‘Jerusalem in Hebei’ gets mixed reviews online

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/13 22:38:39

Wanhe Palace in North China's Hebei Province is a pantheon with a medley of statues and shrines of Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicsm and many other religions. Source: video of @Schlieffen

One can hardly imagine or find any place on Earth that gathers Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam and many other religions close to each other under the same roof, unless they visit to the Wanhe Palace in North China, dubbed the "Jerusalem in Hebei Province" on Chinese social media. 

Videos that have gone viral by a Sina Weibo user showed that Wanhe Palace, located in the county of Linxi, Xingtai in Hebei, has a special zone for religious culture, displaying statues and murals of almost every existing religions, including familiar ones like Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam and Judaism, as well as some uncommon ones like Shintoism from Japan, Sikhism and Jainism from India. 

Temples in Wanhe Palace shrine also showcase deities in charge of all walks of life, even including ones that have never been heard of.

In addition to traditional and common deities such as the god of fire, videos also show sculptures of the god of thieves who appears as if he is snatching a bag, the god of sex workers, that depicts a frugal woman standing by a deer, and a toilet god who holds a roll of paper.

The seemingly messed up venue, in fact, is very popular among not only the locals but thousands of tourists across the nation.

A resident in Linxi, surnamed Guo, told the Global Times on Sunday that the tourist attraction is popular and "there are many visitors in the scenic area during the holidays."

Guo is a Christian but she did not worry about the confusion of religions at the palace, and she considers it educational for her children.

Meanwhile, Chinese netizens are split on the palace.

"It is convenient for me to worship all gods in a place who can meet the different requirements of my life," "bianchengzhishi" wrote on Sina Weibo.

However, plenty of netizens could not understand the tourist attraction and consider it absurd.

Besides different religions, the tourist attraction puts sculptures of many reviled domestic and foreign celebrities in history in one room.

Ironically, Adolf Hitler stands between two other notorious greedy officials in Chinese history and Benito Mussolini is located beside an infamous eunuch in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Tojo Hideki, who led Japanese troops in the China invasion, is also displayed in there.

These historical figures are considered negative examples to warn people not to behave like them.

The construction of Wanhe Palace began in 2006 and it has been supported by a local research board.

Wanhe is not alone. There is another place in Hebei called Nainai Temple, displaying fictitious gods. 

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