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Home : China Guide : Hubei : Ancient Market town of Jiangling

Jiangling County is locate at the Yangtze River bank in south Hubei Province. The name Jiangling County dates from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - A.D. 220). During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, the area was called Jingzhou Prefecture. Lying in the fertile Yangtze River valley and rich in natural resources, this place was one of the ten most important commercial centers of China during the Western Han Dynasty (206B.C. - A.D. 24). Many cultural relics from ancient times have been discovered in the area. Rice, wheat, cotton, and rape seeds are among its chief agricultural products, and fishing is another important industry.

< Treasures Eight of>Situated eight kilometers northwest of Jiangling County town, this hill was also called Dragon Hill in the old days. There are many ancient tombs on the hill, especially from the State of Chu of the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States period (770-221 B.C.) and from the Han Dynasty. According to historical records, King Zhuang (613-591 B.C.) of the State of Chu was buried here together with ten of his relatives and subordinates. There is a rich hoard of cultural relics in these tombs. A precious sword left by King Gou Jian of the State of Yue (Spring and Autumn Period) and a painted screen caved out of wood are among the most valuable relics unearthed at the place.

Ancient City of Jingzhou
The seat of today's Jiangling County which was called Jingzhou in history was a strategic city over the course of many dynasties. As the story goes, during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), the army of Cao Cao, head of the State of Wei, was badly defeated by an allied force of the other two states, Wu and Shu, at Chibi. Sun Quan (of Wu) wanted to strengthen his alliance to Liu Bei (of Shu) against Cao Cao. So he lent the city of Jingzhou of Liu Bei for use as springboard to expand the latter's influence westwards to Sichuan. But to his dismay, Liu showed no intention of returning the town to Sun Quan once his aim was achieved. As a result, Sun devised a series of schemes to take Jingzhou back from Liu, and the two states of Wu and Shu were engaged in an intense struggle over the town. This famous episode in Chinese history has been dramatized as operas and widely told from generation to generation.

The original town was said to have been built by Guan Yu, a famous general of Shu. The existing town wall was reconstructed on the original base in 1646 during the Qing Dynasty. It is 9.3 kilometers long, 9 meters high, and 10 meters thick, with well preserved gates, watching towers, and battlements.

Jinan
This old town five kilometers north of Jiangling town was the capital of Chu under twenty rulers during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods. For four hundred years, it was the political, economic, and cultural center of Chu and the most important metropolis in South China. The old city wall made of mud still exists today. Three ancient cemeteries outside the town contain more than seven hundred large and medium-size tombs of royal families and high-ranking persons who died more than two thousand years ago. The cemetery of the Qin and Han dynasties (221 B.C. - A.D. 220) can be found on Phoenix Hill in former downtown Jinan. A mummy of a high-class woman of the Western Han Dynasty has been unearthed here. The site has also yielded a large number of bamboo slips used for writing dating from the Han Dynasty and exquisite painted lacquerware. (Source: China.org)

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