Songpan: Ancient City Experienced the Rise and Fell
Songpan, named Songzhou in ancient time, is the border trade city and garrisoning city on the border.
Tea ma hu in Songzhou, Tang Dynasty
You can see the gilded “Songzhou” from far away, which is the North gate of Songpan. Here is a pair of couplets said, “tea ma hu city in ancient Songzhou, marriage between Han and Zang shows great unity”, the banner said “Songzhou of great Tang”. It is called Songzhou of great Tang is because the ancient cities you can see now were built in Tang and finished in Ming, cost several hundred years.
Such a couplet shows a period of history at present. For hundreds of years, the ancient caravan went up along the Minjiang valley. Songpan is the most comfortable city they had arrived, going through much suffering. Here, a lot of horses can return to their hometowns after finishing the tasks of pack and trade. Songpan was the largest collection of goods between the three provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi during the year.
Originally the fertile soil located in Minjiang river is not only the motherland of Di and Qiang nomadic tribes of civilization, but the important migration corridor of the snake Huaxia group family, which has old and diverse culture and became the main tsusho intermarriage since Qin and Han dynasties. In the tang dynasty, in the mountains of western China, there is only one country called Tubo, which could compete with the tang dynasty, at that time the king of Tubo named Srongtsen Gampo, with strong military strength, the enlightened politics and unify religious (Tibetan Buddhism), united tribes of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, and confronted with great Tang. Tea horse road is ascending out on the economic concept "tea ma hu" and named in 1990s, the so-called tea ma hu is the tea for horse, horse for tea sales market and the marketing center. Qinghai area is rich in good horse. The great Tang (including Song and Ming dynasties) had to cope with not only Tubo and the threat from the north of Nuzhen, Mongolia, requiring a lot of horses and Tibetan medicine. And Qinghai-Tibet plateau Tibetan and Qiang tribe’s due to were lack of vegetables due to the cold weather. Tea is the best way to supply vitamin. The both sides had a reason to do business contacts, so there is a border trade city -- Songpan.
It is worth mentioning that the earliest tea ma hu is starting from Chengdu, going through Guan county (now the town of Dujiangyan) and Songpan to enter Qinghai, crossing the Sun and Moon mountain, Mount Tunggula and finally arrive at Lhasa and camphor wood, rocks, and so on. The transport of goods is tea, silk and iron, all along the way to the shops. The tea horse ancient road not only transports the goods to Lhasa, but to all parts of the Tibetan region.
The tea horse road began in Han and prospered in Song. In the northern song dynasty years, Songzhou is one of the country's largest tea ma hu. According to historical records, thousands of caravans come and go continuously around Songzhou. Such situation didn’t change until Ming dynasty. Tea ma hu in Songpan unprecedentedly prospered. Songzhou at that time were also much prospered. Business dealings contributed to the interactive development of the travelling merchants and shopkeeper, and the goods also increased. local businessmen in Songpan and merchants from all over the country sold the cloth, silks and satins, sugar, tea, wine, paper, paint, metal, ceramics, such as tobacco to Songpan, also to Songpan grassland and Qinghai, Gansu and Tibet, and from these places they stock animal products, dairy products, fur, forest products, medicinal materials, etc. This is a commercial channel connected to central plains.
In the period of the Republic of China, the warlords Ma Bufang in the northwest of China and Yan Xishan in Shanxi began to get their hands-on business in Songpan, such as business. Gradually, because of the Diexi earthquake breaking the trail block and the Japanese bombs the ancient city of Songpan lost its former prosperity. The loss of the prosperous made Songpan eventually faded away, and the old taverns and shops that had once been in and out of the city were torn down during the Cultural Revolution. In addition, some random development and construction have left many historic sites disappearing in the tidal wave of farmland construction and municipal construction, but the ancient city walls of more than 2,600 meters are still in good condition.
The enemy must contend, the frontier town
Songpan has a long history and was the first place where the people of the Qiang ethnic group thrived. As early as 316 BC Qin through Pakistan destroyed the ancient Shu and established Qiandi. Which has been two thousand three hundred years of history. Since then, Songpan has become one of the most important border towns in history, known as the west Sichuan gateway.
Songpan "clutches he ridge, control the resource of water, on the left connects two rivers, and the right reaches the Kang and Tibet". It is an important barrier of the whole country. Therefore, since the Han and Tang dynasties, It is heavily garrisoned. As a land of war, in the long march of the Red Army, the two armies fought a fierce battle for Songpan. The party won could seize the initiative of the war. After the analysis, Hu Zongnan determined that the Red Army must come out of Songpan, so he reported to Chiang kai-shek in Nanjing, and the heavy soldiers were chasing the red army in the area of Songpan. As a result, the Red Army broke through the pines and went through the plains of Ruelgebana, breaking through the roof of the Tianhe river from the village of Brazil. The red army held a conference in Ruoge, which is the most important meeting place for the most important politburo meetings. Later, the monument of the long march of the Red army was built in the main temple in Songpan.
The statues of Srongtsen Gampo and Wen Cheng princess today were linked to an important battlefield. In 638, between Tubo and Tang there was a big battle. Songzhou was on of the main battlelground, later there was a marriage between Srongtsen Gampo and Wen Cheng princess for peace. After Yuan dynasty, twelve years Ming Hongwu (1379), general Ding Yu in Pingqiang captured Songpan, wrote to the court twice, require building the city and garrison it, the following year the court approve to set up the "Songzhou Wei", later it was combined with “Panzhou Wei” and finally became “Song-Pan Wei”. Ever since, tall ancient city wall we see today is relic of at that time.
According to the Songpan county annals in the republic of China, when Songpan began to establish Songzhou Wei, Ding yu nominated Gao Xian in Ningzhou to be responsible for the construction of the city wall. From the western foothills to the eastern side of the river, the city walls had been built for five years. During the reign of emperor Mingying, the censor called Cou Chen had built the western wall along the foothills to the top of the mountain. We can still see the remains of the Great Wall. During the five years of the reign of emperor Jiajing of the Qing dynasty (1520), he Qing could increase the number of foreign cities by seven thousand four hundred and fifty. The Songpan system was basically completed.
The city of Songpan was divided into two cities, and the inner city was slightly triangular in accordance with the mountain, and the eastern part of the valley was a rectangle. The outer city is adjacent to the river valley below the inner city, and the gate relates to the inner city. The total length of the outer city wall is 6.2 kilometers, and the building materials are green brick. The green brick is 50 centimeters long and 12 centimeters thick, each brick weighs 30 kilograms. One section of the outer wall was built with a stone wall and is 1.4 kilometers and filled with soil stones. The wall of Songpan is known for its thickness. The wall is more than 12 meters thick, and it is strong enough to be sewn with sticky rice, lime and tung oil.
Located in the east of the city, the south of the city and the north of the city, the three gates of the city are half-moon, and the stone is carved with various kinds of carvings, ancient and beautiful, which still retain the ancient flavor. The city walls are 6200 meters long, beautiful and magnificent. The overall layout and the landscape, the mountain potential, the river is perfectly combined. It is the best of the ancient city wall of China, the classic work of Chinese ancient city wall. The city gate is the deepest in the Ming dynasty, which is deeper than the city gate of Beijing, Nanjing and xi 'an.
The city will be open all day, and the tower will need to be bought for another ticket
The time for climbing the tower: 9:00—18:00
Public transport: the teashop station will be sent to Songpan every morning at 7:00, 8:30 and 11:30. The ticket price is 109 yuan/person.
Self-drive: Chengdu - Duwen expressway - Mau county- 213 national road - Songpan, the whole journey is about 310 km.
Room and board information:
The beef and mutton and glutinous rice cake are the staple food here. But Sichuan cuisine is now available.
There are many hotels in Songpan, which are very convenient.