These pleasant hot springs situated at the foot of Lishan (Mount Li) have been in use for around 2,500 years; the mineral-rich waters bubbling up from the earth have soothed emperors dating back to the notorious Qin Shihuang, and during the Tang Dynasty they became a primary imperial summer residence. Today, many imperial-era buildings and pools remain, accompanied by a small museum and marble boat (both of which date from the latter half of the 20th century).
Today, you can take a dip in the waters once reserved for members of the emperor's court. For RMB 70, you can have a bit of privacy at the Huaqing Hot Spring Bathhouse; for a mere RMB 20 you can soak with the masses in the public bathhouse (bring your own towel for the latter).
History buffs might appreciate knowing that the pools are named after famed Tang concubine Yang Guifei, whose love affair with Emperor Xuan Zong remains the stuff of legend; the springs is said to have remained so pure after so many years because the essence of Yang's beauty infused the waters at her death. More recently, the Huaqing was the site of the so-called Xi'an Incident, when, in 1936, Chiang Kai-shek was arrested by his own Nationalist troops in hopes of forcing the red-hating generalissimo to turn his attention from fighting the Communists and do a better job of fighting the invading Japanese. Finally, the Lintong Museum is just up the hill from the pools, offering fascinating glimpses into the region's long history.
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