After visiting Changzhou I took back my words and have never called it “The Ordinary Prefecture” again. Changzhou is like a strong glass of concentrated Chinese culture take all in a gulp without breathing. And yes we had it all in one day. Welcome to Changzhou. The city lies some few kilometers from Nanjing so it took us some 2 hours on the road to reach there. It is situated downstream of the Yangzte River and has a long place in China’s vast historical records. What took us to Changzhou was a culture trip that will be the last under Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, what a great school.
The earliest history of Changzhou started at the beginning of the Western Zhou Dynasty and the original town was founded as a Chinese commandery in 221 B.C. Changzhou got its current name, ordinary prefecture, in 589 A.D., and
after the Grand Canal was constructed, the town became a canal port and a transshipment point. In later Taiping
Rebellion Period, there were lots of municipal constructions including palaces and government offices, housing
leaders of the dynasty. In the 1920s, Changzhou started to attract mill owners for cotton industry and the industry
finally made Changzhou a national textile center in China.
The trip to Changzhou would be a compact one where only time for lunch is where we got a breather. The city has a similar climate like Nanjing so the weather was favorable though abit warm. We arrived and proceeded straight down town to the Tianning Baota (Tianning Pagoda), which was first built during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 907). Since that time it has been destroyed and rebuilt five times.
The current reconstruction is built to the height specification of 153.79 metres (504.6 ft). This makes it the tallest pagoda in China and perhaps also the world. Temples around this Pagoda have spectacular figures and praying spots. Though tourists numbers are small, they grow as summer comes near. The top of the pagoda has a bell that weighs 30 tonnes.
Inside the pagoda is an endless flight of staircase that will take you to the top. However for those who are not into that, there is an elevator at certain floors to do look out for the signs. At the peak, one has to use the staircase to see the massive bronze bell. On certain floors is a showcase of early forms of writing and artifacts. This is a must visit when coming to China.
The Yancheng Theme Park
The Chinese people really know how to have fun and this p;lace was just the best place. Full of rich history on one side and the fun part on the other end. The Yancheng Theme Park is a large area that also contains Jiangsu’s largest zoo home to endangered species. The entry fee is 90 Yuan and for those really interested in Chinese medicine and history this is a good place to lay a good foundation in your studies.
The fun side where it seems to have more people is a full 100% fun section. It contains all sorts of machines designed to make your blood rush through your veins. Some will hold you upside down for a good 20-seconds!! Because we came here to learn about Chinese medicine and some history, we could not have fun so we quickly passed this section casting glances at our teacher…maybe if they changed their mind.
After the show we strolled back to the bus…back to Nanjing…back to School. I must say that Changzhou is a really beautiful city and the girls are also beautiful. With Nanjing being 2 hours away we all had a reason to catch a nap along the way.
Thanks Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine for this opportunity.
Changzhou is The Extra-Ordinary Prefecture.
Excerpts from :Wikipedia, Jiangsu.net