Tongguan Kiln ancient town among multiple areas in Hunan boasting 4A-rated scenic label
Ancient towns flanking the Xiangjiang River make Wangcheng district culturally attractive, which the city and authorities hope will become a cultural tourism model.
The area in Changsha, capital of Central China's Hunan province, is hosting the World Tourism Cities Federation Changsha Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit 2022, and also the city's first tourism development conference.
The Tongguan Kiln ancient town, which covers an area of 1 million square meters, may be the first choice for visitors to Wangcheng. The town and the Changsha Tongguan Kiln relic park are 4A-rated scenic areas.
Culture related to the Tongguan Kiln is a highlight of the sites. From the perspective of ceramic development history, the Tongguan Kiln dates back to the early Tang Dynasty (618-907).
It is known as one of China's three export-oriented kilns in the dynasty, together with the Yue Kiln in East China's Zhejiang province and the Xing Kiln in Hebei province in North China.
In 1998, a sunken ship carrying 67,000 porcelain items was salvaged near Belitung in Indonesia. Among the items, 56,500 are from the Tongguan Kiln. It was later known as one of the world's factories a thousand years ago.
It is seated in Tongguan subdistrict on the east bank of the Xiangjiang River. The ancient Tongguan Street in the subdistrict has long been an important commercial area for the kiln. The street housed many flourishing shops since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and now still boasts pleasant scenes to this day.
Archaeological research shows 149 ancient dragon-shaped kilns and nearly 30 ancient mines and workshops exist in the Tongguan Kiln area. It is among the first national-level archaeological relic parks.
In terms of intangible cultural heritage, Changsha mainly boasts techniques of firing ceramics and making Hunan embroidery and Liuyang fireworks. The Tongguan Kiln is undoubtedly a significantly intangible cultural heritage area.
Fifteen ceramic works from the kiln were displayed at an exhibition held in Helsinki, capital of Finland, in 2017.
Visitors to Tongguan subdistrict are now welcome to different attractions. They are welcome to learn about calligraphy culture in the Ouyang Xun cultural park, named after a famous calligrapher in the Tang Dynasty. They are also welcome to make traditional porcelain in the ancient Tongguan Street and go sightseeing in beautiful villages.
The Tongguan Kiln ancient town received more than 80,000 visits during this year's National Day holiday from Oct 1-7.
Yuan Yun, general manager of the ancient town, said: "Tongguan Kiln has four entertainment centers and eight commercial blocks and offers 30 to 40 performances every day." It has some feature shows, such as local Huagu Opera of Hunan, and uses science and technology to offer dazzling sights related to water in the evening.
Tongguan is also planning excellent tourism routes, involving cultural exploration in the ancient town, sightseeing in rural areas and tours at the archaeological relics.
The first Changsha tourism development conference, held in the ancient town, offers opportunities for Wangcheng to advance its cultural tourism.
The district is implementing several cultural tourism projects, demonstrating a good combination of culture and tourism. It has attracted Overseas Chinese Town Holdings to build the Happy Valley, an amusement theme park, and promoted a tourism company from Yunnan province in Southwest China to offer characteristic homestays.
Feng zhiwei and Zhu Youfang contributed to this story.