Story of Ancient Town, Memory of Sea Salt

Over a thousand years of vicissitudes, Yancheng, a city of salt in literal meaning, has given an increasing priority to the role of “city” as the significance of “salt” is fading away. However, in inheritance of the sea salt culture, several ancient towns thriving by salt have shown up with brand-new appearances full of energy and vitality.

Excellent Scenic Spot / Xixi Ancient Town

In ancient times, Xixi (literally the West Stream) was the center of salt business, representing the birth and development of Dongtai sea salt culture once thrived by the ancient salt canal. In today’s Xixi Ancient Town, the Sanxiang Temple, Taishan Buddhist Temple, and Haichunxuan Tower are still stylish, with a bit of elegance and charm as time passes by.

Visitors can appreciate the history of the Song dynasty while strolling in the majestic Song Yun ancient city, featured by corned cornices, majestic buildings and ancient roads between walls; although there is no sound of reciting books any more, visitors can still memorize Yangong at Xixi Academy; ancient houses with blue bricks form a delightful contrast to the scene of flowing water under the bridge on the waterside Limu Ancient Street; visitors can cultivate their taste by listening to monks reciting Buddhist chants at the ancient Taishan Temple; in the Fairy Couple Culture Park, visitors can go over the moving love story of Dongyong and the seventh fairy circulated for thousands of years; local food served in Caoshi Street always represent the long nostalgia and the familiar taste of hometown in the mind of wanderers.

Memory of Old Street / Anfeng Ancient Town

The history of Anfeng Ancient Town can be dated back to over 1200 years ago. The town was originally named “Dongtao” and got the name of “Anfeng” in the Song dynasty. “Anfeng” embodies the meaning of An, which means safe living and happy work, and Feng, which means abundance in clothes and food. In ancient times, Anfeng thrived with the development of salt business. In Qing dynasty, the “seven-mile long street” has gained its fame in Anfeng because countless merchants gathered here and the trade was prosperous, and the current Anfeng Ancient Town is a part of this seven-mile.

In the ancient town, there is a Bao’s Residence. The luxury, simplicity, and fine design of the architecture can still be seen even after two hundred years of vicissitudes. There is also an ancestral hall of Family Wu in the winding alleys, which shows the poetic spirit. On the corridors and the pavilions, people are singing operas, telling many touching stories throughout the history. If you are tired walking, just find a noodle restaurant and enjoy a bowl of delicious fish soup noodle to get refreshened up. And you can’t miss the “Dragon-Tiger Fight” Straw Stove Biscuits, a symbol of the very local customs of Anfeng people.

New Look of Ancient City / Dongjin Water Town

During the northern Song Dynasty, by the side of Dazong Lake in Yancheng, a small town was built – the Dongjin Town. At the beginning, people were living a happy life here, but during the Southern Song dynasty, the Town was drowned by the water of Huai River due to the floods coming from the Yellow River. The town was dormant till today. Thousands of years later, this ancient town has now been recovered relying on the vast water resources of Dazong Lake and the profound history and culture. In this way, the Dongjin Water Town, a town with water as its essence, was born.

The water town is now built according to the architectural style of the Southern Song dynasty. The modern commercial elements have been integrated to give this town different charm. There are three streets, five districts, seven rivers, nine islands, and twenty-four bridges, forming a leisurely picture that “the boats are on the water and the people are residing on the islands”. If you visit the downtown area, you will see the Ancestral Hall of Family Song, which is known as “the No. 1 Ancestral Hall of Northern Jiangsu”. The houses are decorated by eye-catching colorful paintings, showing a sense of primitive simplicity. If you take a walk on Jian’an Avenue, you will be come across the busking, traditional delicacies, the performance of storytelling or crosstalk, so on and so forth. You can also climb onto the Yinyun Pavilion to have a bird view of the picturesque scenery. Another good choice is to feed yourself with the special Boat Feast, where you’ll feel the local customs through all the tasty lake seafood dishes served.

This time, in this millennial ancient town of Yancheng (meaning city of salt in Chinese), we explore the mottle alleyways, discover the trace of history, and ponder upon the unique charm of “the city of sea salt”.