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This Ancient Chinese City Deserves To Receive More Attention

  • 11
  • 05
  • 2016

When it comes to history, Kaifeng has it all.  Surviving generations, this historical city is one of the seven ancient capitals that China has seen rise and fall with the coming and going of the various Imperial Dynasties that ruled the land over a 5000-year period.

Even though it’s not a popular city to the rest of the world, to China this was once the richest city of the country and in its heyday was one of the most promising cities in the world.


During the reign of the Song Dynasty between the years 960 and 1127 AD, Kaifeng was considered the brain and heart of China as it was the country’s political, economic, and cultural center.  The city housed more than 450,000 inhabitants, making it the most populous city in the world at the time. Its streets were buzzing with traders from all over Asia who could sell their merchandise at various market places and spend their profits in the numerous restaurants.

Compared to its European counterparts, Kaifeng was considerably larger. The largest European cities at the time had populations running only into the tens of thousands. Kaifeng was also light years ahead in development and standard of living. Dining etiquette was the norm, and food guides were written for the city’s many restaurants.


The city was a haven for paintings and calligraphy. Kaifeng hosted four of the most famous calligraphers, each one forming iconic styles for which the ruling class exuberantly paid.

When so many years and seasons pass, nature is bound to take a toll on a city or village. How many times have we heard about villages or whole cities being torn apart because of the strong forces of nature?


The infamous Yellow River consistently overflowed and flooded Kaifeng. It is said this caused two cities to be buried underground, resulting in the saying “one city piled upon another under Kaifeng.”

If you have plans to travel to China and are really interested in its rich 5000-year history, Kaifeng is a city you won’t want to miss. Being witness to endless generations, Kaifeng is home to numerous ancient sights and relics that survived invasion, floods, and revolution. The beautiful temples and the Pagoda Lake await your visit.


Photo Credits: Chiowtein

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