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The Yellow Crane Tower

Yellow Crane Tower (Chinese: ; pinyin: Huáng Hè Lóu) is a famous and historic tower, often rebuilt, that stands on Sheshan (Snake Hill), at the bank of Yangtze Rivermarker in the Wuchang Districtmarker, of the city of Wuhanmarker, in the Hubeimarker province of central China. Tourists can obtain a fine view of the Yangtze River from the top of the tower. Yellow Crane Tower is considered one of the Four Great Towers of China. In its modern version it has the appearance of an ancient tower but is built of modern materials and includes an elevator. Displays are presented at each level. To the east on the hill, a large temple bell may be struck by tourists for a small fee. During the week-long celebration of China's National Day (October 1), court dances are demonstrated in the western yard.


There are at least two legends related to Yellow Crane Tower. In the first, an Immortal (仙人) name Wang Zi'an (王子安) rode off on a yellow crane from Snake Mountain. A tower was later built in commemoration. In the second, after becoming an Immortal, Fei Wenyi (费文祎) would ride a yellow crane and often stop on Snake Hill to take a rest.


Poem by Cui Hao

Yellow Crane Tower was made famous by an 8th century poem written by Cui Hao called "Yellow Crane Tower" (黄鹤楼). The original text of the poem is shown below:

昔人已乘黄鹤去,此地空余黄鹤楼。黄鹤一去不复返,白云千载空悠悠。晴川历历汉阳树,芳草萋萋鹦鹉洲。日暮乡关何处是? 烟波江上使人愁。

A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

Long ago a man rode off on a yellow crane, all that remains here is Yellow Crane Tower.Once the yellow crane left it never returned, for one thousand years the clouds wandered without care.The clear river reflects each Hanyang tree, fragrant grasses lushly grow on Parrot Island.At sunset, which direction lies my home town? The mist covered river causes one to feel distressed.

Poem by Li Bai

There is another famous poem about it by Li Bai called "Seeing off Meng Haoran for Guangling at Yellow Crane Tower" (黄鹤楼送孟浩然之广陵). The original poem is shown below:


A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

My old friend's said goodbye to the west, here at Yellow Crane Tower,In the third month's cloud of willow blossoms, he's going down to Yangzhou.The lonely sail is a distant shadow, on the edge of a blue emptiness,All I see is the Yangtze River flow to the far horizon.


  1. Wan: The source of the Wang Zi'an legend is 《南齐书·州郡志》. The Fei Wenyi legend is from 《太平寰宇记》. Pages 43.
  2. Wan: Page 42.
  3. Wan: Several Tang sources use "cloud" (白云) rather than "yellow crane" here. The use of "yellow crane" is a later change. Page 43.
  4. Wan: Parrot Island was a sandbar in the middle of the river that has since disappeared. Page 43.


  • Wan, Jingjun ( ) 1982. Cui Hao Poem Annotations ( ). Shanghai Ancient Books Press ( ). 54 pages.

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