Chengdu's history dates back over 3,600 years. It is believed that in the early part of the 4th century BC, the Shu State moved its capital to the site of present-day Chengdu. During the Qin Dynasty, the city was founded, a protective 25-meter tall wall was built, and the city's reputation as a commercial hub and center for arts and crafts trades became established.

During Western Han Dynasty, the city was known as Brocade City in reference to the silk brocade industry which was already thriving at that time. By the Song Dynasty, the entire city consisted of five rather large commercial centers plus a large market where people could sell their goods along with popular night markets. The city was a vital political and commercial center for southwest China, and was chosen as the capital by Gongsun Shu, king of Western Han Dynasty, by Liu Bei, an emperor of the Three Kingdoms period, and by Meng Zhixiang, Emperor of the Later Shu in the 10th century AD. Chengdu has been the location of government for Sichuan province since the Yuan dynasty.

Chengdu has long been known for its handicrafts. From the Warring Statesto the Han Dynasty, Chengdu's lacquer wares had particular fame, and the city has been synonymous with silk and silk brocade since the earliest times: colored silk from Sichuan was already a famous Sichuan product by the time of the Han Dynasty. Most of China's silk trade with the Middle East up to the time of the Tang dynasty was based on silk from Chengdu.

Chengdu has a great history of openness and has thrived on its ability to absorb and promote cultural influences. When Kaiming, the king of the ancient Shu state, moved his capital to Chengdu in the 4th century BC, he brought with him new cultural influences.

After the unification of China by the Qin Kingdom, another new culture was introduced, with a new wave of merchants bringing in knowledge of business management and industry. Yang Xiu, a governor of Sichuan in the Sui Dynasty, brought with him a group of master monks, thus making Sichuan an important center for Buddhist studies. Two Tang emperors made imperial visits to Sichuan, bringing poets, painters, artists and talented people from many walks of life. In the Qing Dynasty , a large number of people from Hubei Province and Guangxi Province moved to Sichuan, which helped to foster innovation and communication in economy and culture. All of these influences contributed to the uniqueness of Sichuan's achievements, from opera, painting, and poetry to Sichuan cuisine and snacks. During the Anti-Japanese War, many associations, societies and prominent people moved to Chengdu, adding to the city's influence as a cultural center. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, when three important railways were under construction in southwest China, a large number of professionals and other technicians were transferred to Chengdu to offer help.

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