Stunning Exhibits Showcasing the Tang Dynasty
Renaissance of the Yongding River
Beijing is an ancient city with a history of more than 3,000 years. It is also a metropolis showcasing its never-ending changes and a combination of Eastern and Western civilisations. According to Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping: “The history and culture of Beijing, a great witness to ancient Chinese civilisation, needs to be more carefully protected to highlight the value of the city’s history and culture and strengthen its characteristics. It features ‘the style of China’s capital, the charm of an ancient city and it changes with the times.’”
Western Beijing is the source of the city’s civilisation and features 400 heritage sites. The Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian and Yandu Site of the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century–771 BC) represent archaeological culture; Longevity Hill, the Fragrant Hills and the Jade Spring Hill, the Summer Palace, the Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure, the Garden of Tranquility and Brightness, the Garden of Everlasting Spring, and Yuanmingyuan (the Old Summer Palace) represent imperial culture; the Dajue Temple, Wofo Temple and Tanzhe Temple represent Buddhist culture; the Yongding River represents eco-tourism and Miaofeng Mountain represents traditional folk culture. These are some examples of the sites. One can also explore traditional village trails, garden landscapes, military defence facilities, agritourism and the cultures of ethnic minorities.
According to the Beijing Urban Master Plan (2016–2035), which was released in September 2017, “the Grand Canal Cultural Belt, the Great Wall Cultural Belt and the Western Hills–yongding River Cultural Belt are major aspects of Beijing’s historical and cultural preservation system. The three cultural belts feature heritage outside Beijing’s old city and echo its Central Axis. They play a major supporting role in further developing Beijing into China’s cultural centre and promoting the well-being of its residents.
The Western Hills–yongding River Cultural Belt underwent a gradual process leading to it being recognised as one of the city’s “three cultural belts.” In 2015, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of
Cultural Heritage put forward plans for the protection and utilisation of the Great Wall Cultural Belt in the north, Grand Canal Cultural Belt in the east and Western Hills Cultural Belt in the west. They were included in the Outline of the Beijing 13th Five Year Plan (2016–2020) to promote the integrative protection of the city’s heritage sites, beginning in early 2016. In June 2016, the city proposed a plan of further developing Beijing into China’s cultural centre by implementing the “two lines, three zones and four belts” concept. The four belts include the Great Wall Cultural Belt, Western Hills Cultural Belt, Grand Canal Cultural Belt and Western Industrial Heritage Belt. In June 2017, the Western Hills Cultural Belt became the Western Hills–yongding River Cultural Belt, so as to take into account the culture of the Yongding River.
A Brief History of the Yongding River
Water is recognised as the source of all life. There is a close relation between human civilisation and rivers. Many cultures originated near great rivers that nurtured splendid civilisations. The rivers enhanced their development. The Yongding River is known as the “Mother River” of Beijing.
Beijing is bordered by branches of the Taihang Mountains in the west and the Yanshan Mountains in the north. The two mountain ranges meet at Guangou and form a small plain that is surrounded by mountains on three sides and stretches southeastward. This unique terrain is known as “Beijing Bay” and has an impact on Beijing’s urban and regional development. The Yongding River runs partly through Beijing.
The Yongding River, which was known as the Lei River in ancient times, is one of the seven branches of the Haihe River. The Yongding River originates from Guanceng Mountain in Ningwu County, Shanxi Province and runs through Shuozhou and Datong in Shanxi Province, Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, Beijing Municipality and Langfang in Hebei Province. The river meets the Haihe River at Wuqing in Tianjin Municipality and flows into the Bohai Sea.
The remains of proto humans who lived two million years ago have been discovered in the upper reaches of the Yongding River in present-day Nihewan in Yangyuan County, Hebei Province. These archaeological discoveries showcase the history of human civilisation and indicate that the basin of the Yongding River is one of the earliest origins of human civilisation. During the Paleolithic Period occurring from more than 2 million years to 10,000 years ago, proto humans were very active in the area. Peking Man ( Homo erectus pekinensis) appeared in the early Paleolithic Period at Zhoukoudian, midstream down the Yongding River. During the middle of the Paleolithic Period, the New Cave Men dwelled along the Yongding River. At the end of the Paleolithic Period, people who became known as the Upper Cave Men lived in the area. During the Neolithic Period, the Donghulin People in Mentougou were the main group along the Yongding River in Beijing.
The winding Yongding River not only nourished the fertile lands around its basin but also created a long history and unique culture. The river witnessed many major events from the Northern and Southern Dynasties (AD 420–589) to the
Liao (AD 907–1125), Jin (1115–1234), Yuan (1271–1368), Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties.
Ancient Villages along the Yongding River
There are many heritage sites, including ancient fortresses and villages, along the banks of the Yongding River. These are some of the highlights of traditional Chinese culture in Beijing.
Many heritage sites along the Yongding River are like coordinates engraved in time and space. Zhuolu in Hebei Province served as the capital during the reign of Huangdi (the Yellow Emperor, one of the legendary Chinese sovereigns [2697–2597 BC]). The ruins of an imperial palace at the end of the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century–771 BC) and middle capital of the Yuan Dynasty are considered representatives of China’s 5,000-year-old civilisation. Ancient cities in Gucheng, Jinshan, Yongning and Yuxian County in Hebei Province and Yanqing District in Beijing reflect a long history of administrative division in the region. There are also many ancient villages in Mentougou District in Beijing.
Sanjiadian is one of these ancient villages. When visiting the village at Longquan Town in Mentougou District in the summer, one can see the Temple of Dragon Kings among ancient trees with thick leaves at the west entrance of the village. The temple’s main hall features statues of the Dragon Kings of the Four Seas and God of the Yongding River. Four emperors in different eras issued imperial edicts granting entitlements to the Yongding River: in 1179, Emperor Shizong (reign: 1161–1189) of the Jin Dynasty entitled Marquis Anping (“Safety and Peace”) to the Yongding River; in 1279, Emperor Shizu (reign: 1260–1294) of the Yuan Dynasty entitled Duke Xianyinghongji (“Response to the Relief of a Flood”) to the river; in 1698, Emperor Kangxi (reign: 1661–1722) of the Qing Dynasty considered the river yongding (“definite”) and entitled the God of the River to the Yongding River; in 1729, Emperor Qianlong (reign: 1736–1795) of the Qing Dynasty entitled the Peace and Kind God of the River to the Yongding River. Sanjiadian’s Temple of Dragon Kings is the only temple of Dragon Kings along the Yongding River that still features a statue of the God of the Yongding River. It is an artefact important to the study of the culture of the Yongding River.
Sanjiadian greatly developed its water conservancy facilities during the Qing Dynasty. The Temple of Dragon Kings was popular at that time. Villagers who were devout followers of the God of the Yongding River often went there. On the 13th day of the 6th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the temple offered sacrifices to the God of the Yongding River. Locals worshipped dragon kings and the God of the Yongding River. After the ceremony, pigs and goats were thrown into the river as sacrifices to the God of the Yongding River. Today, the custom has been revitalised in Sanjiadian Village. Traditional performing arts, including Fanyue music and Taiping drums, enhance the event.
Sanjiadian Village boasts the “First Village in Western Beijing” title. In ancient times, there were three stores in the village. This led to it gaining the name sanjiadian (“three stores”). The village currently features the Guanyin Temple, Shanxi Guild Hall, the Temple of Anchor and other heritage sites. It served as a major transport hub and a starting point for a major road from Beijing to Shanxi Province, due to its prime location. The village borders Taihang Mountain to the west. One can overlook the plains of the
“Beijing Bay” to the east from a vantage point in the village. Wholesale and retail of a variety of goods also occurred in the village. During the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, the village attracted many people from Shanxi Province. The Shanxi Guild Hall developed in the village during this period. Nowadays, dwellings with a variety of decorations stand along the sides of the streets. Brick and wood carvings, screen walls and stone poles used for tying up horses provide a sense of history. Xiangzi, the hero of Luotuo xiangzi [( Rickshaw Boy, a novel written by Lao She (1899–1966)], visits this village in the story.
As a village with a history of more than 1,000 years, Sanjiadian contains many interesting facets. The village served as a transit station for transporting coal and limestone from western Beijing to Central Beijing. It is considered one of the birthplaces of Beijing’s modern industries. During the early reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875–1908) of the Qing Dynasty, the village contained a plant that produced gunpowder. In 1881, steam engines purchased from Europe by Li Hongzhang (1823–1901, a high officer of the Qing Dynasty) were installed at the plant in Sanjiadian to make firearms.
According to An Quanshan, vicepresident of the Beijing Research Association for the Culture of the Yongding River: “There are ancient trails that were used for business, pilgrimages and military purposes in western Beijing. A trade route was formed in the mountainous areas in western Beijing as a result of caravans transporting coal and other goods from various regions to urban Beijing. There were also many temples in western Beijing, so an ancient trail for pilgrimages formed. A trail used for military purposes developed as well, to defend urban Beijing.”
An Quanshan is 68 and was born in Anjiatan Village near Wangpingkou, the intersection of several ancient trails in Mentougou. He often played near the trails when he was a child. He explained, “Mentougou is rich in coal. My village was famous for making pots from coal gangue.” In order to earn some cash for his family, he often sold earthen pots made by his family in villages along the ancient trails when he was a child. When he was asked how many times he has travelled along the trails, he said with a smile: “I think it is too many to count. I really do not remember because I have travelled along the trails countless times.” He remembers each gully along the trails. He is somewhat elderly, but he can still walk a few dozen kilometres (km) per day along the roads. Sometimes he is in poor health though.
An Quanshan’s modest house contains many materials about ancient trails in western Beijing. He drew a detailed map of the ancient trails based on his countless hikes. Many of his written materials are piled up on a table, some of which are manuscripts of his more than 10 published books, including Jingxi gudao (Ancient Trails in Western Beijing). He writes books about the culture of ancient trails. An stated with deep emotion: “The ancient trails in western Beijing formed very early and were not directly developed in a particular historical period or due to specific events. They gradually formed with the movements of ancient people along the Yongding River. The ancient trails are cultural heritage sites. There is a lot to be done as their custodians.”
Exploring ancient trails in western Beijing has become a major part of An Quanshan’s life since 1992. He stressed their charm: “The trails are alive. Every plant has its own story. One should take a walk on them and see for oneself.”
Mother River of Beijing
In ancient times, coal, timber, fruit and vegetables were transported from the Western Hills to urban Beijing. Pilgrims
travelled through Sanjiadian Village to take Pilgrim Road to Miaofeng Mountain, a sacred place with many religious sites in western Beijing.
The 747-km-long Yongding River flows through 43 cities and counties, and its basin is 47,000 square kilometres. The Yongding River was once called the Sanggan River and the Qingquan River during the Sui and Tang dynasties, respectively. During the Jin Dynasty, it was known as the Lugou River. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, it was known as the Hunhe River, “Small Yellow River” and also the Wuding (“indefinite”) River, due to its deteriorating condition and frequent flooding.
Some people have thought the floods caused by the Yongding River impact the safety of Beijing. The muddy waters of the river have also not been well received by the public. Sixty five-year-old You Shuying was born in Mentougou District and has a different point of view. “These issues are now outdated or are caused by natural factors.” You Shuying still remembers the appearance of the Yongding River when it was “angry,” mentioning that its rapids hit the rocks and waves roared, timber and livestock rolled up and down in the floodwater, and frightened people stood on higher ground and watched the river worryingly. She explained: “The floods usually appeared in July and August during Beijing’s rainy season. At that time, people would keep away from the Yongding River.”
In the spring of 1972, news indicated that the river’s fish could not be eaten, because the water in Guanting Reservoir, which feeds into the Yongding River, had become polluted. Industrial wastewater was determined to be the cause after a government-sponsored investigation was conducted. The State Council of China and the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality took the incident seriously. Premier Zhou Enlai (1898–1976) ordered further action and more investigations. The State Council of China approved the establishment of a Water Protection Leadership Group for Beijing’s Guanting Reservoir, which marked the beginning of controlling the pollution impacting the Yongding River.
There is a twinkle in You Shuying’s eyes when she recounts her experiences with the river: “I grew up on the banks of the Yongding River. It is the most unforgettable memory of my childhood. When I was in primary school, I went to see the river every day on the way home. I would often watch the tadpoles. Spring is the dry season and the river was shallow and clear at that time. In the summer, everyone would swim in the river. Summer evenings at the riverside were most agreeable. Fish often jumped out of the water and croaking frogs could be heard from time to time from the shade under the trees along the riverside. Adults waved large fans and chatted with each other. Children chased dragonflies, had water fights and caught fish and shrimp until the fireflies became visible at night. In the autumn, golden reeds swayed with the wind along the river, making a romantic scene. In the winter, the frozen Yongding River became a winter wonderland, and people played various sports on the ice.”
Over the years, You has witnessed changes in the Yongding River and its governance, which she has pondered. “I like to explore the river on the basis of stories about it,” she mentioned. Though You has no professional background in history or archaeology, she has been very interested in the history and culture of the river and has written books about these topics.
The customs in the ancient villages along the Yongding River attracted You. Beijing gucunluo jiyi—mentougou (“memories of ancient villages at Mentougou in Beijing“) was published in 2009 and was her first book. Zhang Guanglin, president of the Beijing Research Association for the Culture of the Yongding River, gave her a tough task— writing Yongdinghe shihua (“the history of the Yongding River“). Preparations for writing the book were complex. She read Beijing tongshi (“general history of Beijing“), Yongdinghe zhi (“Annals of the Yongding River“) and Yongdinghe zhiben jihua (“governance plan for the Yongding River“) and many other materials. She explained: “My sense of the river is different now than it was before. I need to explore it again from its source to its estuary.” She spent more than two months walking along its banks and visited Guancen Mountain, the valley of the Sanggan River, Guanting Gorge, National Wetland Park, ancient trails in the area and other landmarks. She also explored ancient human ruins at Nihewan, the ruins of ancient water conservancy facilities on the river and reservoirs, water gates, channels and water conservancy projects developed after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
She spent two and a half years completing the History of the Yongding River. It is based on historical facts and her own unique insights. It corrected many people’s tendentious views of the river as being muddy and harmful to Beijing, presenting an authentic image of the “Mother River of Beijing.” Her book reveals her deep attachment to the river.
Secretary of the Beijing Municipal
Committee of the CPC Cai Qi stressed that the comprehensive management and ecological restoration of the Yongding River needed to be advanced when he inspected the river. When visiting Heituwa Wetland near the river, one can see idyllic scenery, such as clear waters and thick reeds. A project to improve the wetland area was part of the overall plan to improve the water quality of the Guanting Reservoir. Standing on the dam of the reservoir, one can see the white water meeting the sky at the horizon. Cai heard a lot of birds when he inspected the river. He stated: “The birds are lively, indicating the environment has improved, which is what we hope for.” Longquanwan is a major section of the transitional area between the river’s Guanting Gorge and Beijing’s plain in Mentougou District. When he visited the area, Cai said, “I am the general chief of the river. Our fourlevel river chiefs need to work together to regulate the river.”
Beijing Municipality is thoroughly implementing Xi Jinping’s ideas regarding the ecological environment. It is seizing opportunities related to the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei and engaging in comprehensive management and ecological restoration of the Yongding River at the State-level. Thorough management of the river is the capital city’s top priority in terms of improving its water environment. It will ensure that the river functions properly and has a safe environment.
Safeguarding the environment of the Yongding River and ensuring that it continues to flow will enable it to become a major water conservation area. It will function as an ecological barrier and corridor in the Beijng-tianjinHebei region and play a role in passing on the history and culture of the region. The implementation of comprehensive management and ecological restoration of the Yongding River is a major project furthering the protection of the environment in Beijing and integrated development of the entire Beijing-tianjinHebei region. The project is divided into the Guanting Water Resource Reserve, the Shanxia Water Resource Protection Area and the Eco-tourism Plain Area. They form an ecological corridor along the river and are part of the development of the Western Hills–yongding River Cultural Belt.
Spreading the Culture of the Yongding River
Thinking about the subject of passing on the culture of the river, Zhang Guanglin stated: “If one has any questions about the Yongding River, they can ask us, as we are the people who are the most familiar with it. Though we are not young anymore, we are natives of Mentougou, and some of us are experts on the history and culture of the river.”
Zhang Guanglin is nearly 70 years old and served as director of the Mentougou District Commission of Culture. Though he has retired from his busy position, he is still active. He and his retired colleagues began to carry out the research,
exploration, collection and inheritance of the culture of the Yongding River. They have deep feelings for the area they are from and for the river.
In November of 2005, the Beijing Research Association for the Culture of the Yongding River was established. Zhang Guanglin was elected as its second president in 2009 and began to carry out research and exploration related to the river and its culture. Zhang Guanglin stated: “We have a deep feeling for the Yongding River and are willing to do something for it and our hometown. We promote the culture of the Yongding River, expand its influence and improve its image. The results of our cultural research serve the social and economic development of Mentougou District and Beijing.”
The research association has published 120 collections and book series. Though the research association is a social organisation, it maintains a large database of information about the culture of the Yongding River. This has been praised by social scientific research agencies at both the municipal and State levels. Zhang Guanglin continued: “Elderly members of the research association have deep love for the Yongding River. They also have a strong sense of mission and responsibility for promoting its culture. We are not young anymore, but we will continue to contribute to the promotion of the culture of the river and the integrated development of the BeijingTianjin-hebei region.”
Zhang Guanlin elaborated: “We have six tasks. Some of them have been completed in advance. The History of the Yongding River, which is by You Shuying, has been published and the Beijing TV Station has completed the Yongding River documentary. It is currently being broadcasted. The Yongdinghe zhi chronicles about the Yongding River are being compiled. A large painting of the river known as “Yongdinghe de fengcai” and a long poem called “Yongdinghe— muqinhe de zange” are being created. We plan to shoot a film entitled Liuli qu also, but its script is not prepared yet.”
A 74-year-old man named Liu Dequan is one of the senior members of the research association and was one of its main managers when it was first established. At that time, it was not easy to collect information about the customs and heritage of the nearly 200 villages in Mentougou. There were only about 10 people in the research association. According to Liu, they focused on compiling Mentougou cunluo wenhua zhi (”the annals of the village culture in Mentougou”) when the research association was first founded. From 2006 to 2007, the research association mobilised more than 100 interviewers, including retired government officials, professionals working in the cultural industry and local farmers. An investigation of each village was needed. They did not expect they could complete this difficult task.
The section of the Yongding River that flows within Beijing is about 170 km long. The river runs across Mentougou from the west to the east, and its basin covers almost all the villages in Mentougou. The interviewers were proud of the information that they gathered. Elderly members of the villages cooperated with the project to compile annals. They love their hometowns and wanted to share their stories with other people. Liu stated: “We are familiar with each village, and the annals we compiled will enable more people to learn about Mentougou.”
The research association sorts out information it collects to showcase the culture of the Yongding River including information about ancient villages and trails, folk customs, religious temples, revolutionary history, the ecological landscape and the history of the coal mining industry in the area. A vivid, multidimensional representation of the area has been made available to the public on the basis of the unique memories of nearly 100 elderly citizens in the area.
Someone once said to Liu Dequan, “You can be called a geological expert in our association.” Upon hearing this, he waved his hand and said, “I am not worthy of such compliments.” The Yongding River Valley can be described as a natural museum to the variety of geological wonders that it possesses. As early as 1916, the valley was considered an important area for geologic research institutes to study. The valley contains stratums formed during the Jurassic Period and Cretaceous Period. The area has an array of geological heritage sites. It features rock that has been eroded by icebergs, a well-preserved crater, a large rift valley and a huge karst cave. These features have become a base for education and research. The geology departments of some universities have a connection to the area. Over the course of
years of research, Liu Dequan has gotten to know many authentic geological experts. He recounted: “I really learned a lot from them. Now there are no obstacles to my communication with them in terms of geological research, but I cannot be called an expert.” He is a simple and humble person but has a passionate spirit.
The Yongding River is considered “the Origin of Eastern Civilisation” in China, “the Birthplace of Chinese Culture” and “the Root of the Culture and History of Beijing.” The Yongding River runs more than 100 km through Mentougou.
On August 12, 2018, the threemonth-long 12th Yongding River Cultural Festival began. The goal of the festival is to spread the culture of the river and the new era. The festival is directed and sponsored by government agencies, including the Publicity Department of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture, the Publicity Department of the CPC Beijing Mentougou District Committee and the Beijing Mentougou District Commission of Culture. The documentary Yongding River debuted at the opening ceremony.
The “Dahe chuanqi” (“Legend of a Great River”), “Yongdinghepan” (“The Yongding Riverside”) and “Yongdinghe Yongtandiao” (the “Aria of the Yongding River”) themed programmes have been created based on the cultural elements of the river. They feature dances, poetry recitals, songs and so on, showcasing the colourful culture of the river.
“We play a role in promoting the culture of the Yongding River,” Zhang Guanglin said. The Western Hills– Yongding River Cultural Belt is becoming more popular among the public, and there is more interest in the association as well. “We hoped the public would get to know our association. Now it is not necessary to worry about it. Many media agencies and experts need to consult us to write books and make documentaries. Our association is an authentic information trove. It is invaluable. For example, our experts found more than 100 errors in an article about the river created by a cultural organisation.”
Exploring the culture of the Yongding River and developing iconic brands about the Western Hills–yongding River Cultural Belt advances the integrated development of the Beijing-tianjin-hebei region and is part of Beijing’s role as China’s national cultural centre. Zhang Guanglin stated: “We have organised many cultural activities, academic exchanges, published many books and held many exhibitions regarding the Yongding River.” Many people go to lectures on the culture of the river, which are held at a multi-use hall on the ground floor of the Capital Library. Hou Xiuli is the main lecturer. She is the vice-president of the Beijing Research Association for the Culture of the Yongding River.
Hou Xiuli recounted: “At the beginning, my husband drove a motorcycle with me perched on the seat behind him to investigate the Yongding River. Later we bought a car to continue our investigations along the river. My family members have supported me.”
Hou worked more than 20 years training teachers at a continuing education school. Under the guidance
of Liu Dequan, she began to engage in research of the culture of the Yongding River. She visited libraries to look for information, talked with cultural experts and utilised many years of contacts she has accumulated to carry out research and academic exchanges. She has organised visits to the Yongding River and the areas upstream and downstream of it for many scholars in Beijing. After more than 10 years of effort, Hou has become a famous expert about the culture of the river. She participated in a cultural development plan for an ecological corridor along the Yongding River and the making of the Daxishan (Great Western Hills) documentary with the Beijing TV Station.
Hou has lived along the Yongding River since she was born in 1965 in Houzhuangzi. She has witnessed its history as it has gone from a river with roaring waves, to a period of drying up, and now its ecological and cultural restoration. She mentioned, “Now it is time for us to repay the Mother River of Beijing.” She has visited many schools, government agencies and communities in the Mentougou, Shijingshan, Haidian, Fengtai and Daxing districts and has given nearly 100 lectures on the culture of the Yongding River at these locations. She can provide materials including photos that she has collected over the years free of charge to anyone doing work related to the culture of the river. As a Chinese saying goes, “the more you know, the more love you have.”
Hou and her colleagues are both researchers and promoters of the culture of the Yongding River. They have visited every nook and cranny along the river to contribute to the development of the Western Hills–yongding River Cultural Belt over the years. “We are all volunteers,” Hou said. Some of her colleagues joked: “A camera crew needed to spend 200 yuan to hire a donkey to hike along ancient trails in the Western Hills when they shot a documentary. We complained we are not as good as a donkey.” In fact, although they are not young anymore, they often have more stamina than the general public. If one is interested in a job, one becomes more energised. Folklore expert Zhao Yonggao mentioned: “When we see results based on our hard work, such as a book being published about the river or helping more people learn about its culture, we are filled with pride and accomplishment and are very satisfied with our contributions.”
Becoming a Symbol of the New Era
The Yongding River is like a mother, nurturing the natural scenery and the culture along the sides of the river. After leaving Sanjiadian Village, one may pass Sanjiadian Reservoir, which can be described as “a pearl of the 100- li ( one li equals 500 metres). gallery along the Yongding River.” Located near the reservoir, Liuliqu Village boasts a history of 1,000 years of liuli ( coloured glaze) production. It served imperial families from the Yuan to Qing dynasties. There is a plan to develop a series of liuli cultural and creative products based on its production style. Liuli is a national intangible cultural heritage item. It originated in Mentougou. Design, technology and marketing will help this culture to be spread among the general public.
The history and culture of the Yongding River are worth exploring. The Taiping Drum and other ancient folk artforms and instruments still showcase their vitality and are beginning to go global.
People are increasingly thinking about the Western Hills–yongding River Cultural Belt. The Yongding River is a natural channel connecting Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shanxi. Ecological improvement, the protection of heritage across the region and the sharing of its culture advance its integrated development. Combining resources as part of regional cooperation is part of the long-term ecological protection of the river’s drainage and its sustainable development. The Western Hills– Yongding River Cultural Belt has huge potential in terms of ecological conservation and its unique culture.
The Yongding River is not only a river but also the source of the city’s civilisation, the root of its history and the soul of its culture. Beijing’s historical and cultural heritage are an important part of the long history of Chinese civilisation and the foundation of its preservation and development. Protecting the city’s legacy highlights the overall value of its history and culture. The river nourishes Beijing. It has become a symbol showcasing the city’s inclusive and innovative spirit and will continue to open new chapters in its development.
The Yongding River in the autumn
A sand table model of ancient villages around the Yongding River
The Beijing Garden Expo Park’s Yongding Tower
A bridge over the Yongding River
The banks of the Yongding River are an ideal place for leisure.
Statues on the Ancient Jingxi (Western Beijing) Trade Trail in Shuiyuzui Village, Mengoutou District
A section of the Yongding River in Yanchi Town, Mentougou District