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                Ancient Capitals of China (Kaifeng)
                Learn Chinese - History and Culture
                              
                Formerly named Bianliang (biàn liáng 汴梁), Kaifeng (kāi fēng 開封) is one of the major seven ancient capitals in China. According to some research, there were human activities around Kaifeng area as early as the capital of a number of dynasties such as the Later Liang Dynasty (hòu liáng 后梁), the Later Jin Dynasty (hòu jìn 后晉), the Han Dynasty (hàn dài 漢代) and the Later Zhou Dynasty (hòu zhōu 后周). In 960 AD, the Northern Song Dynasty (běi sòng 北宋) was founded and made Kaifeng its capital, then known as "Dongdu” (dōng dū 東都, Eastern Captial). During the Northern Song Dynasty, with a population of 1.5 million, Kaifeng was not only the economic, political and cultural hub of China, but also the greatest international metropolis, and hence the title “thoroughfare of the world”.
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                Ancient Capitals of China (Hangzhou)
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                Hangzhou (háng zhōu 杭州) has a long history, and extensive cultural heritages. As early as in the New Stone Age, 4000to 5000years ago, its first inhabitants created the splendid Liangzhu Culture (liáng zhǔ wén huà 良渚文化), reputedly called the twilight of civilization. Hangzhou was called Qiantang (qián táng 錢塘) in ancient times. Over 2200 years has passed since it was designated as the seat of Qiantang County in the Qin Dynasty (qín cháo 秦朝). In 1129, Hangzhou was renamed Lin’an (lín 'ān 臨安). In 1138, the Southern Song Dynasty (nán sòng 南宋) made Lin’an its capital, and since then it served as the capital in the following 140 years.

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                Longtangs in Shanghai
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                              Longtang
                Longtang (lòng táng 弄堂) is the local term used by Shanghai (shàng hǎi 上海) people for Lilong (lǐ lòng 里弄). As "long" means a lane and "tang" means an important building or the front room of a house, "longtang" either means a lane that connects houses or a group of houses connected by lanes. According to elucidation, "longtang" might not so explicit as "Lilong"is, for the "Li" in "lilong" means neighbourhood, and people living in a longtang are actually living in a neighbourhood , but it is understandable.

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                Hutong and Siheyuan
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                        Siheyuan
                The word "hutong" (hú tóng 胡同) means "water well"(shuǐ jǐng 水井) in Mongolian. The Mongolians keep the nomadic tradition of settling down around springs or wells. A hutong is the passage formed by lines of siheyuan (sì hé yuàn 四合院, four-side enclosed courtyards). Strictly, hutong alleys are less than nine meters wide. Most hutongs in Beijing run in an east-west or north-south direction, with most houses facing south to take in as much sunshine as possible.

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                Qingming Festival
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                Qingming Festival

                The Qingming? Festival (Pure Brightness, qīng míng jié 清明節) is one of the 24 seasonal division points in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. After the festival, the temperature will rise up and rainfall increases. It is the high time for spring plowing and sowing. But the Qingming Festival is not only a seasonal point to guide farm work, it is more a festival of commemoration.

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                Dragon Boat Festival
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                ?? Dragon Boat Festival
                The Dragon Boat Festival (duān wǔ jié 端午節), also called Double Fifth Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth?month of the lunar calendar. It is one of the most important traditional? festivals in China.

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