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Capital of Yunnan and one of Yunnan's oldest cities situated on the Panlong River at 2000' elevation. Known as the City of Eternal Spring it was visted by Marco Polo in the 13th century when he reported that cowrie shells were used as cash, the natives ate raw meet and provided their guests with their womenfolk at night. Unfortunately the Muslim rebellion in 1856, coinciding with the Taiping Rebellion, destroyed most of the Buddhist temples in the city.

Kunming has always been strategicly important, first as a major staging point on the southwest overland Silk Road and during the war with Japan as China's link to Burma via the Burma Road and the headquarters for the Chenault's famous Flying Tigers.

This photo is of the Jinma Bijifang 金馬碧雞坊 in downtown Kunming. These two archways (牌樓), one named Jinma (Gold Horse) and other Biji (Green Jade), are symbols of Kunming first built of stone in 1424 of the Ming Dynasty. These pailou are named after Jinma Mountain to the east of Kunming, and Biji Mountain to the west.

It is said that every 60 years in the mid autumn when the sun is setting and the moon rising that the shadows cast by Jinmashan and Bijishan meet at the site in Kunming where these two archways stand. (Does anyone have any information on this interesting phenomenon?)

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