Shihua Cave System - Shi Hua Caves - Stone Flower Cave - Qian Zhen Dong

Useful Information

Location: Nancheying village, Fangshan District, 55 km southwest of Beijing.
Open: All year daily 8-17.
Fee: Two caves: Adults CNY 35 (USD 4.20).
All four caves: Adults CNY 70 (USD 8.40), Students CNY 50.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=2,500 m, VR=160 m. T=13 °C.
Guided tours: V=380,000/a [2000] V=400,000/a [2008]
Bibliography: Tieying Li (1993): Cave scenery in Shihua cave region, Beijing, Karst landscape and cave tourism. Edited by Linhua Song; Huaiyuan Ting, China environmental science press, 192-195, 1993.
Address: Shihuadong, Hebei Town of Fangshan District, 102416 Beijing, Tel: +86-10-6031-2170, Tel: +86-10-6031-2243, Fax: +86-10-6031-2671.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1446 discovered by a Buddhist monk.


Shihuadong is a huge cave of 2.5 km with five levels. It is known for hundreds of years and according to legend was discovered by the Buddhist monk Yuan Guang in the 11th year of the Ming Dynasty (1446). He named it Qianzhen Dong (Qianzhen Cave). The first chamber contains three large Buddha statues dated to 1456, which means they were erected only 10 years after the cave was discovered. This is the reason why the cave was renamed Shifo Dong which translates Ten Buddhas Cave or Stone Buddhas Cave. On the southern cliff of the cave entrance is a stone inscription with this name and the text "Ten Kings of the Nether World".

The cave is entered through a concrete tunnel leading to the first chamber. The tour is a round trip which means it is not necessary to return on the same path. Entering on the uppermost level, there is a metal staircase leading down to the second level. The cave is left from this level. The light is, as normal in China, coloured, and important formations are enhanced by huge neon signs or chains of blinking red lights. Concerning the long time the cave is known and visited, and the fact that it is located in the middle of a province capital, the good condition of the formatiosn is really astounding.

The upper level of the cave has nice formations, but is absolutely dry. Beneath normal flowstone and draperies there are rare shields, rimstone pools and cave popcorn. Because of the abundant speleothems it is today called Shihua Dong (Stone Flowers Cave). Four medium sized chambers are connected by narrow passages. The lower level is different, here the speleothems are wet and active, and the size of the chambers is much bigger.

Shihuadong developed in the Ordovician Majiagou limestone on the northern limb of Beilin syncline. The Cambrian and Ordovician limestone is about 3,900 m thick in this area. Beneath Shihua Cave, Kungshui Cave, Bailong Yan and Yinhudong Cave have been discovered, each with more than 1,000 m length. But Shihua cave is the only one open for tourists.