Guichuan Jade Pearl, Ancient Town Cultures (Part Two)

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019 2016-06-06 10:09:30

Chadao Ancient Town

Chadao Village of Badaling Town, Yanqing County, which was located in northwestern Badaling Guancheng (defensive base), was the historic site of Chadao Cheng, a military headquarter built in the 30th year of Emperor Jiajing of Ming Dynasty. It took more than 30 years to build Chadao, a village with a history about 460 years. Chadao Village, with important defensive status, had been the frontier of Badaling Great Wall since ancient times. It was also a distribution center for goods in border areas and Shanhai Pass. There were numerous relics of Ming and Qing Dynasties in the town.

According to Records of Yanqing Prefecture, “Chadao splits up to two roads. The western road leads to Xuanfu (now Xuanhua) through three post stations: Yulin, Tumu and Jiming; the northern road leads to Yanqing Prefecture, Yongning Wei and Sihai Zhi.”

According to archaeological report, the Chadao Town was launched in A.D. 1551 (the 30th year of Jiajing Reign in Ming Dynasty) and lasted for more than thirty years. Chadao Town was an irregular rectangle; its length was narrower from middle to both edges. The northern part of the town, which was constructed alongside the terrain of mountain, was built halfway up the mountain.

The town covered an area of about 83,000 square meters. The walls, which measure 8.5 meters in height, were built with striped stones, limes and clays. The town had horse path. In the outer fence walls were crenels, watch holes and shooting holes. In the south wall were two beacon towers. The construction of the city walls was divided into two phases. The first phase included inner ramming, with stones and lime lying on the outside. The other phase included covering the walls with stripe stones and bricks.

The ancient Chadao Town was surrounded by mountains on three sides. Temples of the Militant Sage, City God Temple, Taishan Temple and other 7 temples, as well as City Watch Yamen, mansions and opera stages had been built in the town. Outside the west gate was a parade ground. Besides, there were grain storage sheds and a weapon and ammunition depot. Two forts were built on the peaks of the mountains in the east and north. Beacon towers to observe enemy activities were built in the surrounding mountains. In order to strengthen defense, clay city walls were built beyond the west border. When Chadao Town was built, 1 garrison solider, 3 officers and 788 soldiers were dispatched to stand guard. After Qing Dynasty, the garrison was moved out of Chadao Town.

There were still historic sites of horse station, Bazong Shu, Shoubei Shu (Garrison Department), Jade Emperor Temple, City God Temple, Temple of the Militant Sage, and the Mosque, as well as stone rollers and millstones splattering on the streets in Chadao Ancient Town. The mandarin well and three ancient pagodas of about 200 years were properly kept. It was rated as Municipality Protected Historic Site in 2011 by Beijing municipal government.

Yulin Horse Station

Yulin Horse Station, namely Yulin Bao, was 1.5 kilometers southwest of Kangzhuang Town, Yanqing. The place had been an elm forest, hence got the name Yulin Horse Station. It was a communication center of military and post in northwest Beijing in Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. The poetry Yulin Post Station by Zhou Boqi of Yuan Dynasty wrote, “The place Yulin has been around for long from Han Dynasty”. It proves that there was Yulin Post before Yuan Dynasty. Yulin, a poetry written by Hu Zhu of Yuan Dynasty, wrote that “Going out of the Pass, sluggish people still feel hot. Looking back, Juyong Pass is shrouded in cloud. Amid the encirclement of mountains, the old Yulin is nowhere to be found.” There had been a post road leading to Shanxi and Shaanxi province in the west, to Inner Mongolia grassland in the north, to Youji and Shandong Province in the south. In Yuan Dynasty, Yulin Horse Station, which was under the jurisdiction of Shangdu with a large scale, was a place of military significance. The ruler sought to build the Yulin Post Station to create an aura of “Seeing the green grass, the hot day is put out of mind. Sweating and thirsty, the travelers come over into the shade with their carts. Having been around for nearly a century, the trees are lush, drawing people together.”

In “Tumu Revolutionary” in the 8th month of the 14th year of Zhengtong, Yingzong of Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1449), the troops of 500,000 were nearly wiped out, and Yingzong of Ming was taken into the prisoner. The post stations from Juyong Pass to Datong were destroyed by the troops of Waci Branch. They were rebuilt later by Ming Court. Yulin Bao Town was built with clay measuring 1,200m×11m×4.7m in perimeter, height and thickness. The pond measures 2.5m×0.6m in depth and width to contain the post station and garrison in the fortress. Yulin Bao, a town of 1,000 with soldiers and people living together, had a fair. In the 32th year of Emperor Kangxi (A.D. 1693), the place was transformed from military to civil post station under Huailai County. Yulin Bao was one of the five fortresses in Huailai County, with a post station officer.

As a main road and military town in ancient times, Yulin post station’s role to promote local economy and culture was well undoubted. From the 42nd year of Kangxi, Yongxing fair was held in Renhe Street in Yulin post station on 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th of each month. Businesses of a dozen or more shops from Dongdajie to Ximenwai were running high on fair days when the place was swarming with people. This, together with folk performances, dazzled people’s eyes. Yulin Bao had many ancient buildings and temples. In Town God Temple today, there is still a single old cypress tree which has survived for over 500 years. “Yu Lin Xi Zhao” was one of the Eight Landscapes of Longqing Prefecture in Ming Dynasty. As the poetry goes: “In groups livestock go downhill, the woods are bathed in the dying rays of the sun, the shepherd boy go home leaving the flute sound behind, chimney smoke curls up, crows caw on the bare branches, dry branches drop and magpies fight for nests.” The view of Yu Lin Xi Zhao is not hard to contemplate.

When Beijing was chosen as the capital in Qing Dynasty, the old system was followed. According to (Qian Long) Records of Xuanhuafu, Yulin Post house “has 14 stables, 148 grooms and palanquin bearers. They are paid 3,819 taels of silver, 1290.6 Dan of bean, 345.6 Dan of wheat bran annually and 248.4 Dan of rice monthly.” We are able to see a picture of approaching officers and the constant stream of people.

Since the 22nd year of Emperor Guangxu (A.D. 1896) when postal service was available in Qing Dynasty, the post station gradually lost its function. In the 26th year of Emperor Guangxu (A.D. 1900), Empress Dowager Ci Xi fled westward and took refuge in Yulin Bao. Her house remains there today. Now the ancient path still stretches to the west, with a few aging willows growing by and few signs of humanity in the post house. In 1913, the Northern Warlord Government announced the shutting down of all house stations, which ends the Yulin House Station era. The Beijing Zhangjiakou Road post station was replaced by Beijing Zhangjiakou Railway.

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