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ZHENGDING (Chinese : 正定; pinyin : Zhèngdìng), originally ZHENDING, and formerly romanized as CHENGTING, is a county of southwestern Hebei
Hebei
Province, China, located approximately 260 km (160 mi) south of Beijing
Beijing
. It comes under the administration and is located just to the north of the urban core of Shijiazhuang
Shijiazhuang
and has a population of 594,000. Zhengding has been an important religious center for more than 1,000 years, from - at least - the times of the Sui dynasty
Sui dynasty
to the Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty
. It is the founding place of several major schools of Chan Buddhism
Chan Buddhism
, however, many former religious building complexes have been severely damaged throughout history. A noted temple is the Longxing Monastery , where the historical building ensemble has been preserved almost intact. Furthermore, four famous pagodas , each with its own architectural style, are still standing.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 2 Geography and climate

* 2.1 Administrative Divisions

* 3 Pagodas

* 3.1 Chengling Pagoda
Pagoda
* 3.2 Lingxiao Pagoda
Pagoda
* 3.3 Xumi Pagoda
Pagoda
* 3.4 Hua Pagoda
Pagoda

* 4 Other historical monuments * 5 Transportation * 6 References * 7 External links

HISTORY

The southern gate of Zhengding

Archeological finds indicate that the area of Zhengding County
Zhengding County
has been settled since the early Neolithic
Neolithic
Period . During the Spring and Autumn period , the capital of the Xianyu Kingdom was located in the area, since the year 256 ( Western Jin dynasty
Western Jin dynasty
), the Changshan Prefecture was established in the County. In 923, during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms , the prefecture was renamed Zhengding Prefecture, which was later rearranged into the Zhengding Prefecture and Zhongshan County. Zhengding County
Zhengding County
was created during the Qing Dynasty , in 1723. In 1949, the county was subordinated to Shijiazhuang
Shijiazhuang
Prefecture and in 1986, it came under the jurisdiction of the City of Shijiazhuang.

President and General Secretary Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping
was Secretary of the county Party Committee between 1983 and 1985. A princeling , son of Xi Zhongxun , he was assigned to this rural area on his own request. He is credited with having a Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty
style mansion constructed in the area for the filming of Dream of Red Mansions .

GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Zhengding County
Zhengding County
ranges from 57.6 to 105.2 metres (189 to 345 ft) in elevation. It has a continental monsoon climate with four distinct seasons. The year-round averages are 12.7 °C (54.9 °F) for the temperature, 62% for the humidity, 570 millimetres (22 in) for the precipitation, and 2,736 hours for the sunshine time. The frost-free period exceeds 200 days per year.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

Zhengding County
Zhengding County
administers 4 towns and 5 townships, which in turn control 174 villages and 186 natural villages.

Towns:

* Zhengding Town (正定镇), Zhufutun (诸福屯镇), Xin\'an (新安镇), Xinchengpu (新城铺镇)

Townships:

* Xipingle Township (西平乐乡), Nanniu Township (南牛乡), Nanlou Township (南楼乡), Beizaoxian Township (北早现乡), Quyangqiao Township (曲阳桥乡)

PAGODAS

Overview of Pagodas in Zhengding NAME CONSTRUCTION HEIGHT NUMBER OF STOREYS FLOOR PLAN FIRST BUILT PRESENT FORM DATES FROM

CHENGLING PAGODA brick 33 m 9 octagon Eastern Wei Dynasty
Eastern Wei Dynasty
(540) Jin Dynasty (1161–1189)

LINGXIAO PAGODA wood and brick 41 m 9 octagon Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
, (762-779) Song dynasty
Song dynasty
(1045)

XUMI PAGODA stone and brick 48 m 13 outside, 2 inside square Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
, (636) Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty

HUA PAGODA brick 40 m 4 octagon , circle Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
Jin Dynasty

CHENGLING PAGODA

Chengling Pagoda
Pagoda
(background) and the Linji Temple (foreground)

The Chengling Pagoda
Pagoda
(Chengling Ta) is built from gray bricks, it is also known as the Grey Pagoda. It is located in the Village of Linji to the south of Zhengding and was formerly part of the Linji Temple. The Linji Temple was built during the times of the Eastern Wei Dynasty in 540. During the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
, it became the site where the monk Linji Yixuan
Linji Yixuan
founded the Linji School, one of the five schools of Chinese Chan Buddhism
Chan Buddhism
. Both Linji Yixuan
Linji Yixuan
and the Linji School derive their names from the village. The pagoda was first built in 867 to serve as a shrine for the mantle and alms bowl of Linji Yixuan. The original pagoda was ruined and replaced during 1161 to 1189 (Jin Dynasty ) by the present-day structure. The present pagoda stands on a substructure known as a Sumeru Pedestal after the mythic Mount Sumeru and has an octagonal cross-section. It has nine multi-eared storeys and a total height of 33 meters. Its pedestal is richly decorated. Because it is seen as one of the birthplaces of Zen
Zen
Buddhism, the Chengling Pagoda
Pagoda
is favorite site for pilgrims and tourists from Japan.

LINGXIAO PAGODA

Main article: Lingxiao Pagoda
Pagoda
Lingxiao Pagoda
Pagoda

The Lingxiao Pagoda, also known as the Wooden Pagoda, is a wood-and-brick construction, which was formerly part of Tianning Monastery, located to the west of Longxing Monastery. It was recorded to have been first built in 860 during the Tang Dynasty, it has undergone many repairs and rebuildings since then. The architectural style of the present-day pagoda was created during the Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
in 1045 and was left unchanged during later repairs. The pagoda has an octagonal floor plan, nine storeys, and a total height of 41 meters. The four lowest storeys are made from bricks decorated with wooden eaves. From the fifth storey upwards, the pagoda construction is entirely made of wood, constructed around a central pillar. While storey height continuously decreases from the bottom to the top of the pagoda, this decrease is particularly steep in the five upper wooden storeys. The pagoda carries a cast iron spire at its top as well.

XUMI PAGODA

Main article: Xumi Pagoda
Pagoda
Xumi Pagoda
Pagoda

The Xumi Pagoda, named for the mythical Mount Sumeru , also known as Summer Pagoda
Pagoda
is part of Kaiyuan Monastery which is located to the west of Zhengding. It was erected from stone and bricks and is at 48 meters the tallest pagoda in Zhengding. The pagoda has an austere geometric design with a square floor plan set on a stone platform which is likewise square-shaped. Stones have also been used in the lower part of the first storey. The Xumi Pagoda
Pagoda
was built during the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
in 636. Apart from a wooden ceiling over the first storey (of which no floorboards remain), the inside of the pagoda is hollow and there is no staircase either. Among the rather plain decorations on the outside are thirteen tiers of eaves as well as stone carvings of the Heavenly Kings at the corners of the stone platform. The pagoda is one of originally four fiducial buildings on the grounds of the Kaiyuan Monastery: Tianwang Hall in the front and Fachuan Hall (now in ruins) in the back, a bell tower (built in 540 during the Eastern Wei Dynasty , renovated in 898 during the Tang Dynasty) in the east and the pagoda in the west. Today, the Monastery is largely destroyed and the Xumi pagoda stands surrounded by trees.

HUA PAGODA

Hua Pagoda
Pagoda

The Hua Pagoda
Pagoda
(Hua Ta, lit.: Flower Pagoda, part of Guanghui Temple (Chinese : 广惠寺; pinyin : Guǎnghuì Sì), in the south of Zhengding) is a four-storey brick building with an unconventional shape and a total height of approximately 40 meters. While the lower three storeys have an octagonal floor plan, the fourth storey has a circular layout over which the walls taper towards the tip giving the storey a conical shape. On the outside, this storey is richly decorated with carvings of Buddhas, elephants, and aquatic animals. Another unusual feature of the Hua Pagoda
Pagoda
or four small attached buildings, which are pagodas themselves and crowned with an egg-shaped tip. These were once lost but have recently been completely restored. The Hua Pagoda
Pagoda
was first erected during the Tang Dynasty. The present-day structure dates back to a rebuilt during the time of the Jin Dynasty .

OTHER HISTORICAL MONUMENTS

In June 2000, a gigantic bixi turtle was unearthed in Zhengding's Fuqian Street (府前街). The stone turtle, which originally must have supported a similarly giant stone tablet, is 8.4 m long, 3.2 m wide, and 2.6 m tall, and weighs 107 tons. It is estimated to be around 1200 years old. It has since been moved to Kaiyuan Temple.

TRANSPORTATION

Zhengding has several important railway and road connections, namely the Beijing–Guangzhou , Shijiazhuang–Taiyuan , and Shijiazhuang–Dezhou (Shandong) Railways (石德铁路), and the Beijing–Hong Kong–Macau and Qingdao–Yinchuan Expressways .

Shijiazhuang
Shijiazhuang<