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Marco Polo Bridge

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Introduction
Marco polo bridge is a stone bridge located 15 km southwest of Beijing city center in the Fengtai District. It bridges the Yongding River, a major tributary of Hai 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.

History & Background
                                                               Over this river there is a very fine stone bridge, so fine indeed, that it has very few equals in the world.

                                                                                      —?The Travels of Marco Polo
Construction of the original bridge on this site commenced in 1189, the final year of Emperor Shizong of Jin's reign and was completed under his successor in 1192. Following damage from the flooding Yongding, the bridge was reconstructed under the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty in 1698. The Marco Polo Bridge is well-known because it was highly praised by the Venetian traveler Marco Polo during his visit to China in the 13th century (leading the bridge to become known in Europe simply as the Marco Polo Bridge), and for the 20th century Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which marked the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).

Following the Communist takeover of China in 1949, the bridge was decked in asphalt and carried motor vehicular traffic.

Structure & Architecture
The Marco Polo Bridge is 266.5 meters (874 ft) in length and 9.3 m (30.5 ft) in width, supported on 10 piers and 11 segmental arches. Hundreds of artistically unique stone lions from different eras line both sides of the bridge. The most intriguing feature of these beasts is the fact that there are more lions hiding on the head, back or under the belly or on paws of each of the big lions.

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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.

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However, record has it that there were originally a total of 627 lions. The posture of each lion varies, as do their ages. Most date from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, some are from the earlier Yuan dynasty (1271–1368); while the few lions dating from as long ago as the Jin dynasty (1115-1234) are now quite rare, for the 800 years since its completion, the bridge has been a well known scenic spot in Beijing.

As well as being famed for its aesthetic features, Marco Polo Bridge is also considered to be an architectural masterpiece. It is built of granite, with a large central arch flanked by ten smaller ones. Each of the ten piers is protected by triangular iron pillars that have been installed to prevent damage by flood and ice.

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Marco Polo Bridge Incident
On July 7, 1937, the Japanese army launched a military exercise near Lugouqiao (Marco Polo Bridge) in southwestern Beijing (Beiping). They later claimed one of their soldiers was missing and asked to enter the Wanping County to look for him. Knowing the Chinese army would reject the request, they used this as an excuse to launch a full scale attack.

The intruding Japanese forces assaulted Lugou Bridge or Lugouqiao(known as the Marco Polo Bridge), and Chinese defending soldiers responded by gun fire. This has been known as the world-famous Lugou Bridge Incident, which marked the beginning of Japan's all-out aggression against China as well as of China's War of Resistance to Japan.

Thereafter July 7 became the very day for marking the incident.

Fighting courageously and uninterruptedly against Japanese aggressor troops for eight straight years, Chinese people the final victory on August 15, 1945 when Japan surrendered unconditionally.

Information
How to get to Marco Polo Bridge

1. Take bus 309, 329, 339, 458, 459, 624, 661, 662 or 952 and get off at Lugou Xinqiao Station.

2. Take bus 77, 96, 97, 133, 310, 313, 452, 843, 896, 983, or Fast Transit Line 45, 97, 145, or Special Line 17 and get off at Kangzhan Diaosuyuan (Sculpture Garden) Station.

3.Take Subway Line 14 and get off at Dawayao Station. Get out from Exit D.
Then take bus 339 at Xidaokou Bei Station and get off at Lugou Xinqiao Station.

Openning Hours
April - October: 07:00 to 20:00
November - March: 07:00 to 18:00

Tikcet Price: CNY 20

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