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Yangzhou History & Culture


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Yangzhou is a classic poetic imagery as well as traditional elite’s tourist and spiritual destination. Li Po’s famous poem makes Yangzhou more famous. The name of this poem was Song Meng Haoran Zhi Guanglin, literally Seeing Meng Hao-ran off at Yellow Crane Tower. The hereinafter is the Chinese-English Version translated by Xu Yuanchong, a famous translator of mainland China:

故人西辞黄鹤楼-My friend has left the west where the Yellow Crane towers
烟花三月下扬州-For River Town green with willows and red with flowers.
孤帆远影碧空尽-His lessening sail is lost in the boundless blue sky,
唯见长江天际流-Where I see but the endless River rolling by.

Yellow Crane Tower is a famous tourist attraction in Wuhan, Hubei province, and Guanglin is the old name of Yangzhou. Meng Haoran, another great poet of Tang Dynasty and one of best friends of Li Po, will move to Yangzhou. For sending off his friend, Li Po wrote this great poem and left us a classic imagery about the Yangtze River and Yangzhou. In China, this poem can be recited by every child as the basic knowledge of Chinese lecture. In the process of popularization of this poem, Yangzhou is also remembered from generation to generation.

There is another famous poem quite welcomed by Chinese Elites. The poet was Xu Ning, also from Tang Dynasty. The name of the poem is Yi Yangzhou, translated to be Fond Memory of Yangzhou.

萧娘脸薄难胜泪-Lady Xiao's delicate face is helpless against her tears
桃叶眉尖易得愁-Peach Leave's slender eye brows can so easily reveal her longing
天下三分明月夜-Of all the moonlit nights in the world,
二分无赖是扬州-Why, oh why, 2/3 of them are found in Yangzhou?

I don’t know who the translator is, but his translation is just ok. Last two lines are not as good as the original. Three parts of moonlight in the world, Yangzhou covers two of them. This part can not be fully translated, because the deep meaning can not be overall reveal, maybe this is the enchantment and uniqueness that other cities can not learn from.

Yangzhou located in the middle of Jiangsu province and on the north side of Yangtze River. It generally is considered as the joint city of Shanghai economic zone and Nanjing city circle. Traditionally, Yangzhou is taken as the portal of North Jiangsu Province. Yangzhou has more than 2500 years of history, and honored to be the UN’s best habitat city and model city of living environment and environmental protection. As a leading tourist destination, Yangzhou domestically as famous as Yangzhou and Suzhou, and historically was compared to the Xiaojinguo(销金锅gold-melting boiler, means a high-consumption site due to the luxurious and extravagant life), which Hangzhou shares the same nickname. So, Yangzhou is a little bit similar to Hangzhou as a city featuring natural beauty and humanity. What is more, Slender West Lake, the calling-card tourist attraction of Yangzhou is directly named after Hangzhou West Lake.

Yangzhou History

Ancient China is made up of nine regions(anciently called Zhou,州, respectively include Jizhou, Yanzhou, Qingzhou, Xuzhou, Yangzhou, Jinzhou, Yuzhou, Liangzhou and Yongzhou ), and Yangzhou was one of them. Jiu Zhou(Nine regions) is also the another name of China. So the historical status of Yangzhou is quite superior. But ancient Yangzhou does not only mean today’s Yangzhou city, but a large region centering on Shaoxing, specifically, a large area of south Huai River. In West Han Dynasty, Yangzhou is a large administrative zone consisting of the south-Huai-river region, south-Yangtze-river region, and Shanghai, Jiangxi province, Zhejiang province, Fujian province and parts of Hubei and Henan provinces. In east Han period, the administrative center was moved to Li Yang, today’s He county of Anhui province. In later period of East Han Period, Cao Cao moved the city of administration to Shou County, in today’s Anhui province, and then moved to Hefei, today’s capital of Anhui province. In the period of three kingdoms, Wu Kingdom set the administration center of Yangzhou as Wuzhou, which is today’s Suzhou, and then moved to Zhenjiang and Nanjing. West Jin united China and combined two different administrative centers, and set Nanjing as the center of Yangzhou. In South Dynasty, the center of Yangzhou was Shaoxing. After Sui Dynasty unified China, Yangzhou was changed to be Jiangzhou, and changed the original Wuzhou as Yangzhou, which was the original of today’s Yangzhou. In Ming Dynasty, Yangzhou as a prefecture and was famous as a cultural city. By the way, Yangzhou in Ming and Qing Dynasties was quite famous as a business center of China, thanks to the efforts of Huizhou merchants represented by Jiang Chun. The famous White Pagoda on the lakefront of Slender West Lake is an important historic site built by Huizhou merchants

Yangzhou Cultural Heritage

Yangzhou in East China is one of top ten must-see tourist cities. The famous tourist attractions of Yangzhou include: Slender West Lake Scenic Area, Daming Temple, Guanyin Mountain, Historic Site of Tang Town, Garden of Han Tombs, Display of World Animals, Archeological Site of Jia Town of Song Dynasty, Tianmu Thermal Spring Vacational Village, Shugang West-Peak Ecological Park, Memorial of Shi Kefa, China’s Yangzhou Buddhist Culture Museum, Yechu Garden, Ge Garden, He Garden, Delicate Garden of Wang Family, Mansion of Wu Daotai, Salt-Businessmen Mansion of Lu Family, Xiaopangu, Former Residence of Zhu Ziqing, Park of Lotus Pool, Garden of Jade Flower, Memorial of Yangzhou Eight Eccentrics, The Tomb of Puhaddin, Dongguanjie-Dongquanmen Historical Streets, Yangzhou Cultural and Art Center, Zhuyuwan Park, Fenghuang Island, Guazhou Ancient Port, Zhuxi Park and Emperor Yang’s Mausoleum. These are all the top representatives of Yangzhou tourist attractions. The best time to travel Yangzhou is spring. During this season, Yangzhou has a quite famous traveling festival named Yanghua Festival. The noteworthy souvenirs are lacquer-works, Jadeware, three knives, Yangzhou fry ice, sticky candy, steamed stuffed buns.

Yangzhou is also famous for its cuisine, which is considered as one of four cuisine styles. Huaiyang Cuisine is centered on Yangzhou. Yangzhou is also the hometown of Jiang Zemin, former president of China, Ruan Yuan, Zhang Ruoxu and so on.

 The Highlights of History and Culture

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Wang Xizhi Hu Xueyan Tang Bohu Dong Qichang

Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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