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Nanchang, a Revolutionary City
2008-04-30 09:55:39     CRIENGLISH.com

Literally translated "Southern Prosperity", the capital city of Jiangxi province is a productive area, a part of the flat, fertile Gan Jiang River Basin, that has been populated since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). Nanchang was most famous for its merchants, alchemist and tea, and was one of the key transit stations for the porcelain, from the ancient town of Jingdezhen to the northeast, that so impressed the European world of the nineteenth century. The city remains an important farming area for grains, edible-oil, meat, milk, aquatic products (from the river and the nearby Poyang Lake) and vegetables.


The city of Nanchang
Photo: ncjcck.net

It was the early twentieth century, however, that was to bring the city its present fame. The turbulent years of the Republic of China Period (1911-1950) were to come to a head for the emerging communist party in 1927, when Chiang Kaishek once again broke off from his "United Front" (against Japanese oppression). He purged communists from the Nationalist Party and massacred suspected red members in a number of cities, including the Nanchang Commune in April, 1927.

Two members of the Nationalist army and renowned communists, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De, quartered in an old hotel, staged an uprising on August 1st, 1927 with a force of 30,000 (the first, fully organised People's Liberation Army), taking Nanchang after a five hour street battle. The troops lasted for three days until they were forced to flee, making their way to a remote mountain, Jinggangshan, to join a little known band of troops headed by a young Hunanese called Mao Zedong. The Jinggangshan base area, also known as the Jiangxi Soviet, is now a resort with some beautiful hiking possibilities.

Red Tourism in Jiangxi

The city itself is now mainly an area that is used by travellers as a transit point, on to the more interesting areas of Jinggangshan, Lushan, and Jingdezhen. Although mostly just another large, concrete Chinese metropolis, Nanchang has a few charms, mainly in its night markets, back alleys and grotesquely appealing Soviet architecture. The population of around three and a half million is now mostly involved in continuing the city's role as the economic, political, scientific and technical center of Jiangxi.


Tengwang Pavilion
Photo: ncjcck.net

Tengwang Pavilion

The Tengwang Pavilion, located on the bank of the Yangtze River, west of Nanchang City, is one of the three famous pavilions south of the Yangtze River (the other two are Yueyang Tower in Yueyang and Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan).

The pavilion was built in AD 653, when Tengwang Li Yuanying (King Teng), a younger brother of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, was the governor of Nanchang. It was destroyed and rebuilt as many as 28 times until it was burned to ashes in 1926. In 1989, the pavilion was rebuilt again according to the style of architecture in the Song Dynasty. This nine-storied structure stands at 57.5 meters in height and occupies a construction area of 13,000 square meters with a 12-meter-long base symbolic of ancient city walls. Made of reinforced cement, the pavilion, featuring flying eaves and engraved beams, looks quite splendid.

The reputation of Tengwang Pavilion, to a great extent, is due to a well-known prose - "Preface to Tengwang Pavilion" by Wangbo. It was said that when the author, a reputable poet of the Tang, passed Nanchang on his way to Guangdong, he wrote this prose on the subject of the banquet which was being held to celebrate the reconstruction of the pavilion. With the spread of this prose, Tengwang Pavilion became proverbial.

(Ctrip.com / TravelChinaGuide.com summerized by CRIENGLISH.com)

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