Home of Di Renjie attracts more visitors to Taiyuan

Updated: Dec 18, 2020 Print
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The address of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, 221B Baker Street, is a popular tourist destination in London for fans of the legendary super sleuth.

In Taiyuan, the provincial capital of Shanxi, Tanghuai Park in Dicun village is somewhat the local equivalent of 221B Baker Street, because of its connection to Tang Dynasty (618-907) detective and judge Di Renjie.

Di started his political career as a detective and was later promoted to a high-ranking judge and finally the prime minister of the country during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian (624-705).

Di is a household name in China due to the TV series Celebrated Judge Di. In the TV drama, Di is portraited as a detective capable of dealing with all kinds of difficult cases.

According to historical documents, in the first year of his position as an imperial judge, Di presided over thousands of cases involving some 17,000 people. His judgment was so righteous and accurate that there was not a single complaint from those involved, it is said.

Di's talent was not limited to judicial affairs. As prime minister he helped to build a prosperous period in ancient China.

Dicun, named after Di, is said to be the birthplace of this renowned official. And Tanghuai Park, which is said to be home to Di's former residence, was renamed Di Renjie Culture Park on Dec 1 in a hope to attract more tourists.

Previously a farming community, Dicun has become part of the city as Taiyuan has expanded in recent years.

Surrounded by high-rising buildings, the park is the among the few quiet places in the city.

Local residents in Dicun village still see Di Renjie Cultural Park as a place for relaxation and exercise.

It is a routine for Gou Ronghua to practice tai chi every morning in the park. He enjoys the martial art with the accompanying ancient music playing on his mobile phone. After the exercise, he is more relaxed and enjoys talking with visitors, sharing his knowledge about the area's "real history"-by real he means not from the TV drama-of Di Renjie, and his insight about the architecture in the park.

The elderly local said most of the buildings were built in a Tang Dynasty residential style.

His view is shared by Yang Bin, an official of the park. Yang pointed to a lush Chinese scholar tree, saying that it has a history of about 1,300 years and is said to have been planted by Di's mother.

"With an area of only 6,600 square meters, the small park is one of the places that can help people learn about the history of Taiyuan,"Yang said.

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