Located at the entrance of the Qutang Gorge on the north bank of the river, 8 kilometers (5 miles) from Fengjie county seat, Baidi city, also known as White Emperor City clings to grandeur hills and cliffs. It is actually a mini city scattered with temples and gates on top of Baidi Hill.
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The Baidi City was said to be built by Gongsun Shu, an official turned soldier, as the site of his headquarters during the end of the Western Han Dynasty. The legend goes that in 25 A.D. Gong Sunshu saw white vapor in the shape of a dragon rising from a nearby well, and taking this as an auspicious omen, he declared himself the 'White Emperor' and renamed the town 'White Emperor City' and the hill Baidi Hill.
Later in 36A.D. he raised a war with Liuxiu (Emperor Guangwu of the Easten Han Dynasty), then a member of the Han imperial family, in order to annex his territory, in this turbulent period, the city was entirely spared from warfare. The grateful local people built a temple to commemorate him. During the Ming Dynasty, the statue of Gongsun Shu was replaced by a new one for Liubei and later with another three for Guanyu, Zhang Fei and Zhuge Liang respectively.
Another story of the city is about the Three Kingdoms. During the Three Kingdoms Period, Liu Bei, the king of Shu, retreated from a disastrous war against general Lu Xun of Wu Kingdom, and died here in distress. On his deathbed, Liu entrusted state affairs and his son, Liu Chan, to Prime Minister Zhuge Liang (a famous idea man in China's history). The front hall contains large modern statues which depict the scene in the story. To the left is the handsome, winged Observing Stars Pavilion (Guanxing Ting) where Zhuge Liang observed the stars and made accurate weather forecasts which helped him plan his victorious battles. With upturned eaves and polished beams, the temple has 12 pillars on the ground floor and 6 on the upper floor.
Baidi city is also known as City of Poems. In ancient times, attracted by its fame, many scholars and poets visited here and left numerous literary relics. In the city, there are over 70 poems, carvings, and cultural relics of the Sui, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, in which two steles from Sui. Qing Emperor Kangxi. Bamboo-Leaf Stela and Phoenix Stela are the most outstanding.
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