Did you know… that China is home to one of the oldest known geothermal pools in the world?
Huaqing Pool, located near Mount Li in the province of Shaanxi, China, has a long and storied history. The complex of hot springs has been in use for close to three millennia and was a famous getaway spot for multiple Chinese emperors. The ancient Chinese utilized the natural geothermal activity in the area for cleaning and bathing. Today geothermal energy is widely developed in China primarily for direct use and district heating. Moreover, the source of this heat relates to a dynamic geological history that includes the collision of continental plates which produced the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau.
The pools at Huaqing make up a large hot spring complex. The first stone pool was built during the Qin Dynasty from 206 BC to 220 AD, but the history of the site dates back even further, to the Western Zhou Dynasty, from 1046 to 771 BC. King You built the Li Palace in that era to enjoy the natural beauty, starting a long history of many emperors coming to visit. The area has been expanded since the original little stone pool was first constructed back in the Qin Dynasty. Today the site comprises many pools, historical sites, and even a daily performance! It’s a full-fledged tourist destination.
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow is a show performed daily during the warm months, between April and October. It tells the love story of Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei, with over 300 actors in extravagant costumes. It is also home to the beautiful Nine Dragon Lake. The glassy water surrounds nine stone dragon carvings and is home to Koi fish.
The five historical hot springs on the main site are not available for public use, but there are plenty of hotels and resorts in the surrounding area that are open to everyone. It’s easy to enjoy a day at the Huaqing Pools, learning about the long history of the area, before heading back to your resort to experience the same waters that the ancient Chinese emperors did thousands of years ago.