Heritage Application

It is now the zero hour for Grand Canal’s application for World Cultural Heritage.

In April this year, State Administration of Cultural Heritage held 2011 Working Conference on Grand Canal Protection and Heritage Application and formally produced a preparatory list of Grand Canal Sites’ Application for World Cultural Heritage, which involved 35 cities in 8 provinces, including 132 canal heritage sites and 43 river sections. According to present plan, Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal will apply for World Cultural Heritage in 2014.

14 heritage sites in Zhejiang Province are included in “Immediately Listed Project”. As the southernmost end of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, Hangzhou section has 7 heritage sites—Hangzhou Fengshan Water Gate Site, Hangzhou Fuyi Granary, Hangzhou Customs Administration of former Qing Dynasty, Tongyi Cotton Mill Site, Hangzhou Gongshu Canal Historic Block (West Bridge Historic Block and Xiaohe Street Historic Block), Local Magistrate Hall Site of Water Conservancy (including Emperor Qianlong’s Imperial Stele), Xixing Transport Service Shop and Dock.

Local Magistrate Hall Site of Water Conservancy (including Emperor Qianlong’s Imperial Stele):

Most people may don’t know much about Local Magistrate Hall Site of Water Conservancy, but are surely familiar with Emperor Qianlong’s Imperial Stele in the west of Tangqi Shuibei Street Jesus Church. Now, the over 3-meter-high stele has double dragons carrying pearl at the top; indistinct characters on the stele indicate the 16th year of Qianlong Period (1751). At that time, Emperor Hongli patrolled southward to investigate the payment of imperial grain in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui Provinces. As a result, Jiangsu and Anhui Provinces had huge arrears, while Zhejiang Province didn’t have arrears. To commend Zhejiang Province, the Emperor relieved Zhejiang Province of 300,000 Liang land taxes, and inscribed “imperial edict” on the stone, in order to give explicit instructions to officials and common people.

According to working staffs of Canal Comprehensive Protection Committee, an ancient architectural site was archaeologically found at the north of the imperial stele and was proved to be Local Magistrate Hall Site of Water Conservancy of Tangqi in Ming Dynasty. According to their introductions, the hall was established because robbers haunted this place, robbed travelling merchants and seriously endangered public security on water. Therefore, this institution was established to arrest the robbers and manage water conservancy. The top official of this “Added Hall” is Tongpan (Local Magistrate)—an assistant to Zhizhou and Zhifu (governor of a prefecture), equivalent to modern deputy mayor. Now, Cultural Heritage Protection Department carries out further archaeological investigations of this site.

Hangzhou Customs of former Qing Dynasty:

This Customs Administration is similar to today’s “customs”. In June and July in the 22nd year of Guangxu Period (1896), Qing Dynasty Government set up “customs” and opened the port for trade. Full name of Hangzhou “customs” then was “Hangzhou Customs Tariff Bureau” or “Customs”. This was the main tax authority in Hangzhou and transportation hinge of the goods on the canal.

In Hangzhou City the 2nd People’s Hospital, you will see Hangzhou Customs Administration of former Qing Dynasty—three red-brick buildings with two floors each, which looks like Red Building in Qingchun Road. An old comrade of Security Section of the hospital reminded that there were four buildings in the past, one of which was removed and built into outpatient building in recent years. Last year, these three buildings were selected Unit of Cultural Relics under Provincial Protection and were renovated once. At present, they are used as office buildings and library.

Tongyi Cotton Mill Site:

Fan Museum at the west bank of Gongchen Bridge is the site of Tongyi Cotton Mill. Up to now, 4 old factories of Tongyi Cotton Mill are preserved. Handicraft Lively Exhibition Hall was the production workshop then.

As the predecessor of Hangzhou First Cotton Factory, Tongyi Cotton Mill was built in the 22nd year of Guangxu Period of Qing Dynasty (1896). Nanxun Tycoon Pang Yuanji and Hangzhou wealthy men Ding Bing and Wang Zhenyuan discussed, raised the capital stock and commenced after 8 years. It was renamed Hangzhou First Cotton Factory in 1956, and witnessed industrial development of Hangzhou in modern era. After protection and utilization in 2009, Tongyi Cotton Mill was built into China Fan Museum, in order to continue to show remaining charms of the industry.

Hangzhou Gongshu Canal Historic Block (Wets Bridge Historic Block and Xiaohe Street Historic Block):

Xiaohe Street originated from an suburb market outside Hangzhou in Tang and Song Dynasties, became a traffic hub outside ancient Hangzhou City in Yuan Dynasty and grew into a commercial street and ferry terminal in Qing Dynasty. Existing street was preserved since the end of Qing Dynasty and The Republic of China. It was very prosperous here beside the canal and was lined with wine workshop, soy sauce workshop, blacksmith shop and rice milling shop and so on. However, this street came down after the 1980s. Comprehensive protection of historic block started in 2008 and 96 households of indigenous people returned in September 2009, then the street was formally opened.

West Bridge Historic Block started from the preserved warehouse of Hangzhou First Cotton Factory in the north, to the north of Dengyun Bridge in the south, Xiaohe Road in the west and Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal in the east. As early as Tongzhi Period of Qing Dynasty, it was a prosperous ferry terminal in Gongchen Bridge Region. During comprehensive protection project in 2008, 122 suits of courtyard residences, bluestone pavement and Zhang Da Xian Temple were restored. Moreover, Central Fair Tea-giving Public Association, and Local Specialty Warehouse Site Dock are all representatives of canal culture.

Fuyi Granary

At the convergence of the canal and Shengli River, an old courtyard is embraced by white walls. Entering the south gate, you will see “富义仓” (Fuyi Granary).

Built in the 6th year of Guangxu Period of Qing Dynasty (1880), Fuyi Granary was transhipment station to transport south grains to the north, and a gathering place of grains in Hangzhou, so it was known as “Granary in the World”. Later, the granary stood empty, some of which was transformed into dormitories for military family members and staffs of Hangzhou Shipbuilding Factory. However, Fuyi Granary was burned beyond recognition during a fire; only three rows of warehouses and a port remained. In 2007, “survived” Fuyi Granary was renovated. Nowadays, reopened Fuyi Granary has become a creative idea park; “material granary” has become “spiritual granary”. Zhao Zhigang, national first-class actor, was attracted to settle down in Fuyi Granary and open personal studio.

Hangzhou Fengshan Water Gate Site

Go southward along South Zhongshan Road until the crossing with Zhonghe Road, you will see Fengshan Water Gate bestriding Zhonghe River. With both ends broken, only the arch at the middle remains and the top looks like a rampart. “凤山水门” (Fengshan Water Gate) four characters appear on the arch. Established in Yuan Dynasty, it is the only ancient gate with more than 600 years old in Hangzhou. It is said that there was a building on the gate. About 100 soldiers can be stationed here to defend the enemy; the water gate can be opened and closed to adjust the river. The building collapsed later. During renovation of Zhonghe River in 1980s, the former Water Gate was restored.

Xixing Transport Service Shop and Dock

Along Guanhe at old Xixing Street in Binjiang District, many “Transport Service Shops” are preserved. One-floor or two-floor house with only two or three bays looks like a hotel and shop.

Xixing Canal was excavated in West Jin Dynasty, and the dock in Xixing was known as the No. 1 Dock in East Zhejiang Province. As a result, a special industry—“Transport Service Shops” came into being. It was said that these shops were generally set up at ferry terminals and traffic hub. They played the role of bill exchange and goods transshipment, so warehousing buildings were unnecessary. In the past several hundred years, innumerable grains, cotton, silk, salt, wine and mountain products have passed Xixing and have been transshipped to other regions in Central Plains.

At present, many Transport Service Shops exist in old Xixing Street, most of which were built at the end of Qing Dynasty and at the beginning of The Republic of China, such as Shen Weiquan Transport Service Shop, building at No. 112, Guanhe Road, No. 102, 103 and 104, Guanhe Road. They reflect the heyday of the canal directly.

© 2012 Hangzhou Canal Group Company
Telephone: (0571) 82788866  Zhe ICP Bei No. 11051166 Technical Support:Mountor Corp  Browse statistics:62298times