The steep and magnificent “Oriental Mecca” --- Dia
Web Editor:International Daily
The clatter of hooves has disappeared while the sound of waves never stops
The steep and magnificent “Oriental Mecca” --- Diaoyu Fortress
Part IThe origin of Diaoyu Fortress
In the city of west China - Chongqing stood a “miracle town”, which had once changed the whole history of the world, named Diaoyu Fortress.
Like many historic sites in China, the interesting name of “Diaoyu Fortress” was derived from an ancient legend: a long time ago, a number of flood victims ran towards the mountains to escape from the flood. Just when they were starving, a Titan came down from the heaven, sat on a boulder and went fishing to feed the victims. Hence, people named the mountains --- the Diaoyu Mountains to commemorate the Titan. And the town built along the mountains was named Diaoyu Fortress.
Diaoyu Fortress is located on the top of the Diaoyu Mountains, in the east peninsula of Hechuan District, Chongqing. Three rivers (the Jialing River, the Fu River and the Qu River) converge in Hechuan, forming a natural military advantage for Diaoyu Fortress --- easy to defend, but hard to attack. Standing in Diaoyu Fortress and viewing the three rivers converging into one, you can see that you are surrounded by rivers from three sides and steep cliff on one side, you will clearly understand the reason why the place was of vital military importance.
Part II The glory of Diaoyu Fortress
History is the best evidence. The Diaoyu Fortress Battle, famous in the world for the smaller and weaker army overtaking the larger and stronger army, took place here.
In 1235, the war between China’s Song Dynasty and Mongolia broke out in full scale. It was the longest, most labor-intensive and most difficult war for Mongolia, a force that rose from the 13th century. The Diaoyu Fortress Battle was one of the most influential battles during this war.
In 1257, Mongke Khan, who had been the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire for seven years, advanced his army, which had conquered Europe, Asia, and Africa on the west side, to launch a large-scale war against the Song Dynasty. Mongke Khan led the principal force of his army to attack Sichuan.
In February 1259, Mongke and his army came in front of the border of Diaoyu Fortress. Having achieved victories in all his battles, Mongke would never image that he had no chance to conquer Diaoyu Fortress, a small city of 2.5 square kilometers. In July of the same year, Mongke was attacked by a bombard and died soon after.
Mongke’s death, firstly, claimed the complete collapse of the Mongol Empire’s plan of destroying the Song Dynasty, prolonging the life of the Song Dynasty to 20 years longer. Secondly, the Mongolian army's third-time west expedition was suspended because of this, alleviating the threat to Europe, Asia, Africa and other regions. Thirdly, Mongke’s death provided an opportunity for Kublai, the younger brother of Mongke to ascend to the throne, who played not just a very important role in the history of China, but in the history of the world.
The Diaoyu Fortress Battle was a defending miracle (36 years of defending) in the ancient and modern world annals of war. It claimed Mongke’s death and forced the Mongol Empire to withdraw from the Eurasian battlefield. Hence, the whole world highly praised this town for its contributions, such as prolonging the life of the Song Dynasty, alleviating the wars in Europe and Asia, and preventing the Mongolian expansion into Africa. The Europeans called the Mongolian army the "Scourge of God", and they named Diaoyu Fortress to be “God’s Folding Scourge Place” or the “Oriental Mecca.”
Part IIThe charm of Diaoyu Fortress
Today, Diaoyu Fortress has become a world-famous tourist attraction. As one of the best preserved Chinese ancient battlefield sites, tourists can feel its “magnificent, rare, steep, beautiful, defensive, ancient and tranquil” features. It is the only scenic spot in Chongqing, honored with both the National Park of China and the National Key Cultural Unit.
In the 2.5-square-kilometer main scenic spot, tourists can see the military and living facilities relics of the Song and the Yuan dynasties, such as the city wall, gates, forts, navy pier, arms workshops, marshal mansion, barracks, Tianchi Pond and Naodingping Stage, as well as the religion sites including the Huguo Temple, the Zhongyi Hall, the Impending Reclining Buddha in the Tang Dynasty, the Buddha Caves and the Three Sacred Crags.
Today, Diaoyu Fortress has been ranked on the World Cultural Heritage Tentative List, and the local government is supporting its application for the World Cultural Heritage.
Part II The scenic spots of Diaoyu Fortress
Huguo Gate is the most magnificent gate in the eight town gates in Diaoyu Fortress. The leaning cliffs on the left and the deep Jianling River on the right make Huguo Gate an important strategic position. If one man guards here, even ten thousand soldiers can not get through. There are several characters on the gate, reading “Huguo Gate” and “the most crucial place in Sichuan.”
Ancient barracks are the place where the defense soldiers once lived. Roads extending to all directions lead to the barracks, so that the troop can take a quick action and attack in any kinds of military emergency. The ancient barracks were burned during the war, but some barracks were rebuilt on the historic site many years later.
Huguo Temple was built during the Shaoxing years of the Southern Song Dynasty, destroyed by warfare in the Yuan Dynasty, reconstructed in the Ming Dynasty, and repaired by Monk Zhihui, the abbot of the temple in the Qing Dynasty. There is a stone-carved couplet on the gate of the temple, reading: Diaoyu Fortress, exploring the mountains with the help of the three rivers; Huguo Temple, controlling the rivers with the aid of the flying clouds.
Impending Reclining Buddha
The Impending Reclining Buddha was carved out of an impending rock in the late Tang Dynasty. The 11-meter-long and 2.2-meter-wide reclining Buddha was carved with a pleased and natural face expression. It is the unique impending sculpture in China.