Since ancient times Hangzhou has been a most prosperous city. In 1138 AD, the government of the Southern Song Dynasty settled its capital at Hangzhou and stayed there for approximately 150 years until its end.
Now, with the launch of the Southern Song Dynasty Imperial Town, Hangzhou city will provide citizens and tourists with a window in which to see the cultural relics of its Southern Song Dynasty and to learn more about life at that time.
Compared with other provincial theme towns, the Southern Song Dynasty Imperial Town is located at the city center. Positioned at the core protection site of Southern Song Dynasty Lin’an City Site, the Southern Song Dynasty Imperial Town has a planned area of 3.1 square kilometers and includes famous historical sites such as Mantou Hill, Southern Song Dynasty Imperial Street and Qinghefang Historical Street.
The Drum Tower is said to be built in the time of Qian Liu, the King of Wuyue. It was also the south gate of the imperial city, and was called Chaotian Men. In November the Drum Tower will be transformed into a venue in which you can experience what imperial life was like in the Southern Song Dynasty. The tower will also house relics and architecture from the Southern Sony Dynasty and showcase circular movies which use 3D and VR technologies to teach us all about this dynasty.
At the end of November the Southern Song culture exhibition will go live as will Yueju Opera which will be staged at Wangxian’ge Pavilion, opposite the Drum Tower, for free every weekend.
Starting from the end of November, in Labazi Lane, there will be three walls dedicated to art – The Old Time, The Old Anecdotes and The Intangible Gallery from which visitors can experience what street life and old Hangzhou was really like.
The emperor’s seal is the most aristocratic souvenir in the imperial town. The Chihu-featured* rosewood seal “Shou Ming Yu Tian (Mandate of Heaven)” is designed and made by artists from Xiling Seal-Engravers’ Society, the Azure Dragon-featured* porcelain seal “Tai Ping Sheng Shi (Halcyon Days)” is designed by Longquan Official Kiln – one of the accredited G20 souvenir producers, and the Black Tortoise-featured* bronze seal “Jiu Wu Zhi Zun (the Imperial Throne)” is produced by the only successor of the intangible culture heritage Zhu Bingren Bronze. Here, visitors can buy seals and wish for good luck.
* Chihu is a kind of dragon and a commonly-used pattern in jade ware starting from the Chinese Warring States Period.
* Azure Dragon and Black Tortoise are two symbols of Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations.
Starting from Oct. 20th, visitors will have the chance to travel by rickshaw to visit the town’s intangible heritage shops. The two stops, each home to three rickshaws, are set at North Minor Square of the Drum Tower and the intersection of Datong Lane and Hefang Street.
The route will pass by Datong Lane, Huichun Tang, Southern Song Dynasty Cultural Experiential and another 13 relic sites and old-fashioned shops. The tour will take about 20 to 30 minutes. In addition to sitting in the rickshaw reminiscing the olden times, one can also listen to the audio introduction by scanning the QR code on the rickshaw.