Located in Wujin District of Changzhou, Jiangsu, the Yancheng Remains at the Spring & Autumn period covers an area of about 600,000 square meters, and has been long reputed as the “Number One Water City of China” and “Capital of Mystery”. It enjoys a long history of more than 2,500 years, and is the only ancient ground city with three circles of cities and rivers, as well as the best reserved city and moats at the Spring & Autumn Period of China.
Three cities is actuallythree circles of cities, namely outer city, inner city and innermost city; three circles of rivers refer to three layers of moats, namely outer moat, inner moat and innermost moat. Only one exit and entry is set for each city. More than a dozen ramparts with 8-9 meters high around the outer city form a natural barrier. It was said that King Yan had resisted the invasion of King Wu for years under the help of such ramparts and moats. A folk song was spreading like, “Between innermost city and outer city, a square golden city is set, and three moats and four city walls are totally built.”; “Inner ramparts and outer ramparts, hundreds of ramparts are built around, and only a rampart situated in the central city”; “Inner dam, outer dam, only exit is set in the west, canoes travel without any dam.” All these basically reflect the shape and structure of Yancheng, and comply with the record of three miles distance ended the city, and seven miles distance reaches river in Mencius. Stepping into the Yancheng Remains, three mounts may come into sight. These hills are actual tomb mounts, called head mount, belly mount and foot mount respectively. These three mounts are the graves of the three daughters of King Yan, who can be traced to the record in the book of Yue Ladies written by Yuan Kang in East Han Dynasty.
“To learn the history of Ming and Qing Dynasties, please visit Beijing; to know the history of Sui and Tang Dynasties, please tour Xi’an; to study the history of the Spring & Autumn period, please go to Yancheng”, such is a well-known rhesis for appraising Yancheng Remains. The Yancheng Remains at the Spring & Autumn Period is a national key cultural relic protection unit. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, more than two thousand precious relics were unearthed from the Yancheng Remains, and some are awarded as the national treasures. These relics include canoes, bronze ware, primitive celadon porcelain ware, geometric seals pottery ware, most parts of which were tools of production made of stone, some belong to Neolithic Period, some belong to Paleolithic Period, and some belong to historical period. Among them, the canoe with the reputation of “The First Canoe since the Beginning of History” can be traced back to the West Zhou Dynasty, which was hollowed from a whole trunk of nanmu. The trace of coke and chisel marks fully demonstrate the process of firing was adopted, which can corroborate each other with the record of “Hollowing Tree Trunk to Make Canoe” in the Classic of Changes—Xici.
The Yancheng Remains not only owns the historical scene with primitive simplicity, but also enjoys charming scenery featured in the south Yangtze River area. The Yancheng Remains was repaired in the period of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty. As the inscription on the ancient stele says, “Yancheng is surrounded by circled water and verdant woods, like a quiet and pure place far away from the grossness.” Now, it looks more like a Shangri-la full of the chirping of birds and fragrance of flowers.