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Lugou Bridge

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  • Stone Lions on Lugou Bridge
    Stone Lions on Lugou Bridge
  • A Stone Lion on Lugou Bridge
    A Stone Lion on Lugou Bridge
  • Lougou Bridge, Beijing
    Lougou Bridge, Beijing
  • Side Scene of Lugou Bridge
    Side Scene of Lugou Bridge
  • Stone Tablet of Wanpingcheng
    Stone Tablet of Wanpingcheng
  • A Stone Tablet Pavilion
    A Stone Tablet Pavilion
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So many hullabaloos have been made about, and so much ink has been spilled over, Lugou Bridge that the 11-arch stone bridge seemingly has gobbled up almost all the hype among its ancient counterparts in Beijing. It proudly proclaims itself 'the oldest and the most magnificent stone bridge in Beijing'. With its unique design and amazing aesthetics, the bridge left so firm an impression upon Marco Polo 7 centuries ago that he rhapsodized over it in glowing terms in his travelogue widely read in western countries.

The 231.8 yard-long bridge used to be a key artery into Beijing crossing Yongding River which was moody, powerful and furious but today has dried up. First constructed in 1189 and completed in 1192, the bridge has gone through the usual cycle of rebuilding and restoration, and it received a major makeover in 1444. Although it succumbed to flood in 1698, it was restored to its former glory after the PRC was founded.

If you have spent enough time in China, you may have contracted the fatigue of Chinese sentry lions at gates. But try to imagine a bridge lined with hundreds of small stone lions. At Lugou Bridge, you will find yourself falling into an awestruck, gleeful trance before those distinctively carved out beasts. Offering an orgasmic viewing experience, your lion fatigue will wither away. Try counting the lions, but it is not as easy as it sounds. For centuries, no one has had the temerity to claim that he or she has counted them up. It is easy to get the 288 lions sitting atop stone poles, but do not forget babies clinging to adults.

Then how many lions are there? That mystery remained unsolved for 800 years until 1961 when a team of Beijing relics experts finally gave the result: 485. But with some additional babies found under the bellies, 485 increased to 498. And the most recent count has brought that number to 501.

A famous admirer of the bridge, Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), wrote four Chinese calligraphic characters - Lu Gou Xiao Yue, which means 'The Moon over the Lugou Bridge at Dawn'. They are inscribed on the eastern bank of the river.

How did Emperor Qianlong hit on the idea of writing the four characters? All started with a rumor getting about at the time. It was rumored that the moon is visible on the New Year's Eve and the first day of the first lunar month, but that never happens elsewhere. At night, the bright moon rises, and by its light, the lions shine frostily. But the moon is visible only to two kinds of individuals – kids under the age of 15 and adults who have nine lives as a cat.

 Ticket Fare: CNY 20 

 Bus Routes: 
Take Bus No. 301, 309, 339, 458, 459, 624, 661, 662, 715, 748, 809, 971 or 983 and get off at the Sculpture Garden of Anti Japanese War

 Opening Hours: 
07:00 - 19:00 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31)
08:00 - 17:00 (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31)

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