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Imperial city ruins project changes people's life in Luoyang

08-06-2010 14:35 BJT

Due to the underground ancient imperial relics that dates back to 1000 years ago, the life of Chen Jincheng, a 75-year-old man in Luoyang, has changed drastically.

After 26 years of living in the place where the Luoyang Sui and Tang Dynasties Relics were located, Chen moved out. The protection project of the Luoyang Sui and Tang Dynasties Relics was launched in 2007. Although he has not yet moved into his new home, Chen is not worried because it is located near the relic protection park, meaning that he still lives near the imperial palace.

Chen's old home was built on the relics.

He had heard about precious deposits under his home.

About 1,300 years ago, several emperors, including an emperor from the Sui Dynasty and Wu Zetian, had lived here. Shi Zishe, an archaeologist from the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) who is in charge of the Luoyang Sui and Tang Dynasties Relics research, said the capital city of the Sui and Tang dynasties in Luoyang was established in 605 B.C. when an Sui Dynasty emperor was on the throne. At that time, it was called Dongdu or Dongjing. During 688 B.C., Wu Zetian, an empress who had yet to take the throne, ordered the destruction of the Hall of Qianyuan and built the Mingtang (a hall used by the emperors to meet officials and for sacrificial ceremonies). After Wu took the throne, she renamed Dongdu as Shendu. When a Tang Dynasty emperor ascended the throne, he again renamed Shendu as Dongdu. During the Five Dynasties period, the Later Liang Dynasty, the Later Tang Dynasty and the Later Jin Dynasty all took Luoyang as their capital city. The city had been a capital for 500 years throughout the Sui, Tang, Five Dynasties and the Northern Song dynasties.

Since the 1950s, archaeologists have discovered some relics, including the Dingding Gate, Tianjin Bridge, Yingtian Gate, Mingtang and Tiantang. The secrets of Luoyang, an old imperial capital, have been gradually unlocked.

Almost at the same time, 21-year-old Chen came to support the construction of Luoyang from Guangzhou in 1956. In 1983, he moved into the apartment that the company had allocated him, which had just been built on the Luoyang Sui and Tang Dynasties Relics. "When our houses were built, I have heard about precious deposits underground but only a stone tablet was dug out," Chen, standing beside the small house built to protect the relics of Mingtang (a place for an emperor to declare punishment and prize or instructions), said in Cantonese.

According to historical records, Mingtang and Tiantang were the tallest wooden structures when Wu Zetian held the throne. Among them, Mingtang was about 86 meters high, a little lower than Tiantang. Shi said that Empress Wu built the Mingtang and Tiantang just for changing traditional ideas. After ascending the throne, she invited her courtiers to a banquet held in the Mingtang, accepted congratulations, and issued orders there.

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