Monday, December 18, 2006

Protected Sites:Dongjing City Site of the Northern Song Dynasty

The Dongjing City Site of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) is located near Kaifeng City in Henan Province.

Dongjing City, also known as Bianjing or Bianliang, was the capital city during the Northern Song Dynasty. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the overall arrangement of Bianjing Ancient City, which consisted of three parts: the outer city, inner city and palace.

Square in shape, the outer city is 7.5 meters long from south to north and 7 kilometers wide from east to west with 13 gates and seven floodgates. The city was surrounded by a famous moat named the Dragon Protection Moat over 30 meters wide.

The palace, also known as the imperial city, sits inside the inner city. According to historical records, the imperial city had a perimeter of five li (1 li=1/2 km). In the grand palace are pavilions, terraces and towers with carved beams and columns. The city gates were painted red and have gild nails; they are decorated with flying dragons, phoenixes and floating clouds. The palace can be divided into three sections: the south, middle and north. The central government was located in the south part and included over 3,000 houses. The middle section was designated for the emperor to meet with officials. And the northern section was the imperial harem. Such an arrangement with three rings of cities was imitated by architects of the Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1840) Dynasties, and had a great influence on city constructions of later generations.

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