Beixin Bridge used to set up a pass to collect taxes.

    Beixin Bridge, formerly named Yong’an Bridge, was the old Daguan Bridge located on the north of Jiangzhang Bridge on present Lishui Road. The bridge was built by monk Shunqin in Zhezong reign of Song Dynasty, destroyed and rebuilt by Chen Decheng etc. during Shaoxing period in Gaozong reign. The arhat fast ceremony was held on the date of completion and the bridge was renamed Zhongxing Yong’an Bridge. The bridge was renovated again and renamed Beixing Bridge in Shaoxing and Jiading reign of Song Dynasty.

    In Hongwu and Hongzhi reign of Ming Dynasty, it was rebuilt as stone arch bridge. In first year of Jingtai reign (1450), the bridge set up a pass and was renamed Beixinguan (literally mean new pass in the north), and was called by locals as Daguan (meaning the critical pass), hence the name Daguan Bridge. It was a key bridge connecting Gongchen Bridge Area to downtown. As the legend goes, when troops of Jin State arrived at the city gate, nine brothers from a family in the city led 500 volunteer populaces to fight a bloody battle in resisting Jin troop’s attack. The issue was reported to the court by Han Shizhong and the nine brothers were appointed Tiger General by emperor Gaozong. The place where the nine brothers lived was named Tiger Road (present Dahu Road) and Xiaohe Pass was renamed Daguan. In the 4th year of Xuande Reign in Ming Dynasty, a pass with a bridge above and water gate below, was set here, named Beixin Pass (present Daguan).

    The Beixin Pass set up in Ming Dynasty was one of the seven big passes in the country at the time. November 1955, the bridge was rebuilt into reinforced concrete three-arch structured bridge with length of 58m, width of 6.20 and span of 32m. On the reinforced concrete beam bridge deck, the running lane was 6m in width. In 1985, a new bridge was built across the Grand Canal on the Daguan Road about 350m south to the former bridge. The new bridge was 18m in span with total 4 arches, 306m in length and 24.6m in width, with reinforced concrete pile as foundation. The total width was 24.6m, including traffic lane width of 18m and sidewalks. The interchange arch bridge is 4.5m in net height. It was completed in December 1985. After its completion, the old Daguan Bridge was dismantled.

    During renovation in 2005, the bridge was found to much different with other old bridges in styles. Many old bridges were carved with propitious patterns, such as phoenix, magpie, flying dragon and kylin, pine and cypress, narcissus and lotus. But this bridge was decorated with pattern of weapons. The bridge style well reflected its function as a “pass”. Firstly, the dark grey tone created solemn and stable atmosphere. Secondly, the concept of ancient door knock was used as coordinate of the bridge piers. Thirdly, the pattern of weapons symbolizes soldiers guarding the pass, the balusters on the railing are sheath-shaped and the light poles are halberd shaped. The stone masonry on the both sides of the banks was designed like thick “city wall”. While piling stones, it reduced by 1cm for every layer upward. Such ancient building technique was effective in ensuring stability of the construction. Other parts of the bridge are decorated with patterns of flood dragon, Jiaotu and other geometries. Flood dragon represents brave and fierce guarding soldiers. Jiaotu is one of the nine sons of dragon and resembles snail in appearance. It is conservative in nature and is repellent of being invaded. The ring-handle is designed in the image of Jiaotu, meaning defending and guarding. A row of Jiaotu crouching on the column looks dignified and inviolable. Other repeated simple geometries indicated all soldiers united as one in guarding the pass. It was regarded as one of the most meaningful bridges renovated. The rich patterns, exquisite layout and meticulous carving provide infinite imagination about the bridge that represented north pass of Hangzhou.

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