LUOYANG, CITY OF THE PEONY FLOWER
The earliest traces of the city of Luoyang in the west of Henan Province in China date back to the Shang Dynasty during the Bronze Age. The first actual written mention seems to have been a city built in 1000 BC by the Zhou called Chengzhou.
In the year 25 AD Emperor Guangwu made the city of Luoyang the capital of the eastern Han Dynasty and for several centuries Luoyang was something like the commercial center of China. Luoyang's trade and communication with the West on the Silk Road developed rapidly.
After the looting of the city in 190, the capital was moved to Xi'An for a short time, until, after a brief period of uprisings, Emperor Wen of the Wei Dynasty moved the capital back to Luoyang.
The subsequent Jin Dynasty (265-420) also used Luoyang as its capital. But in 311 Luoyang was ransacked by the Xiongnu troops and the capital was moved Nanjing. During this uprising Luoyang was almost completely destroyed and fell into oblivion.
During the Northern Wei Dynasty (493 - 543) Luoyang was honored for another 50 years as the capital and flourished under Emperor Xiao Wendi. During this time work began on the remarkable Longmen Grottoes. Also the Shaolin Monastery in the nearby Song Mountains was built during this period.
The last heyday came during the Sui Dynasty as well as the Tang Dynasty when Luoyang appeared 3 times for a short time as capital. According to tradition, Luoyang was the second largest city in the world after Xi'An during Sui and Tang Dynasties.