Luoyang in Henan has been considered sacred ground since the late Neolithic Period. It is between two rivers and is named for its location facing the sun, and it was for some time considered the geographical center of China. It is one of the Four Ancient Capitals, having served intermittently as the capital over the course of 3000 years, most recently as the Eastern capital of the Tang Dynasty from the 600s to 900s, when it boasted a population of over one million, making it the second-largest city in the world after the Western Capital, Chang’an. The Fall of the Han Dynasty and beginning of the Three Kingdoms Period is dated to 190, when Chancellor Dong Zhuo sacked the city, which was the capital, before retreating from it.
There have been many more destructions and reconstructions since then, but the two most well-known sites for our generation are the White Horse Temple, considered the first Buddhist Temple in China (established in 68 AD), and the Longmen Grottoes, which feature “2100 niches, more than 100,000 statues, some 40 pagodas and 3600 tablets and steles” carved by Buddhists in the caves by the riverside over the first millenium after Christ.