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Zigui

Zigui, located at the west end of the Xiling Gorge with Xiangxi River joins the Yangtze nearby, is the hometown of Qu Yuan, one of China's greatly loved patriotic poets of the State of Chu in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).

Zigui is also called Stone Town orGourd Town, because in ancient times its wall were of huge stone stabs and the city itself looked like a gourd. The walled city features with traditional Chinese style architecture. It was said that Quyuan's sister once came back to console him before Quyuan was exiled. With respect for this affectionate sister, later the city was called "Zigui" (the Returning Sister).

Qu Yuan had served as a chancellor to King Huai of the Kingdom of Chu. The court discord developed among the clans and Qu was falsely slandered. Qu had adviced that the State of Chu stand firm against attack by the Qin state, but his advice had gone unheeded. He threw himself into the Miluo River in order to protest against the tyrannical King of the Chu State. The mourning local people hoping to find his body beat drums to scare away fish and dropped zongzi, glutinous rice dumplings, into the water hoping that fish would feast on the zongzi rather than on Qu Yuan. Afterwards, the event became into the Dragon Boat Festival ( Duanwu Jie), and the date felt on each May. Today, the dragon boat racing and eating zongzi have been a tradition for worldwide Chinese people, and the people in the South East Asia.

There were Qu Yuan Temple, Qu Yuan Tomb and Qu Yuan former residence in the Zigui. It was said that Qu's body was carried back to Zigui by a magic carp. The villagers had him buried at Quyuantuo and erected a temple behind his grave. The temple has its distinctive white gatewayand walls edged in red. It contains the statue of the poet from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with many stone inscriptions.

Fragrant Stream is a small stream just below Zigui and above the entrance to Xiling Gorge. Taking a dragon boat in the Fragrant Stream, you may see the hometown of Wang Zhaojun, a famous beauty in ancient Chinese history. Zhaojun was a maid of honour to the Emperor during the Western Han Dynasty. She was beautiful and upright. In expectation of creating a good relationship between Xiongnu and Han people, she volunteered for the marriage with the northern Xiongnu king. Before her marriage, Wang Zhaojun returned to her hometown and dropped a precious pearl when washing in the stream. This pearl caused the stream to become crystal-clear and fragrant.




 
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