Near Tai’an and Mt. Taishan is Qu’fu, where Confucius made his home. (“near” meaning about an hour’s drive away) We visited Confucius’ house and temple, and also visited the grounds where he and his family are all buried. Tai’an is smaller than Xi’an or Beijing, but it still feels like a city. Qu’fu is even smaller than Tai’an, however, and it definitely had a grungier, more rural feel to it.
People like us are also quite a spectacle in Tai’an and Qu’fu, and I’ve caught more than a few people snapping pictures of people in my group since we’ve been here. We have a little redhead kid and his parents traveling with us, and the people here not only want to take pictures of him, but will ask to pose with him. Based on the reaction he gets from some of the locals, you’d think they’d just stumbled upon a unicorn. People in town have been really friendly, though, and they seem genuinely excited to have us visiting them.
Meat! It’s what’s for dinner.
People passing through the old city wall, to the inner part of Qu’fu where Confucius lived.
This sign asks that everyone dismount their horses (or cars) before entering the grounds of Confucius’ home.
The structures at Confucius’ home definitely have an older and more weathered look to them than the monuments in Beijing.
One of the interior rooms at Confucius’ home.
Mister Ma, our guide for our stay in the Tai’an area, explains some of the finer points of Confucius’ home.
These animal sculptures are built into the roof, as protection for the house.
Praying at the altar in Confucius’ temple.
Believers often come to Confucius’ temple to pray that their children do well on their college entrance exams, and there are thousands of these tags left behind at the temple. The one I found written in Spanish (?) is pretty curious.
A lotus flower, in one of the awesome gardens on the grounds. Can’t say I often see these in an up-close, natural state. 🙂
Men making gravestones, presumably for descendants of Confucius’ family.
Confucius’ grave. His ashes are buried in the mound of grass behind the stone marker.
This woman came begging for money. When we tried to tell her we didn’t have any, she pointed to her ear, so we think she might’ve been deaf.