Yuantongshan used to be called Luofengshan, situated in northeast of old Kunming city. Meng family first built the Butuoluo Temple on the southern part of Luofengshan during the Tang Dynasty that has more than 1200 years of history.
At the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty, the temple was ruined by war. Among 18 years (1301-1319), Yuantong Temple was built in the site of Butuoluo Temple. Therefore, Luofengshan was also named after the temple as Yuantongshan.
In 1383, Zhuyuanzhang’s foster son, Mu Ying stayed in Yunnan. And in 1386, under Mu Ying’s leadership, Kunming’s “three mountains (Wuhua, Luofeng and Zubian) and one lake (Green Lake)” were constructed.
On top of the Yuantong Mountain, people started to grow begonia since the Ming Dynasty and later on it was known as the “Yuantong Blossom”.
Yuantongshan is a typical karst landform, especially the south and the east sides, where strange rocks can be seen. These rocks and flowers and trees co-create the characteristics of Yuantongshan.
Deep and narrow karst caves inside the mountain. And one could get in the cave from both south and north of the mountain, where the most prestigious one is the Chaoyin Cave near the south cliff. The steep cliffs on the south of the mountain and those verdant trees make such a pleasant view. While the natural wonder of the Luofengshan reflects with the Yuantong Temple, in which the “Yuantong Scenic View” achieved its name. Yuantongshan became one of the most attractive spot for hiking since the Ming Dynasty. The grand view of the thousand year old Yuantong Temple, rivers and the whole city could be taken in at a glance.
Yuantongshan was also the hot spot for literati to get together and to talk with one another. There are plenty of great works left by those poets and writers. And local people came to the Moon and Stone Pavilion to appreciate the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Yuantongshan has had experienced two major constructions to become a piece of greenery land and a park in the city centre. The first construction was completed during the 1920s and the second construction was in the 1950s and 1960s.
During the Double Ninth Festival in 1923, Yuantongshan had its very first official Chrysanthemum Fair for about three days. Hundreds of Chrysanthemum flowers were exhibited and Yuantong Park was packed with people.
The main gate which was built in 1936, photo taken in 1944
Local people in Yuantongshan in 1944
Students from Yiliang County in Yuantongshan in 1937
In the early 1959, Yuantong Park was renamed as Yuantong Zoo.
A couple in Yuantongshan in 1970s
Amusement Park packed with children in 1974
Translated from “Mountain and the City”, Yunnan Publishing House
(Image Credit: web)