beam of the Moon radiates a silver glittering upon the water. The quiet shadow of her mirrored in the water is similar to the sunken jasper under the water surface. The fishing songs respond with each other. How much joyful it is! At that tome , if people ascend to the top of this buildingthey may touch off the feelings of carefree and happy, and forget honor and disgrace, gain and lose. Facing the gentle breeze and drinking, full of joy is also inevitable.

Ah! I have looked for the minds of the ancient people with lofty ideas. They were perhaps not alike both states as above mentioned. Why? They don’t joy for substance and don’t feel sad for themselves. When situated at the high post in the imperial court, they worried about people and when located at the corners far away the capital, they worried about the Emperor. Therefore, advance would cause them worrying and retreat would also cause them worrying. In that case, if I asked, “When they joy?” They had to say: “Worry should be before, and joy must be after those of the people.” Alas! If there were not such spirited people, whom would I go together with ?

This article was written on the 15th day of the 9th lunar month in the sixth year of Qingli (1046 A.D.)