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From the series Cities of China

Here’s a question for you: what was the capital of China when Jesus was born? If you said Luoyang, in Henan province, then you are correct! It was the capital of the Han Dynasty, which lasted from 206 BC to AD 220.

Today, Luoyang is another one of those “small” Chinese cities that has a population of 6 million people. Located on the Yellow River, the city is considered to be one of the cradles of Chinese civilization.

Its main attraction is the Longmen Grottos, an impressive array of Buddhist art and carvings that date back as far as the 300s.

Whenever I think of Luoyang, however, I think of tractors and peonies. In 1984, when I was a teacher in Zhengzhou, Henan province, the Foreign Affairs Office of the province organized a trip to Luoyang for all the foreign teachers. We made a perfunctory stop at the grottos, but for some reason, what they really wanted to show us was the Luoyang Tractor Factory.

After admiring the bright red tractors coming off the line we were hustled off to the Peony Festival. Our guide told us that the Luoyang peonies were the most famous peonies in the world. I didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise.

This video captures what Luoyang looks like today:

A list of Christian churches in the city can be found here.

Luoyang is also home to Maria’s Big House of Hope, the orphan ministry founded by Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman following the death of his adopted Chinese daughter.

If your China itinerary takes you to Henan province, Luoyang is definitely worth visiting.

Image credit: by Ildar, via Flickr
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Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio

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