Yangtze River. Ghostly (ghastly?) encounters.


The Yangtze cruise included a side trip to Fengdu, known by the Chinese as the “Ghost City”.

Modeled after Chinese Hell in the Taoist mythology and built over 1800 years ago, the place is now an island since the completion of the 3 Gorges Dam.

We had to walk over this bridge choosing whether we wanted good health (the left bridge) or great wealth (the right).
We all chose good health
Margaret and Anne, as Dave looks on.
Devout followers, burning prayers.
This is a pretty freaky place.

It’s all about Chinese ghost culture, the afterlife, and what the Chinese would call a “model of hell”, where we’re reminded that good is rewarded with good, and evil is rewarded with terrifying and torturous evil.

There are lots of different scary sculptures of ferocious demons

The temples built on Ming Hill have been carved with a large assortment of ghosts and devils. These ugly and tortured looking creatures are meant to depict the after-life, where people who disobey ancient Chinese morals will be punished by every horrifying way imaginable. It was hoped that these terrifying statues would scare people into submission to the moral codes.

Landmarks bear horrible names – Ghost Torturing Pass, Last-Glance of Home Tower, Nothing-to-be-Done Bridge, and the River of Blood.

The trial court is presided by King of the hell.


I found the place eerily beautiful. Much of the area has been reconstructed, as during the Cultural Revolution last century a lot of the statues were destroyed by Mao’s soldiers.

Wouldn’t want to be on his wrong side.

With all the references and statues to the afterlife, torture and evil, plus all the mist surrounding the mountain it was pretty spooky.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom and we were rewarded with happy jolly Buddhas in some of the beautiful temples.

Despite the spookiness of Fengdu, we really enjoyed wandering about Buddhist and Taoist temples, statues and relics, and reckon it was worth the walk up the mountain of over 800 stairs.

Our Yangtze cruise is coming to an end, but not before we get the opportunity to explore nooks and crannies of the gorges. More on that soon.

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  1. Anonymous

    The characters in this hell are great.

    I particularly like the lawyers standing together as you approach the judge – one friendly and one austere.

    It's hard to say which of them is scarier.


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