Marco Polo Bridge (Lugouqiao)
"Over this river there is a very fine stone bridge, so fine indeed, that it has very few equals in the world." - The Diary of Marco Polo
The Marco Polo Bridge is located 15 kilometers southwest of Beijing proper. Known also as the Guangli Bridge, it spans the banks of the Yongding River. According to historical records, the "Lugou River is also called the Heishui (Black Water) River". In the local dialect in ancient times, lu (reed) meant black; thus the Heishui River became known as the Lugou River, and the bridge was accordingly given the same name.
Lining the bridge are two rows of carved white marble balustrades topped by posts carved with figures of lions. The people of Beijing have a saying to the effect that "the lions of the Lugou Bridge are too numerous to count", which is explained by the fact that the lions are carved in a great variety of aspects and distributed unequally among the 280 white marble posts. A pair of vividly carved reclining stone elephants and a number of other animal figures guards each end of the bridge.
On July 7, 1937, the first shot of the War of Resistance Against Japan rang out beside the Lugou Bridge. But now all signs of the war have long since disappeared. As the sun sets, the furnaces of nearby Shijingshna Steel Works cast a red glow across the sky, lighting up the bridge in fiery splendor.
Address: On the Yongding River, Wanping, Fengtai District.
Entry ticket: 10 yuan (adult), 5 yuan (student).
Transportation: Bus No. 303 or 309, arrive at Lugouqiao.
Tel: 86-10-83894614, 83892355.