Prefecture-level city

Top: Longmen Grottoes, Bottom left: White Horse Temple, Bottom right: Paeonia suffruticosa in Luoyang and Longmen Bridge

Luoyang in Henan

Location in China

Coordinates: 34°40′11″N 112°26′32″E / 34.66972°N 112.44222°E / 34.66972; 112.44222Coordinates: 34°40′11″N 112°26′32″E / 34.66972°N 112.44222°E / 34.66972; 112.44222
Country People's Republic of China
Province Henan
  Party Secretary Li Ya
  Mayor Bao Changyong
  Prefecture-level city 15,229.15 km2 (5,880.01 sq mi)
  Urban 810.4 km2 (312.9 sq mi)
  Metro 733.7 km2 (283.3 sq mi)
Elevation 144 m (472 ft)
Population (2010 census)
  Prefecture-level city 6,549,941
  Density 430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
  Urban 1,926,079
  Urban density 2,400/km2 (6,200/sq mi)
  Metro 1,857,003
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Area code(s) 379
GDP ¥52541 per capita (2015)
Ethnicities Han, Hui, Manchu, Mongolian
County-level divisions 15
Township-level divisions
License plate prefixes C

"Luoyang" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese 洛阳
Traditional Chinese 洛陽
Postal Loyang
Literal meaning "Northern bank of the Luo [River]"
For other uses, see Luoyang (disambiguation).

Luoyang, formerly romanized as Loyang, is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River in Central China. It is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast. As of the final 2010 census, Luoyang had a population of 6,549,941 inhabitants with 1,857,003 people living in the built-up (or metro) area made of the city's five urban districts, all of which except the Jili District are not urbanized yet.[1]

Situated on the central plain of China, Luoyang is one of the cradles of Chinese civilization, and is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.


The name "Luoyang" originates from the city's location on the north or sunny ("yang") side of the Luo River. Since the river flows from west to east and the sun is to the south of the river, the sun always shines on the north side of the river. Luoyang has had several names over the centuries, including "Luoyi" (洛邑) and "Luozhou (洛州)", though Luoyang has been its primary name. It has been called, during various periods, "Dongdu" (东都, meaning the Eastern Capital, during the Tang Dynasty), "Xijing" (西京, meaning the Western Capital, during the Song Dynasty), or "Jingluo" (京洛, meaning the general capital for China).


Museum of Luoyang Eastern Zhou Royal Horse and Chariot Pits
Statue of the Duke of Zhou who founded a city here c. 1036 BC

The greater Luoyang area has been sacred ground since the late Neolithic period. This area at the intersection of the Luo river and Yi River was considered to be the geographical center of China. Because of this sacred aspect, several cities – all of which are generally referred to as "Luoyang" – have been built in this area. In 2070 BC, the Xia Dynasty king Tai Kang moved the Xia capital to the intersection of the Luo and Yi and named the city Zhenxun (斟鄩). In 1600 BC, Tang of Shang defeated Jie, the final Xia Dynasty king, and built Western Bo (西亳), a new capital on the Luo River. The ruins of Western Bo are located in Luoyang Prefecture.

In the 1136 BC a settlement named Chengzhou (成周) was constructed by the Duke of Zhou for the remnants of the captured Shang nobility. The Duke also moved the Nine Tripod Cauldrons to Chengzhou from the Zhou Dynasty capital at Haojing. A second Western Zhou capital, Wangcheng (also: Luoyi) was built 15 km (9.3 mi) west of Chengzhou. Wangcheng became the capital of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty in 771 BC. The Eastern Zhou Dynasty capital was moved to Chengzhou in 510 BC. Later, the Eastern Han Dynasty capital of Luoyang would be built over Chengzhou. Modern Luoyang is built over the ruins of Wangcheng, which are still visible today at Wangcheng Park.[2]

In 25 AD, Luoyang was declared the capital of the Eastern Han Dynasty on November 27 by Emperor Guangwu of Han.[3] For several centuries, Luoyang was the focal point of China. In AD 68, the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China, was founded in Luoyang. The temple still exists, though the architecture is of later origin, mainly from the 16th century. An Shigao was one of the first monks to popularize Buddhism in Luoyang.

The ambassador Banchao restored the Silk Road in Eastern Han Dynasty and this has made the capital city Luoyang the start of Silk Road

In 166 AD, the first Roman mission, sent by "the king of Da Qin [the Roman Empire], Andun" (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, r. 161-180 AD), reached Luoyang after arriving by sea in Rinan Commandery in what is now central Vietnam.[4]

The late 2nd century saw China decline into anarchy:

The decline was accelerated by the rebellion of the Yellow Turbans, who, although defeated by the Imperial troops in 184 AD, weakened the state to the point where there was a continuing series of rebellions degenerating into civil war, culminating in the burning of the Han capital of Luoyang on 24 September 189 AD. This was followed by a state of continual unrest and wars in China until a modicum of stability returned in the 220s, but with the establishment of three separate kingdoms, rather than a unified empire.[5]

In 190 AD, Chancellor Dong Zhuo ordered his soldiers to ransack, pillage, and raze the city as he retreated from the coalition set up against him by regional lords from across China. The court was subsequently moved to the more defensible western city of Chang'an. Following a period of disorder, Luoyang was restored to prominence when Cao Pi, Emperor Wen of the Wei Dynasty, declared it his capital in 220 AD. The Jin Dynasty, successor to Wei, was also established in Luoyang.

When Jin was overrun by Xiongnu forces in 311 AD, it was forced to move its capital to Jiankang (modern day Nanjing). The Xiongnu warriors then sacked and nearly totally destroyed Luoyang. The same fate befell Chang'an in 316 AD.[6]

In 493 AD, Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty moved the capital from Datong to Luoyang and started the construction of the rock-cut Longmen Grottoes. More than 30,000 Buddhist statues from the time of this dynasty have been found in the caves. Many of these sculptures were two-faced. At the same time, the Shaolin Temple was also built by the Emperor to accommodate an Indian monk on the Mont Song right next to Luoyang City. The Yongning Temple (永宁寺), the tallest pagoda in China, was also built in Luoyang.

When Emperor Yang of Sui took control in 604 AD he founded the new Luoyang on the site of the existing city using a layout inspired by his father Emperor Wen of Sui's work in newly rebuilt Chang'an. [7][8]

During the Tang Dynasty, Luoyang was Dongdu (东都), the "Eastern Capital", and at its height had a population of around one million, second only to Chang'an, which, at the time, was the largest city in the world.[9]

At the interval of Tang Dynasty, the first and the only empress in Chinese history- Empress Wu, moved the capital of her Zhou Dynasty to Luoyang and named it as Shen Du(Capital of the God). She constructed the tallest palace in Chinese history, which is now in the cite of Sui Tang Luoyang city.

During the short-lived Five Dynasties, Luoyang was the capital of the Later Liang (only for a few years before the court moved to Kaifeng) and Later Tang.

During the North Song Dynasty, Luoyang was the 'Western Capital' and birthplace of Zhao Kuangyin, the founder of the Song Dynasty. It served as a prominent culture center, housing some of the most important philosophers.

During the Jin Dynasty, Luoyang was Middle Capital

Since the Yuan Dynasty, Luoyang was no longer the capital of China in the rest of the ancient dynasties. However, for one last time, Luoyang city was the capital of the Republic of China for a brief period of time during the Japanese invasion.

World Heritage

Ancient city sites

Administrative divisions

Luoyang Museum

The prefecture-level city of Luoyang administers 5 "built-up" urban districts, 1 additional district, 1 county-level city, and 9 more rural counties:

During the 2010 census, the 5 "built-up" urban districts held a population of 1,857,003, making it the fourth-largest city in Henan. The entire area of Luoyang’s municipal government held 6,549,941 inhabitants total.



As its name states, the Old Town of Luoyang is located on the north bank of the Luo, a southern tributary of the middle reaches of the Yellow River. The districts of the modern urban center include both banks and some of the surrounding mountains.

The countryside controlled by the municipal government includes still more rugged land: mountains comprise 45.51% of the total area; hills, 40.73%; and plains, 13.8%.[13]


Climate data for Luoyang
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.1
Average low °C (°F) −3.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 7.6
Source: National Meteorological Center of the China Meteorological Administration. "Luoyang".


Guanlin Temple in May 2007.

The Longmen Grottoes south of the city were listed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in November 2000. Guanlina series of temples built in honor of Guan Yu, a hero of the Three Kingdoms periodis nearby. The White Horse Temple is located 12 km (7.5 mi) east of the modern town.

The Luoyang Museum (est.1958) features ancient relics dating back to the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties. The total number of exhibits on display is 1,700.[14] China's only tomb museum, the Luoyang Ancient Tombs Museum, opened to the public in 1987 and is situated north of the modern town.

The Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory (also known as the Dengfeng Observatory or the Tower of Chou Kong) stands 80 km (50 mi) south-east of Luoyang. It was constructed in 1276 during the Yuan Dynasty by Guo Shoujing as a giant gnomon for "the measurement of the sun's shadow". Prior to the Jesuit China Missions, it was used for establishing the summer and winter solstices in traditional Chinese astronomy.[15]


Luoyang is famed for its Water Banquet, which consists of 8 cold and 16 warm dishes all cooked in various broths, gravies, or juices.


Luoyang is also celebrated for the cultivation of peonies, its city flower.


"Spring in Luoyang" (洛阳, Luòyáng Chūn), an ancient Chinese composition, became popular in Korea during the Goryeo dynasty (9181392) and is still performed in its dangak (Koreanized) version Nakyangchun (낙양춘). Lou Harrison, an American composer, has also created an arrangement of the work.

Main article: Luoyang dialect

Residents of Luoyang typically speak a dialect of Zhongyuan Mandarin. Although Luoyang's dialect was a prestige dialect of spoken Chinese from the Warring States period of the Zhou until the Ming Dynasty, it differs from the Beijing form of Mandarin which became the basis of the standard modern dialect.

Outer space

Asteroid (239200) 2006 MD13 is named after Luoyang.



Twin towns — sister cities

Luoyang is twinned with:

Famous residents

See also


  2., 2009
  3. Robert Hymes (2000). John Stewart Bowman, ed. Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. Columbia University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-231-11004-4.
  4. Hill (2009), p. 27.
  5. Hill (2009), p. xvi,
  6. Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. pp. 56–57. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.
  7. Marks, Robert B. (2011). China: Its Environment and History. ISBN 1442212756. p. 116
  8. Schinz, Alfred (1996). The Magic Square: Cities in Ancient China. ISBN 3930698021. p. 167-169.
  9. Abramson (2008), p. viii.
  13. 洛阳市人民政府网站 [Luòyángshì Rénmín Zhèngfǔ Wǎngzhàn, Luoyang Municipal People’s Government Website] op. cit. 北京2008年奥运火炬接力官方网站 [Běijīng 2008 Nián Àoyùn Huǒjù Jiēlì Guānfāng Wǎngzhàn, Beijing 2008 Torch Relay Official Website]. 〈洛阳地理及气候概况〉 ["Luòyáng Dìlǐ Jí Qìhòu Gàikuàng", "Overview of Luoyang’s Geography and Climate"]. 20 Mar 2008. Accessed 16 Jan 2014. (Chinese)
  14. China Culture. "Luoyang Museum".
  15. Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilisation in China’’.

Further reading

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Luoyang.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Luoyang.
Preceded by
Primary capital of China
771256 BCE
Succeeded by

then Xianyang
Preceded by
Primary capital of China
25190 CE
Succeeded by

then Chang'an
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