Travel Back in Time to the Southern Song Dynasty

In 1127, the ninth son of Emperor Huizong of Song, Zhao Gou, survived the Jingkang Accident (an historical event during which the capital of the Song Dynasty was conquered by Jurchen) and succeeded the throne in Nanjing in 1129 and moved the capital to Hangzhou in 1138, then known as Lin’an. To distinguish this new period from the Song Dynasty, it was named by the Chinese as the Southern Song Dynasty. As the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty, Hangzhou really flourished during this period. The Southern Song Dynasty was a significant period for Hangzhou as it helped shape the culture and characters of Hangzhou. To travel back to the Southern Song Dynasty, then the following venues are the best places to do so.

Southern Song Imperial Street

Southern Song Imperial Street is a main avenue that was paved in the Southern Song Dynasty and according to documentary records, more than 10,000 flagstones were used. The street stretches from the intersection of Wansong Mountain and Phoenix Hill Road, passing through Zhongshan Road M. and N., to the intersection of Fengqi Road and Wulin Road.  With a length of 4185 meters, it was once the central axis of Lin’an city in the Southern Song Dynasty. It was also the specific road for emperors to worship ancestors. Here, there are 13 historical and cultural relics and buildings of which The Phoenix Temple is a key national cultural relic protection unit.

Address: Shangcheng District

Yue Fei Mausoleum

General Yue Fei (1103–1142), widely admired by many, was a patriotic national hero of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279). However, he was framed by the devious Prime Minister—Qin Hui (秦桧,1090-1155) and murdered for crimes he didn’t commit. In 1163, he was proved to be innocent and his corpse was reburied at the present site.

General Yue Fei's Mausoleum is located at the southern foot of Qixia Hill (栖霞山), north of Su Causeway (苏堤). Whenever the sun sets, colorful clouds rest over the tomb of General Yue Fei, which is marvellous to see. Yue Yun (岳雲, 1119-1142), Yue Fei's eldest son, who was executed together with his father is also buried here. At the gate to the tomb yard are four cast iron statues: Qin Hui and his wife on one side, and Moqi Xie (万俟卨), a court official, and Zhang Jun (张俊), a general, on the other. These four traitors are displayed kneeling down in pairs, with their hands tied behind their backs, on whom visitors cast despising glances. As the couplet that flanks the gate aptly puts it:

the green hill is fortunate to be the burial ground of a loyal general, (青山有幸埋忠骨)
The white iron was innocent to be cast into the statues of traitors. (白铁无辜铸佞臣)

This couplet expresses people's profound respect for General Yue Fei and deep hatred for the four murderers condemned by history.

Address: 80 Beishan Road, Hangzhou (杭州市北山路80号)

Eight-Diagram Field

The Eight-Diagram Field used to be owned by the imperial courts of the Southern Song Dynasty. In 1143, Zhao Gou, the Emperor Gaozong of Song ordered the field to be open, so he could show his respect to agriculture and pray on a good harvest. Every spring when it was time for ploughing, the emperor would bring along his civil and military officials to show respect and pray. Now the filed has become a park combining historical and cultural relics with an agriculture popularization venue to display modern farming culture.

Address: South of Jade Emperor Hill

Hefang Street

Hefang Street is an ancient street with time-honored history and profound culture. The street used to be at the foot of the ancient imperial palace of the Southern Song Dynasty and was the cultural and financial center of the dynasty. As the only ancient street preserving the historical landscape of ancient Hangzhou, Hefang Street is an infusion of the most representative historical culture, business culture, old lifestyle of Hangzhou and architectural culture.

Address: Shangcheng District