Re-born from the Flames
The street was engulfed in a fire caused by a misplaced oil lamp in a tofu shop during the Spring Festival of 1891. More than 3,000 houses were destroyed, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless and one-third of the city’s population struggling with a serious lack of life sustenance. All pictures hand-drawn by Shi Lin ( 石林)
【定海道头】 Dinghai Daotou
It functioned as a port of call for Japanese envoys in the Tang Dynasty and played an important role in China’s business communication with today’s South Korea during the Song times.Thus, it used to be a key stop in the ancient ‘silk road on the sea’. In the first years of the Republican times, it was a water transportation hub, with its busiest zone sited in today’s Port Administration Affairs Headquarters.The bustling sight of the ancient ‘Daotou’ area is beyond the imagination of today’s Dinghai people.
【砚池】 Inkstone Pool
First built in theYuan Dynasty and rebuilt in 1830 in the Qing Dynasty, the rectangle pool measuring 15.8-meter-long and 14.5-meter-wide serves as a beautiful, cultural site that adds radiance to the architectural beauty of the nearby Kuixing Pavilion and the Wenbi Pagoda.
The Hall for Foreigners
Zhang Shengyi, superintendent of the Dinghai branch of Ningbo Customs ordered the construction of nine western-style buildings in 1698, the 37th year of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty.The buildings were used as a customhouse as well as an accommodation site serving foreign sailors, who were nicknamed the “red-haired” in old times of China. The buildings were abandoned after Emperor Qianlong ordered a ban on maritime trade in 1756.
The Customhouse Xu Lianghong Rice Shop
A Qing-style civilian dwelling originally sited in today’s Shunyu Lane in downtown Dinghai.The sprawling complex is divided by two courtyards into three parts including a lovely living quarter by a river. On a re-stocking day, the family’s private wharf would be packed with dealers coming in on boats fully loaded with rice.