Tourists treated to free entry at top attractions

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)

Updated: 2020-03-27

Jincheng, a city in the southeast of Shanxi, is offering the largest-ever incentive package to tourists, as part of its efforts to overcome the negative influence of the novel coronavirus epidemic, which is now under control in the province.

During a news conference held on March 30, the city government announced that Jincheng's 25 major tourist attractions can be visited for free from that date.

The incentive package also includes 5 million yuan ($707,000) worth of coupons for tourists to cover spending in destinations, free expressway passes for self-driving tourists and discounts for tourism products and services.

Huangcheng Xiangfu, the most renowned destination among the 25, is also open for free.

Huangcheng Xiangfu, which literally means "imperial prime minister's residence", is located in Huangcheng village of Yangcheng county.

It was the residence of Chen Tingjing, a renowned prime minister during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Chen was the teacher of Emperor Kangxi and had been the country's prime minister for about half a century.

As it offered accommodation to Kangxi when he visited Shanxi, the scale of the residence is among the largest of all officials' residences in China.

Covering 36,580 square meters, the complex has 16 courtyards and 640 rooms.

During the past three centuries, the residence was also used as a fortress to fend off attacks from bandits and rebels, with its solid city walls and high watch towers.

Impressive monuments and scenic spots in this tourist destination include an imposing stone archway with exquisite engravings, well-decorated rooms, classical gardens, an ancestral temple and a private school.

Chen's family nurtured a number of scholars and high-ranking officials during the past 300 years, including nine scholars qualified in the highest imperial examination and six advisers to emperors.

A tour of the residence is a study of the history of ancient Chinese scholars and officials, as well as local culture and architecture.

To help tourists understand the unique history of the site, a live performance is held every morning, with actors and actresses performing various rituals and ceremonies in Qing Dynasty costumes.

Li Yali contributed to this story.