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Site of Shangdu of Yuan Dynasty


The Site of Shangdu of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) is located on the northern banks of Shandian River in Wuyi Grazing Land, Zhenglan Banner of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The city was built in 1256 and abandoned during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Excavations in 1956 and 1973 found that the city consisted of a palace city, inner city, outer city and neighborhood area beyond the city gates. Its walls were made of loess and the inner and outer palace city walls were paved with bricks and stones on the outside.

The palace city is located north-of-center in the inner city. The oblong city is 620 meters long and 570 meters wide, with towers located at all four corners. The eastern, southern and western walls each have a gate in the center. There are also many ponds inside the city.

The square-shaped inner city, with sides measuring 1,400 meters in length, sits in the southeast corner of the outer city. The southern and northern sides both have a gate, while the eastern and western sides have two gates each. The symmetrically distributed streets are located within the city, where most of the office buildings were erected. At the northwest corner is the site of the Qianyuan Temple; the Huayan Temple is located in the northeast.

The outer city encompasses the western and northern parts of the inner city, with each side stretching over 2,200 meters. The southern and western walls have one gate each, while the northern wall has two gates. The earth hillock located in the north is the site of the imperial garden where offices and workshops are distributed in an orderly fashion in the west. The eastern, southern and western parts of the outer city were residential areas and markets.

Cultural relics at the Site of Shangdu include various construction parts, such as yellow-, green- and blue-glazed tiles and white marble carvings embossed with flower patterns. Also found at the imperial city were shards of pottery made at the Longquan Kiln, the Jun Kiln and the Cizhou Kiln, including a few celadon shards.

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