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About Fengdu

Merchant, Fengdu, China

Originally located on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, Fengdu is a 2,000-year-old community with a special cultural relationship to ghosts and the afterlife. According to Taoism, when people die, their spirits gather at a local hill called Ming Mountain. There are 75 Buddhist and Tao temples there, all built during the Western Jin period (265-420 A.D.) and rebuilt during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1386-1911 A.D.). It is also said that Fengdu gained its reputation from two supernatural beings—Wang Fangping and Yin Changsheng—who lived in the area during the Han Dynasty. They merged their families names to form the phrase Yin Wang, which means “ruler of hell,” reinforcing Fengdu’s reputation as a mystical and terrible place of spirits. Due to the Three Gorges Dam project, much of Fengdu town is in the process of being submerged; the community has been relocated to a brand-new town built on the southern bank of the Yangtze. However, much of the Ming Mountain ghost city sites will remain above the new water level. Another of the area’s attractions that will remain accessible to visitors is the Snow Jade Cave, filled with brilliant white stalactites.

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