Guichuan Jade Pearl,Ancient Town Cultures (Part One)

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019 2016-06-06 10:04:28

The Town of Commerce and Trade

Notwithstanding dynastic cycles, the layout of the ancient town was unaffected. The lanes and hutongs in Yongning, which was divided into four parts by crisscrossing roads and paths running east-west and north-south, formed a checkerboard. Stores, official yamen, temples, schools, folk houses and archways were neatly scattering on the town. Jade Emperor Mansion, the landmark architecture, towered on the point where east-west roads and north-south roads met. It was the center of the town.

“From the Mansion one gets a bird’s view of the Pass and the mountains. It is a spectacle north beyond the Great Wall”. Due north of Jade Emperor Mansion was Jinyang Mountain, also known as Foyeding. Amazingly, the peak of Jinyang Mountain, Jade Emperor Mansion and the Imperial Mausoleum of Ming south of the mountain shared one central axis. Looking northwest, Jiulong Mountain was nearby and Haituo Mountain was in the distance. Yongning, walled in by mountains in the east, south and north, was an ideal land. It was conceived with the essence of Jinyang Mountain in the north and the Imperial Mausoleum in the south.

There were four ancient streets in Yongning Town. Shanzheng Street in the east, with Jinshan Academy on the southern edge, was a street of “education and hygiene”. Guangwu Street in the west was a street of “Manual workshops”. Fumin Street in the south was a street of “Culture”. Gongchen Street in the north had been a commercial street in Yongning Town. “The people in the strategically located place have simple manners”.

In Ming and Qing Dynasties, the four streets of Yongning, with business prosperities, were never short of the respectable and the wealthy. The place had its own wedding customs. When funerals were held, “Buddhist monks will recite sutras. Simple yet functional, it has a vestige of Empress Wu of Tang Dynasty.”

Yongning, with convenient transportation, was a place where business people concentrated. It was a commercial distribution hub of Chicheng of Heibei and eastern Yanqing. Yongning has a long history of business. Inside the ancient town, business people were always seen walking past along the way. Yongning Fair in Ming Dynasty was set in “Si Pai Lou”, beside Shanzheng, Guangwu, Fumin and Gongchen Archways. “Six times per month, the fair is held on days 3 or 8”. Besides shops, a fair was set up northward from Beijie which was immediately adjacent to East and West Tongqu Avenue. The fair was held on odd days and closed on even days in Lunar Calendar. Whenever a fair was held, a stream of villagers within a hundred li, who were found north to Chicheng and west to Huailai, would be attracted. There, they sold agricultural by-products and bought daily necessities. The fair, with livestock, grain, firewood and cart tradable, was spectacle. It was made to the summit during the reign of Guangxu Emperor of Qing Dynasty.

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