National Archaeological Parks

Mingzhongdu Imperial City Ruins National Archaeological Site Park

Updated: Aug 12, 2021 Print
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Mingzhongdu Imperial City Ruins National Archaeological Site Park

Address: Fengyang county, Chuzhou city, Anhui province

The Mingzhongdu Imperial City site is the ruins of a capital built under the orders of Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), in his hometown, now Fengyang county, Anhui province.

A bird's-eye view of the Mingzhongdu ruins site in Fengyang county, Anhui province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Mingzhongdu (literally, the central capital of Ming Dynasty) Imperial City covers an area of 840,000 square meters.Its massive construction began in 1369, but was stopped and abandoned just six years later. Owing to 600 years of turbulent history, today, only a few relics and the an-cient city walls remain of this large-scale imperial city.

The Mingzhongdu Imperial City site plays a very important role in Chinese historical architecture. It inherited the basic structure pattern ofthe “central axis crossing a three-layer-walled city” of the Dadu -- capital city of the preceding Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).The Mingzhongdu site also served as a blueprint for the later capital cities of the Ming and Qing dynasties. As excavations continue, more and more similar structures of the Forbidden City in Beijing and Mingzhongdu in Fengyang have been discovered.

Its similarity to the Forbidden City adds additional research value to Mingzhongdu. Because the Forbidden City has been so well preserved, archaeologists have been largely unable to dig and analyze it deep underground, until Mingzhongdu provided them with a perfect sample. The two sites have become mutually referential, and both contribute to the study of ancient Chinese pala-tial cities, according to Wu Wei, an archaeologist from the Palace Museum.

The Mingzhongdu Imperial City National Archaeological Site Park, which was approved in 2017, is planned to be built into an urban site park, with a total area of more than 380 hectares, and requires many restoration projects.The current park is free to visit and walk around.

One of the three largest pillar cornerstones discovered at the Mingzhongdu site.[Photo provided to China Daily]

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