Ancient town shows it is a modern attraction

(Xinhua)| Updated : 2023-08-15

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Taierzhuang Ancient Town. [WeChat account: tezgc2008]

JINAN — Waving glow sticks, dazzling stage lights, and cheerful drum beats, Taierzhuang Ancient Town, located in East China's Shandong province, was rocked by a fascinating live music show in mid-July.

"I never imagined such a trendy festival could take place in an ancient town," says Xu Lele, who visited the town with his family, adding that the experience was unique.

The live music show is just one part of a grand music festival held in the town and is scheduled to last until Sunday. More exciting activities will take place, aiming to attract travelers globally.

Located in Shandong's Zaozhuang city, the ancient town can trace its origins back to the Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC-AD 220) and flourished during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. During the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty, the ancient Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, one of the most important waterways in ancient China, was rerouted, passing through the town and significantly boosting its social and economic development.

However, the town was burned to the ground during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

By 1938, the Chinese military had suffered huge losses to the Japanese invaders, following the fall of Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing. The Battle of Taierzhuang was the first major Japanese defeat since the beginning of the war, which broke the myth of the Japanese military's invincibility and resulted in an enormous boost to Chinese morale.

Zaozhuang city announced a full-scale revitalization of the town in 2008, marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Taierzhuang. Historical sites, such as the ancient city walls, docks and dwellings, have been renovated, and ancient canal sections, streets and ponds have also been rebuilt, breathing life back into the town's heritage.

"When the night falls, boats on the river light up, with background music echoing through the town. The market is also bustling. It feels like I was transported back to the town's glorious past," says Tian Yuchong, a tourist.

This summer, the ancient town has introduced a series of educational tours covering diverse themes from history and culture, to patriotic education and traditional architecture. Those activities will help tourists of all ages grasp the town's unique charm.

Tourists can also explore 40 exhibition galleries and over 50 World War II sites in the town.

In addition, the ancient town has strived to foster its international reputation in recent years.

"We have been working hard to strengthen cooperation with overseas partners in France, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. We wish to share traditional Chinese culture and the beauty of Taierzhuang with more foreign friends," says Tan Zhi, an official from the Shandong Taierzhuang Ancient Town Tourism Group.