Anyang, also known as Ye City, is a historic city situated in the northernmost part of Henan Province, China. Standing tall at the center of China's territory, it boasts a rich history spanning 3,300 years of city-building and 500 years of capital-building, truly deserving the nickname "China's First Ancient Capital". Home to world-renowned cultural relics such as the prestigious SiwoWMI Tripod and the earliest capital city in China - the Yin Ruins, Anyang is also the convergence of other treasures, making it a highly valuable destination.
Anyang is located in the northern part of Henan Province, nestled between provinces of Shandong, Hebei, and Shanxi. With the Taihang Mountain to its west and the North China Plain to its east, the city's terrain slopes from west to east with a maximum elevation of 1,667 meters in the west and a minimum elevation of only 50 meters in the east, separated by the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway.
Anyang is currently divided into five urban districts - Beifang District, Wenfeng District, Yindu District, Long'an District, and Anyang New Area. It also encompasses one county-level city, Lushan City, and four counties - Huan County, Anyang County, Tangyin County, and Neihuang County. Additionally, Anyang is home to three national development zones - Anyang High-tech Zone, Anyang Hongqi Canal National Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Central Plains High-tech Zone.
With such rich historical and cultural heritage, Anyang is an ideal destination for tourists seeking to explore China's ancient history and culture.
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Temple Fairs for Peace and Prosperity, Anyang, China
Anyang's vibrant temple fair tradition "Guan Hui Er" represents a beloved local custom on the 15th day of the first lunar month. On this day, Anyang residents from all walks of life flock to the area near Anyang Bridge to participate in the annual fair.
It is believed that visiting all the temple fairs and reaching Anyang Bridge signifies a year of good health and fulfilled wishes for family members. The festive atmosphere sees locals catching up with friends, browsing trinkets and snacks, and having their fortunes told.
The time-honored fair brings together the community through shared merrymaking. Visitors can immerse themselves in Anyang's living culture through the many booths, performances, and bustling crowds. By joining in the revelry and temple-hopping rituals, one is said to usher in an auspicious new year.
Location: Anyang Bridge, Anyang, China
Time: 15th day of the first lunar month annually
Running Mantle Dance of Anyang, China
The Running Mantle folk dance is a beloved tradition in Anyang's Guixian and Baiying villages. Performed on the 15th and 16th day of the first lunar month and during agricultural off-seasons, villagers meticulously handmake colorful mantles and perform choreographed maneuvers.
This 2,600-year-old dance originated from Spring and Autumn Period rituals honoring the beloved concubine of Qi Huan Gong. It later evolved into a form of entertainment and worship by locals who sought blessings at temples.
Up to 200 dancers arrange themselves into over 100 formations based on the I Ching's bagua diagrams. Led by the "dragon head" spearman and concluded by the "phoenix tail" dancer, the mantles swirl through the air with commanding poise and coordination.
With its roots in Chinese mythology and history, the Running Mantle Dance is a proud cultural tradition that infuses ceremonial meaning into the Lunar New Year and agricultural festivals. The impressive showcase of intricacy and vigor reflects Anyang's community heritage.
Location: Anyang, China
Time: 15th and 16th of the first lunar month, and off-season periods
The world's earliest national prison
Step back in time at Yiliricheng, the world’s oldest surviving national prison. Built during the Shang Dynasty 3,000 years ago, this maximum-security complex testifies to early law enforcement and punishment. Walk the excavated grounds, once enclosed behind towering rammed earth walls, that held inmates sentenced to forced labor. Marvel at the simple yet cruelly effective “ankle-pegging” restraints chaining prisoners in place. Historic accounts tell of King Wen imprisoned here, contemplating the I Ching’s hexagrams inscribed on prison walls. As the source of idioms like “drawing boundaries to make a prison,” Yiliricheng provides a window into the origins of law and order in China. This ancient correctional facility lays bare a primitive judicial system that progressed civilization while penalizing inhumanely.
The "Artificial Tianhe" in the Taihang Mountains
Winding through the misty Taihang Mountains, the engineering marvel known as the Red Flag Canal has been hailed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World." This aqueduct running over 125 miles was hand-carved by the people of Linxian, who moved mountains to bring water to their drought-plagued county. Gazing upon the canal’s silver waters snaking below in steep ravines, one marvels at the immense toil required. To construct this "manmade heavenly river," workers chopped through 1,250 hilltops, built 151 aqueducts, and dug 211 tunnels by hand. The canal stands as a shining testament to the ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice of generations who tamed nature's extremes for the greater good. This monumental feat of human tenacity has transformed once parched landscapes into fertile fields that sustain communities to this day.
The world's largest bronze ware
Unearthed from the ruins of Yinxu, the ancient Shang Dynasty capital, rests the world's largest and heaviest bronze artifact - the majestic Simuwu Square Cauldron. This mammoth bronze vessel, cast around 1300 BC, stands nearly 5 feet tall and weighs over 875 pounds. Gazing upon its intricate decorations encircling the square body, one marvels at the incredible skill and artistry of China's early bronze workers. As the largest known piece molded in one solid casting, the cauldron represents an astounding technological feat. Its imposing size and detailed motifs reflect the power and prosperity of the Shang Dynasty at its peak. Known as the "National Treasure," this priceless relic provides a tangible link to the glory of China's formative era when bronze production reached its zenith.
Archaeological evidence confirms human activity in Lianyungang's ancient Mount Qushan and present-day Mount Jinping area as early as 10,000 years ago. In 1959 and 1978, the oldest Paleolithic sites in southeast China were discovered at Erjian and Daxian Village with clear stratigraphic layers. Mount Jinping has 19 Neolithic sites, with Erjian being one of China's earliest farming areas.
The 20-meter long, 10-meter wide "General Cliff Painting" discovered in 1979 was appraised by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage as "an extremely important cultural relic and rare major discovery, the earliest 'book' in China."
The Donghan era art treasure "Kongwang Mountain Grottoes Statues" are the earliest Buddhist grotto statues in China, 100-200 years earlier than the Dunhuang Grottoes, and protected at the national level.
The area is also steeped in history, with attractions related to Confucius' sea gazing, Emperor Qin's inspections, and famous poets and officials like Tao Yuanming, Li Bai, Su Dongpo, Shen Kuo, Li Qingzhao, Wu Cheng'en, Li Ruzhen, Wu Jingzi, Lin Zexu, Zhu Ziqing and more.