Amidst the myriad of places to visit in Yangzhou, Wenhui Pavilion in the heart of the city stands out as a quintessential indoor attraction.
To store the vast Complete Library of the Four Treasuries, the largest collection of books in Chinese history, Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) designated seven pavilions' construction, four in northern China, three in the south. Different from the four repositories in the north that were exclusive to the royal family, three in the south, in Yangzhou, Zhenjiang and Hangzhou respectively, were open to readers back then.
The surrounding of today's Wenhui Pavillion. [Photo/WeChat account: yzs_lyj]
However, the ancient Wenhui Pavilion was destroyed in a heart-wrenching blaze in the tumultuous times of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851–1864), which sought to overthrow the Qing Dynasty. Officials in the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908) wished for its rebuilding, only to be disillusioned later thanks to the slump of fiscal strength. It was until April 2023 that the pavilion was completely restored and reopened to the nation.
The historical and cultural exhibition on the first floor transports visitors to a bygone era. The central plaque in the hall, writing Broaden One's View of the World, symbolizes the pavilion's fundamental existential meaning: to expand horizons of the mind through reading.
The second floor reveals a treasure trove, including a partial copy of Complete Library of the Four Treasuries, which was donated by a local businessman in 2014.
The reproduction of the material took over a decade from 2013 to 2023, having replicated 79,016 volumes by collected efforts of unimaginable technologies.
The second floor serves as a book trove. [Photo/WeChat account: yzs_lyj]
Descending to the basement, the multifunctional space comes alive. Visitors can immerse themselves in Yangzhou's literary charm, savor local tea, and listen to e-books in a cozy corner.
Today's pavillion also offers themed souvenirs. [Photo/WeChat account: yzs_lyj]
Beyond books, Wenhui Pavilion presents an array of cultural and creative products, including thematic postcards, tote bags, and adjustable lamps. For those seeking a poetic walk in the heart of Yangzhou, the pavilion is a beacon of intellectual and cultural allure.