Situated at the northern foot of Li Mountain approximately 19
miles (30 km) from Xian City, Huaqing Hot Spring is famed for both
its beautiful spring scenery and the love story of Emperor Xuanzong
(685-762) and his mistress Yang Guifei, which originates from the
Tang Dynasty. Huaqing Hot Spring is considered one of the most famous
imperial bathing pools over its 3,000-year history. It is a National
Cultural Relic and one of China’s Hundred Famous Gardens. Its long
history and location among the wonderful landscapes of Xian should
entice any traveler to visit and bathe in this hot spring.
Li Palace was first built during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045-256
BC) at the foot of Li Mountain, a branch of the Qinling Mountain
Range, which divides north and south Shaanxi. Standing 1,256 meters
high, the mountain is covered with pines and cypresses and supposedly
resembles a dark green galloping horse from a long distance away.
During the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), the first a stone pool was
built in this area and was given the name Lishan (“shan” literally
means mountain in Mandarin) Hot Springs. The site was renovated
and expanded multiple times, but it wasn’t until the Tang Dynasty
and the influence of Emperor Xuanzong from whom it gained its historical
significance and cultural elements. In the year 747 he ordered the
construction of a walled palace built around Li Mountain in the
year 747. It was from then on known as Huaqing Palace, or Huaqing
Hot Spring, because of the hot spring within the walls.
The Tang Emperor Xuanzong used to spend his winters at Huaqing
Hot Spring in the company of his favorite mistress, Yang Guifei.
The story of their affair is quite famous throughout China. Legend
has it that upon coming to the thrown, the Emperor sought out the
most beautiful woman in all of China, and he found an enchanting,
young, and plump woman known as Yang Guifei. The Emperor was so
engrossed by this woman that he consequently spoiled her immensely.
He eventually cavorted with the beautiful lady all day and night
and neglected state business. He built the luxurious palaces in
this area purely for their personal pleasure. Emperor Xuanzong's
misconduct finally resulted in a large rebellion, which damaged
the stability of his regime and resulted in the destruction of some
of the palaces built on the Huaqing site.
Huaqing (Hua means flower and qing means pure or clear) Hot Spring’s
present day site is only a small part of the Tang Dynasty Palace,
covering an area of 85,560 square meters. Upon entrance into the
hot spring, you will see famous spots such as the Nine Dragon Pool,
Lotus Flower Pool and Frost Drifting Hall. In 1959, these structures
were rebuilt to mirror the Tang architectural style. Along with
the beautiful scenery, there is a famous statue of Yang Guifei,
standing tall by the lake. The most important pleasure to experience
is to have a bath in the phenomenal Guifei Pool. With an even temperature
of 109°F, the ever-flowing water of the hot spring contains minerals
and organic materials that have therapeutic effects on the skin.
Water originating from four springs reaches a discharge level of
112 tons per hour. In the bath pool, you can experience the same
comforts as the Emperor Xuanzong or Yang Guifei experienced during
the Tang Dynasty. It is truly a therapeutic and wonderful experience
that one should engage in while visiting the city of
and see the famous Terra Cotta Warriors.