Ningbo, with its beautiful natural scenery and wealth of historical attractions throughout its 7000-year history, draws tourists from all over China and also abroad.
Ningbo is the birthplace of the Hemudu Civilization. The Hemudu Site is one of the earliest New Stone Age sites discovered in China. It is situated in the Yuyao Town, just 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Ningbo City. The site covers an area of 40,000 square meters (9.8 acres), and contains four different layers, each representing a different cultural age - the deepest layer of which goes back around 7000 years. Over 7000 artifacts have been unearthed from the site. These include a number of implements and tools made from bones, jade, wood and clay. The remains of buildings, animals and even cultivated rice have also been discovered in the area.
Thousands years long history left Ningbo with abundant cultural relics which reveal the great importance of this city in Chinese history, especially in terms of Buddhism. The Asoka Temple is one of the most prominent of the city's cultural relics. It is one of the 'Five Mountains' of Buddhism in China - the 'Five Mountains' referring to the five official temples with the highest status in Chinese history. The temple is famed for the dagoba which houses the Buddhist relics of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. (Note: dagoba is similar to pagoda yet it usually refers to which houses the relics of the eminent monk.)
Ningbo is also home to a number of other prestigious temples: one of those is the BaoguoTemple, a wooden-structured building first erected during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).
Another local Buddhist sanctuary is Tiantong Temple, which lies at the foot of Taibai Mountain. It covers an area of almost 60,000 square meters, one of the largest of its kind in China. It contains over 720 uniquely structured buildings, each subtlety decorated and finely designed.
The city's Tianyi Pavilion, the oldest library in China, is also worth visiting. It was built during the years 1561-1566. Today, it houses a collection of around 300,000 volumes. Most of them are block printed editions and hand copied books from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The pavilion itself is also surrounded by an elaborate landscape garden.
Ningbo is blessed with the beautiful natural scenery of the Siming and Tiantai Mountains. The Tianhe Scenic Area lies in the mid-section of Tiantai Mountain, and is actually made up of three separate scenic areas: Big Pine Creek Canyon, Double Peak Forest Park and the On-Water Visiting Area. Big Pine Creek Canyon stretches for 20 kilometers (12 miles), and is known as the 'No.1 Canyon in east Zhejiang Province'. The canyon contains numerous peaks, rock formations and waterfalls.
7 kilometers (4 miles) to the southeast of the city centre, Dongqian Lake adds much charm to the cityscape. It is four times larger than the West Lake and is the largest fresh water lake in Zhejiang Province. Surrounded by green mountains, the lake with its serpentine bank is one of the city's most attractive locations.
Another great place for relaxing is the Nanxi Hot Spring southeast of Ningbo City. Various hot springs and a peaceful environment provide comfort and enjoyment to those that choose to visit.
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