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Cemetery of Confucius (Kong Lin)

At a location 1 km (0.62miles) north of Qufu, Shandong, one can visit the Cemetery of Confucius where the family and descendants of Confucianism are buried. This cemetery has the longest line of descendants in the world. Record has it that this cemetery has already lasted 2340 years. At the time Confucius was buried there, the cemetery was about 1 qin ( 6.67hectares). It was continually expanded to over 3,000 mu (200 hectares) through constant l and grants by emperors of following dynasties. The walls around the cemetery are 7 kilometers (4.35miles) long enclosing more than 10,000 tombs.

The sacred way that leads up to the cemetery is 1,266 meters (4,153 feet) and is lined with verdant pines and cedars. At the end of the road stands a wooden memorial archway - called the Most Sacred Cemetery (Zhi Sheng Lin), and is the gate to the Cemetery of Confucius.

The evolution of the Cemetery reflects the role of Confucianism through history. During his eventful life, Confucius drifted from one place to another, trying to persuade the authorities to adopt his philosophy, but with little success. It was during later dynasties that Confucianism gained popularity among the authorities. Therefore, before the tomb of Confucius, a tombstone of the Master and the Most Sacred Wenxuan King was set up in 1443. To the east lies the tomb of his son, Kong Li, while to the south is the tomb of Kong Ji, his grandson. This configuration is called "holding the son and hugging the grandson"; considered an ideal family pattern in China.

Beside the tombs stand steles inscribed with handwritings of the notable people of the times, and vibrant stone sculptures. The Cemetery is renowned for its natural botanical areas, largely owing to more than 1,000 mature trees. It is said that after Confucius's death, disciples planted rare trees from all over China. Some of the trees are so rare that their proper names are yet unknown.

When you walk into the Cemetery and fully enjoy the treasures here, you will certainly be impressed by the role of Confucius in Chinese culture.

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