Brief of Xixing Guotanghing Wharf
The Grand Canal consists of South North Grand Canal, also known as the Sui-Tang Grand Canal (南北大运河), the Beijing Hangzhou Grand Canal (京杭大运河)spanning the Yuan to Qing dynasties and the Zhedong Grand Canal(浙东古运河).
Xixing Guan River(西兴官河), the starting point of the Zhedong Canal, emerged as early as the Eastern Jin Dynasty(317-420) and evolved into a trade artery in no time. Grains, salt, silk and tea were shipped to the rest of China and even Japan and Southeast Asia from here. En route, the ships pass by Qiantang River, to Tokyo. Foreign traders and diplomats, who landed at Ningbo, would pass by this area on their way to pay homage to the Song dynasty emperors.
Xixing Guan River is highlighted by Xixing Guotanghing Wharf (西兴过塘行码头), which is undergoing a complete and much-needed restoration recently. According to a 60-year-old local, this area was very prosperous during the late 19th century. Many porters made a living in this area, year in and year out, shine or rain.
Three historic relics worth mentioning include:
Yongxing Dam Relic(永兴闸遗址): Yongxing Dam Relic remains intact despite of centuries of erosion. Its structure remains unspoiled, though the wooden parts are dilapidated.
City God Temple Relics(城隍庙遗址): City God Temple is dedicated to Fan Li (范蠡), a famous economist, military general and politician from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-221). During the 1950s, it was occupied by a factory, in the 1980s, it was restored into a temple. Now, it functions as a greenbelt park. Two steles stand there, testifying to its historic significance.
Xixingyi Relics(西兴驿遗址): Perched off the Xixing Old Street, Xixingyi Relics dates back at least to the Qin Dynasty(221--206). “Yi驿” means “outpost”. Its names underwent countless alterations. It went through massive restorations during the 14th and 16th century. Rumors had it that Xishi, the equivalent of Helen of Troy, once stopped by this area on her road to the royal palace of the Wu Kingdom.
During the Qing Dynasty(1616-1912), 12 houses were built along Xixingyi, offering provisions to supervising governors and officials.
In the near future, this area will be restored into a retreat combing historic sights and traditional Chinese activities such as paper cutting.