A number of towers have been successively built in China in 5000 years, among which 4 stand out above the rest, namely, Yellow Crane Tower, Yueyang Tower, Prince Teng’s Pavilion and Heron Tower. Much interestingly, all the 4 towers are celebrated for their cultural connotation, highlighted by poems by famous figures from different dynasties.
3. Prince Teng’s Pavilion
Located in Nanchang of Jiangxi Province and initially built in 659 of the Tang dynasty, the Price Teng’s Pavilion has went through rises and falls in various dynasties and was rebuilt in 1985. Facing west and well-decorated with blue tiles, red columns, colored paintings and horizontal inscribed boards, the present 57.7-meter tall pavilion is reinforced concrete-structured with a south-north symmetrical distribution, which follows the traditional architectural style of the Tang dynasty. The pavilion’s popularity is credited to the poem – Prelude to Prince Teng’s Pavilion by Wang Bo, with the help of which he expresses his endless grief over his unrecognized talents as well as his homesickness through depicting the stunning scenery around the pavilion, and an excerpt from his poem reads：
Prelude to Prince Teng’s Pavilion
The rain has just let up and the rainbow has vanished. The sunlight shoots through the rosy clouds.
A solitary wild duck flies alongside the multi-colored sunset clouds, and the autumn water is merged with the boundless sky into one hue.
The fishermen can be heard singing the evening songs, their voices drifting as far as the banks of the Poyang Lake.
Even the wild geese feel the chill of dusk, and they fly cry southward, disappearing around the south bend of the Heng Mountain.
（Translated by Luo Jingguo）
4. Heron Tower
Lying at Puzhou Ancient Town, Yongji of Shanxi Province and initially built in the north Zhou Period (557-580), the Heron Tower attracted numerous famous poets who wrote poems for praising its magnificence during the Tang dynasty, highlighted by Ascending Heron Tower by Wang Zhihuan. It was destroyed at the beginning of the Yuan dynasty and rebuilt in 1997 with 3 stories, fully representing the graceful bearing of the flourishing Tang Dynasty.
In Wang’s poem, he not only depicts the magnificent landscapes surrounding the tower, but also expresses a simple philosophy in life: “you must work harder to achieve more”, which greatly inspires the Chinese from one generation to another, and the poem reads:
Ascending Heron Tower
Behind the hills the sun is setting，
And into the sea the River’s rolling.
If farther scenes are to be beheld,
Then another storey’s to be scaled.
(translated by Xu Zhongjie )
Author: Yang Qingwei