Monday, December 18, 2006

Protected Sites: Beiting Ancient City Site

The Beiting Ancient City is located in Hubaozi, about 12 kilometers north of Jimusaer County in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The city, developed from Tingzhou City of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), was a town of military importance in North China until its desolation in the early Ming (1368-1644).

In 1820 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Chinese scholar Xu Song carried out the first site study and discovered some precious cultural relics, such as stone tablets from the Tang Dynasty. Between 1979 and 1980, the Archaeological Research Institute of the Chinese Social Science Academy discovered a large number of clay statues and exquisite frescos at a Buddhist temple site from the Gaochang Huihu period , about 700 meters north of the city.

The ancient city was built on a large scale, assuming an irregular oblong shape. The inner city is located in the northeast part of the central outer city. The outer city has a perimeter of 4,596 meters, while the inner one measures 3,003 meters. The 10-meter-high city walls were built with tampered earth about eight to 12 meters thick. The city is surrounded by military defense works, such as the city moat. Original constructions from within the city no longer exist, with the exception of three damaged city-wall bases and nine other dilapidated sites, two of which are temples.

According to analyses, the outer city was built during the Zhenguan reign of the Tang Dynasty (627-649), while the inner city was built during the Gaochang Huihu period, A large number of cultural relics from the Tang period were unearthed at the site, including flat and round tiles, square bricks with lotus-flower patterns, bronze official seals, bronze lions, stone lions, bronze mirrors, stone balls, pipes and porcelain wares.

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