Three Visitors Cave
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Three Visitors Cave

Three Visitors Cave

Three Visitors Cave (in Chinese it is called Sanyou Cave) is in the northwest of Yichang, and is 7 kilometers far from the city. It is a giant cave on the cliff of the North Peak of Xiling Mountain. It is located back on the mouth of one of the Three Gorges - Xiling Gorge, and facing Xialao River. It is a fantastic cave with beautiful landscapes. Three Visitors Cave is also a famous place of historic interests and one of the key units of cultural relics protection in Hubei province.

Three Visitors Cave - Origin of Its Name

It is said that in the 14th year (819) of Yuanhe Period in Tang Dynasty, Bai Juyi, Bai Xingjian and Yuan Zhen met at Yiling (today's Yichang in Hubei province). They made a tour together to the cave and each of them wrote a poetry here. Bai Juyi wrote Preface to Three Visitors' Tour on the wall of the cave. Hence, the cave got its name Three Visitors Cave. They were called Former Three Visitors. About 200 years later, another three famous poets of Song Dynasty - Su Xun, Su Shi and Su Zhe came to the cave and also left poems on the wall of the cave. And they were called Latter Three Visitors.

Three Visitors Cave - Beautiful Landscapes

The terrain of the Three Visitors Cave is very steep. The space in the cave is pretty wide and it is irregular rectangle-shaped. It is warm in winter and cool in summer. It is about 30 meters deep, 23 meters wide and 9 meters high. It is a limestone cave eroded by groundwater since the Cambrian, about 0.5-0.6 billion years ago. The rocks in the cave are jagged or serrated with various postures and carriages. The whole cave was divided into two halls by three stalactites. The front hall is bright and spacious with a lot of poetries on the wall. The back hall is darker and mysterious; there is a hole from which you could get out of the cave. The top of the back hall is like a hanging bell. If you strike it with a stone you could hear a bell sound. You could also hear a drum sound when the stone falls on the ground.

Three Visitors Cave was praised as "dreamland" by ancient people for its beautiful landscapes. Most of the people passed by Yiling would come to Three Visitors Cave and describe the scenery and express the emotion by leave handwritings (official script, running script, cursive script, regular script), poetries, essays or murals on the wall. There are more than 40 carvings and inscriptions left in the cave. They are precious historical relics.

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