Luoyang

Founded during the Xia Dyansty, Luoyang was the capital of 13 dynasties until Northern Song Dynasty moved its capital to Kaifeng in the 10th century. In the 12th century Juchen invaders from the north of China stormed and sacked Luoyang, which never quite recovered.

For centuries the city languished with only memories of greatness. By the 1920s it had just 20,000 inhabitants. The communists brought life back to Luoyang, constructing an industrial city that now houses more than six million people.

Today, it's hard to imagine that Luoyang was once the centre of he Chinese world and home to more than 1300 Buddhist temples. Reminders of the city's historical greatness are scattered about town but the main attractions are the splendid Longmen Caves 13 km out of town.

Luoyang is spread across the northern bank of the Luo River. The train station is located in the northern part of the city, luoyang's sheif thoroughfare is Zhongzhou Zhonglu, which meets Jinguyuan Lu leading down from the train station at a central T-junction.

The old city in the town's eastern part, beyond the West Gate where sections of the original city walls can still be seen. Throughout Luoyang's ways stand many older houses. Using Wen Feng Pagoda as a landmark, it's a great area to explore on foot or by bicycle.