Tianyi Pavilion (天一阁), the oldest existing private library in China and one of the three oldest family libraries in the world, located in Haishu district of Ningbo City, was built during the Jiajing Period of the Ming Dynasty (1561-1566) under the direction of Fan Qin, a retired assistant minister of the military department of the Ming Dynasty. Tianyi Pavilion covers an area of 31,000 square meters and has a history of more than 400 years. In October 2018, Tianyige Yuehu Scenic Spot was designated as a national 5A-level scenic spot. Each year, thousands of tourists from home and abroad visit the museum, drawn by its ties with the tradition of book collecting, its exquisite gardens, its traditional architecture, and easy access.
Tianyi Pavilion is divided into Book Collection Cultural Area, Garden Leisure Area, and Exhibition Area. The Book Collection Cultural Area centered on Baoshulou (宝书楼) includes Dongming Thatched Cottage, Former Residence of Fan Family, Zunjing Pavilion, Mingzhou Stele Forest, Qianjinzhai and the newly built library; the Garden Leisure Area centered on Dongyuan includes Mingchi, rockery, long corridor, Forest of Steles, Baie Pavilion, Ninghui Hall, etc.; the Exhibition Area is centered on the modern residential building - Qin Family Ancestral Temple, including Furongzhou, Wen Family Ancestral Hall and the new calligraphy and painting gallery.
Baoshulou (宝书楼), also known as Tianyi Library, has a brick-wood structure, which covers an area of around 26,000 square meters and a height of 8.5 meters. The sloping roof is covered with blue tiles, which are raised up and down between two floors. The east and west sides are arched fire walls, and the wall is one foot higher than the roof. The gate opens on the central axis, and in the middle is the hall with 3 bays. The ground is paved with large square bricks. The ceiling is a checkered letter "井 (Jing)" structure and painted with colorful patterns. The second floor is a shared room with wooden floor, and is separated by bookcases, with windows both front and rear. There is one room on the upper floor and five rooms on the lower floor, forming a pattern of "one in the sky, and six on earth". There are long corridors connecting the front and back of the lower level.
Zunjing Pavilion (尊经阁), originally located in Ningbo Fuxue, was built during the Guangxu period, and moved into Tianyi Pavilion during the reconstruction of Tianyi Pavilion in the 24th year of the Republic of China (1935). The architectural pattern of Zunjing Pavilion is the double eaves resting on four side roofs with ridges. It contains imperial books and Confucian classics.
Dongming Thatched Cottage (东明草堂), the library building before Tianyi Pavilion was built, with an emboss of HAECHI in front of the main entrance. Fan Qin was named Dongming, so it was named "Dongming Thatched Cottage", also known as "Yiwu Cottage". Dongming Thatched Cottage was rebuilt in 1980.
There are 173 steles in Mingzhou Stele Forest (明州碑林). Among them, the earliest tablet was set up in the Song Dynasty, with 8 tablets, accounting for 8.7%, engraved with 15 poems by Qian Gongfu, Wang Anshi and Sima Guang, etc. Most of the tablets in the Stele Forest are from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, accounting for 36% and 40% respectively, becoming the main part of the Mingzhou Stele Forest. The latest tablet is the "Tianyi Pavilion East Garden Records", which was established in 1988. The inscription describes the construction of Tianyi Pavilion East Garden.
East Garden (东园), located in the southeast of Tianyi Pavilion, covers an area of about 6,000 square meters. Since 1959, the land was levelled, bamboo and trees were planted, and the stone pavilion, iron ox and stone tiger were moved here. The garden began to take shape. In 1974, 69 collected stone tablets were embedded in the wall. In 1982, the East Garden was expanded. The soil was dug into a pool and piled into a mountain. Corridors were built around the garden and two buildings in the late Qing Dynasty were moved into the garden. It was completed and opened to the public in 1986. Scenic spots are artificial hills, Ming Pool, corridor, forest of steles, White Goose Pavilion, Eight Lion Pavilion, Ninghui Hall and East Hall.
The Qin Ancestral Hall (秦氏支祠) was built in the 12th to 14th years of the Republic of China (1923-1925) by the Qin Clan for ancestor worship. The screens, portal and stage are the central axis of the ancestral hall. There are 5 rooms and 2 lanes, 3 palaces in the front and 3 palaces behind, side halls and watch buildings are on two sides. The building area is over 1400 square meters. The architecture of Qin Clan Ancestral Temple is integrated with wood carving, brick carving, stone carving, gilding and other folk handicrafts.
The Calligraphy and Painting Gallery is in the west of the Qin Temple. The gallery consists of 6 buildings, which are Yunzai Building, Boya Hall, Zhaojin Hall, Hualian Hall, Zhuangyuan Hall and Nan Xuan.
Mahjong Origin Exhibition Hall, formerly the ancestral hall of Mr. Chen Zhengyao's family, displays the history of mahjong, and the relationship between mahjong and Ningbo, displaying different kinds of mahjong tiles from all over the world.
The collection of Tianyi Pavilion Museum includes ancient books, calligraphy and painting, affixed to the monument, and all kinds of unearthed and handed down Chinaware, bronze wares, jade wares, and exquisite local crafts.
There are nearly 300,000 volumes of ancient books in Tianyi Pavilion, most of which are historical materials such as local Chronicles and imperial examination records. There are more than 80,000 rare block-printed editions and volumes.
Most of the existing rare editions of ancient books in Tianyi Pavilion are editions or transcripts from the Ming Dynasty, and some have become the one and only editions in China. The scarcest collections are 271 local Chronicles and 370 imperial examination records from the Ming Dynasty. The imperial examination records are divided into three types, which are records of the highest imperial examinations, metropolitan examination and provincial examination, and the volume of such documents accounts for more than 80% of the world. It has also preserved the complete records of the imperial examinations of the scholars from the first exam on the fourth of the Hongwu year (1371) of the Ming Dynasty to the fifty-second exam on the 11th of the Wanli year(1583), which can be called the top treasure of Tianyi Pavilion.
Tianyi Pavilion has a collection of nearly 550 volumes of genealogy, covering more than 100 surnames. Collect the manuscripts of 12 modern writers such as Tie Ning, Huang Yazhao and Gao Hongbo, including 14 books and 23 volumes, which is the first batch collection of contemporary popular literature works by Tianyi Pavilion.
The collection of paintings and calligraphy in Ningbo Tianyi Pavilion Museum includes Wu Zhen's Double Tree Slope Stone, Wen Zhengming's Turbulent River Flowing Between Mountains and Valleys, Wu Boyu's Tianmu Mountain, etc from the Yuan Dynasty; and Fei Danxu’s Lake Pavilion, Luo Ping's Ink Wintersweet, and Zheng Xie’s Pillars and Stone, etc. from the Qing Dynasty.
The collections of ancient artifacts in Ningbo Tianyi Pavilion Museum include bronze mirror with double circle epigraph from the Han Dynasty, porcelain jar of the Yue Kiln from the Western Jin Dynasty, ink lacquered Chinese zither from the Tang Dynasty, clear blue glazed porcelain vase from the Qing Dynasty, etc.
Tianyi pavilion is the top attraction in Ningbo near the city center. It is about 13km away from Ningbo Lishe International Airport (宁波栎社国际机场) and about 1.5km away from Ningbo Railway Station (宁波火车站). Learn more about How to Get to Ningbo & Ningbo Transportation >>
Ningbo Railway Station to Tianyi Pavilion: Ningbo Railway Station is located in the city center, only about 1.6km from Tianyi Pavilion. Therefore, after getting off the train, you may take a taxi to Tianyi Pavilion, which takes less than 10 minutes. Or if you don’t have much luggage, you can even walk there within 20 minutes.
Ningbo Yuele International Airport to Tianyi Pavilion: There is no metro or public bus directly connecting the airport to Tianyi Pavilion, therefore the best way to transfer between two places is by taking a taxi. The driving distance between Ningbo Airport and Tianyi Pavilion is about 14km, which takes about 30 minutes.
If you want to get rid of the hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfers from us. Our knowledgeable local tour guide and skilled driver will escort you to Tianyi Pavilion with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
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The library will be closed every Monday morning (except public holidays), and open at 13:30 PM.
Ningbo Moon Lake Park (月湖公园) is only hundreds of meters east from Tianyi Pavilion, therefore most travelers would visit these two sites together. The park takes the Moon Lake as the center, and more than 60 sculptures are scattered along the lake bank. With the theme of spring, summer, autumn and winter, the shore of Moon Lake is divided into four quays with different sceneries. Located in the city center, the Moon Lake is praised as “West Lake in Ningbo”.
Ningbo Drum Tower (宁波鼓楼), also known as Haishu Tower (海曙楼), was built in the Tang Dynasty and is the only remaining ancient city gate tower in Ningbo. The tower is one of the best places to enjoy the panoramic view of Ningbo City. Above the ancient tower built a Roman style bell tower, which makes Ningbo drum tower quite unique, combining the architectural style of Chinese and Western. Painting, calligraphy and photo exhibitions are often held in the building.
More information about Ningbo Attractions, please visit Ningbo Attractions & Top 13 Things to Do >>
Things to Do in Ningbo: Tianyi Pavilion, Ningbo Old Bund, Ningbo Museum, Xikou Xuedou Scenic Area, Former Residence of Chiang Kai-shek, Tiantong Temple…
How to Get to Ningbo: International flights from Singapore (6.5 hrs), Tokyo (3 hrs), etc., 2-3 hrs' domestic flights from Guangzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, etc., or high speed trains from Hangzhou (1 hr), Shanghai (2~2.5 hrs), Suzhou (2.5~3.5 hrs), etc.
Best Time to Visit Ningbo: Spring and Autumn
Tourists usually take about 1-2 days to explore Ningbo. The scenic spots in Ningbo downtown are relatively concentrated. You may visit the Tianyi Pavilion, Ningbo Old Bund, Tianyi Square, etc. within 1 day. If you would like to spend more days exploring the suburbs and countryside, you may visit the Former Residence of Chiang Kai-shek and Xuekou Mountain Scenic Area or Tiantong Temple, Asoka Temple and Dongqian Lake.
Ningbo is one of the best transfer places to reach Putuoshan. Most visitors prefer to visit Ningbo and Putuoshan together. It usually takes about 2 days to have a lifetime spiritual pilgrimage in Putuoshan. Then they may extend the “Heaven on Earth” - Hangzhou (2-3 days), the representative Wuzhen Water Town (1-2 days). A classic Zhejiang trip with Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wuzhen and Putuoshan usually takes 6-7 days. Also, you can extend to Anji bamboo forest or Moganshan resort in Huzhou (2-4 days), etc.
Besides, compared with just travelling Ningbo, Zhejiang, most visitors prefer to travel to the metropolis Shanghai, Suzhou Gardens, Hangzhou Lakes, Huangshan Mountains more nearby hot cities in One Go! Such an amazing tour will take 7~8 days.
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If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation, best visiting time and other troublesome tour planning, you can take a private tour package which covers sightseeing, night shows and activities, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to any destinations with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
If you have more questions about Ningbo and Ningbo tours, please feel free to contact us and our professional travel consultants are here ready to help!
Top 3 Ningbo tours chosen by most customers to explore Ningbo in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Shanghai / Putuoshan / Hangzhou
Hangzhou / Wuzhen / Hangzhou / Ningbo / Putuoshan
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