One century older than the Roman road Via Aurelia, the Jingxing Ancient Road remained as the national road connecting Hebei and Shanxi provinces until the 1940s. Though bleak and desolate now, this cultural relic holds a lot of stories still relevant to the current generation. The photo, taken on Nov. 21, 2013, shows the two deep tracing ruts on the Jingxing Ancient Road left by ancient wheeled vehicles. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Fu Yu]
One century older than the Roman road Via Aurelia, the Jingxing Ancient Road remained as the national road connecting Hebei and Shanxi provinces until the 1940s. Though bleak and desolate now, this cultural relic holds a lot of stories still relevant to the current generation.
CRI's Shen Ting brings you more on the world's oldest national road.
A scenic spot in Hebei Province's Jingxing County was named "Qinhuang Ancient Road." Qinhuang, the first Qin emperor who united China in 221 B.C., ordered his subjects to build a national road network stretching to every corner of his realm -- Jingxing Ancient Road was a key part of that network.
Jiang Chunxia, a guide at the scenic spot, introduces the best-preserved part of the ancient road, where two tracing ruts are still deeply branded into the flagging road.
"In ancient times, this flagging was a national road, bustling and crowded with people and vehicles. Since the distance between carriage wheels were made the same and this particular section of road was very narrow, repeated travel by carriages made grooves into the road. Workers were called on to flatten out the bulges left by wheeled vehicles of the time. As a result, the original was two meters higher than the current road."
Blessed with such rare historic relics, the local government cherishes this treasure. Since 1998, the Jingxing County government has invested three million yuan in preserving the road. Likewise, a general protection project with a 2.3 million yuan investment is in the pipeline
Du Xianming, head of the County Relics Preservation Institute, says this:
"The project aims to protect the relics in general, including two parts of the ancient road, as well as the surrounding vegetation, houses and villages. The investment comes from the central government and the project will last for eight months."
Though located in a mountainous area and visited by less than ten thousand tourists per year, the management authority of the scenic spot is continuing their efforts in spreading awareness of the road's cultural and historic relevance.
Zhang Wei, head of the management authority of Qinhuang Ancient Road, introduces some activities they initiated.
"This August, a microblog forum was organized to trace back the road's ancient route for a whole month. And on April 25th, a souvenir stamp sheet of Qinhuang Ancient Road was issued at the scenic spot. The project attracted about 300 photographers here to shoot the magnificent and beautiful scenery, as well as many tourists and local residents, who bought the stamps."
Those self-initiated activities have achieved satisfactory results. The historical site has gained greater popularity after coming into contact with a new generation of visitors. The road's stories of history and prosperity have spread far and wide, contributing to awareness for the restoration of this key cultural entity. The local government is confident in re-building the Qinhuang Ancient Road, hoping to make it as equally well-known as the Silk Road.
A road that had been used for over 2000 years witnessed the ebb and flow of China's culture. Kept in its original form, the ancient road tells of its current desolation and previous glory, sitting ready to welcome a new era.
For CRI, I'm Shen Ting.1 2 3 4 5 6 7