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Ancient villages record the Shenzhen's history
Latest Updated by 2007-04-09 11:29:17

There are about 80 ancient villages in Shenzhen, each belonging to a distinct clan of people all sharing the same family name. Nearly half of these ancient villages are in Bao'an District, and two that have been listed as city-level heritage sites are recommended for day trippers.

Fenghuang Village and Wen Tower

Fenghuang, which means phoenix, is the name of a village, temple and mountain in Bao'an District. Local residents say this name comes from a local legend which states that there were phoenixes living on top of the mountain in ancient times.

Before walking into the village, visit the old tower next to the entrance. The six-storeyed Wen Tower claims to be the only tower in Shenzhen dating back to ancient times. Visitors who climb to the top will get a bird's-eye view of the village.

Wen, which means "culture," is the surname of all the residents of Fenghuang, who are descendants of Wen Tian-xiang, a chief minister during the Song Dynasty.

Born in 1236 in Jiangxi Province, he is considered one of the most prominent symbols of loyalty and patriotism in China. His writings on right-eousness are still taught in schools today.

In 1278, Wen was captured by the invading Yuan armies of Kublai Khan, "offered" a Yuan post, and ordered to persuade the remaining Song forces to surrender. Wen refused both and suffered for four years in military prison before his execution in 1283.

He wrote his famous poem "Song of Righteousness" in prison, which goes: "None since the advent of time have escaped death, may my loyalty forever illuminate the annals of history. "

Wen Yinglin, the grandson of Wen Tianxiang's nephew, later escaped to Shenzhen after losing a battle against the Yuan army in Huizhou. He first lived in Dongming Village, and his descendants moved to Fenghuang Village in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Hong Kong.

At present, there are at least five branches of the Wen family in the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong and Fujian.

Fenghuang Village was built in the Yuan Dynasty, and the Wen Tower was built between 1796 and 1820, during the Qing Dynasty, to commemorate Wen Tianxiang.

Both were placed on the city's heritage list last year.

The original Wen Tower had only four storeys and two more storeys were added between 1862 and 1874.

According to records, more than 300 houses were built in the village during the Ming and Qing dynasties. However, less than 60 old houses are left now, with most hiding among newer structures.

It's almost impossible to find any descendants of the Wen clan there now, and most houses are occupied by migrant workers.

If you have time, visit the ancient temple on top of Feng-huang Mountain. It takes about one hour to climb to the top, but you can also drive up to the peak.

Yanchuan Village

The Yanchuan ancient village was listed among 44 municipal-level heritage sites by the government last year.

The village's residents are descendants of the Chen clan.

During the Song Dynasty, the clan's ancestor Chen Chaoju moved from Luoyang in Henan Province to Nanxiong in Guangdong. His third son, Chen Kangdao, later moved to the village.

The Chen Baisu and four other ancestral temples in the village were built during the Qing Dynasty.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:Szdaily web edition
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