▲ The ancient city of Pingyao echoes the tall buildings in the distance, like a microcosm of Jinzhong's hundreds of years of history. Photography/Li Wenbo
-Speaking of Fengwujun-
Once the "Silver King", now the "Bronze"
Take a few steps east from Taiyuan Wusu Airport and Taiyuan South Railway Station to Jinzhong. As a neighbor of Taiyuan, the provincial capital, the relationship between Jinzhong and Taiyuan is extremely delicate, which means "continuous cutting and chaos":
In the early Northern Song Dynasty, the governing office of Taiyuan moved to Jinzhong for several years, and the counties (districts) of Yuci, Qixian, Pingyao, and Taigu in Jinzhong were once under the jurisdiction of Taiyuan. The relationship of "you are in you, and you are in me" is still clearly visible until now: Shanxi University Town and Longcheng Street, located between Jinzhong and Taiyuan, hold them tightly in terms of culture and transportation. Tied together.
▲ Yuci night view. Yuci is the political, economic and cultural center of Jinzhong. Photography/Agan141, Picture/Picture Worm·Creative
Putting aside these superficial phenomena, the four counties of Yuci, Qixian, Taigu and Pingyao that once belonged to Taiyuan and now belong to Jinzhong are the real links between Jinzhong and Taiyuan. They were once the commercial center of Shanxi and even the whole of China, and they had an immeasurable impact on China's economic development.
Panorama of Pingyao ancient city. Photography / Jiao Xiaoxiang
panorama of ping要ancient city. photography / J IA ox i翱翔
Why did "Silver Valley" appear in Jinzhong?
Because of Jinzhong's 2 districts and 8 counties and the county-level city Jiexiu under its jurisdiction, none of them are "districts". People in Jinzhong often laugh at themselves as "Jinzhong is an assembly." Geographically speaking, Jinzhong also has a strong sense of assembly:
▲ The terrain of Jinzhong. Draw/F50BB
The overall terrain of China is high in the west and low in the east, but Jinzhong is just the opposite, high in the east and low in the west. Taiyue Mountain uplifts from the west of central Jinzhong, roughly dividing Jinzhong river into Yellow River system and Haihe river system, and also divides Jinzhong into east and west parts:
The continuous ups and downs of the Taihang Mountains in the east hinder the entry of the humid climate in the southeast, making the mountainous area sandwiched between the Taihang Mountains and the Taiyue Mountains rain scarce and changeable. The average altitude between 1500-2000 meters, as well as the terrain of mountains, hills, and basins, although they provide a paradise for animals and plants, for the locals, it is tantamount to "worse worse."
Barrenness and backwardness seem to be the eternal theme of the eastern part of Shanxi.
▲ Huihuang Village in Heshun County at the foot of Taihang Mountain. Picture/visual
The Fen River in the west is vast, and it crosses 128 kilometers. After accommodating rivers such as Xiaohe and Xiangyuhe, alluvial deposits in the Jinzhong Basin (also called Taiyuan Basin) form flat and fertile fertile fields. The counties (cities) in Jinzhong on the east bank of the Fen River fully utilize the benefits of river irrigation to develop agriculture. They are the early agricultural civilization areas in Shanxi. Taigu's cakes, Pingyao's beef, and Yuci's shochu are well-known.
Since ancient times, this place has been a rich place in Shanxi.
▲ Qixian Zihong Reservoir in Fenhe River System. Photography/Shi Yaochen, Picture/Picture Worm·Creative
At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, the "Kai Zhong Fa" (the policy of the Ming and Qing government to recruit merchants to supply military food, horses and other materials) implemented by the Ming and Qing Governments used salt and tea as the medium. Various economically developed areas, located in the north-south traffic arteries, have geographical advantages, becoming the first batch of salt and iron merchants in China.
In the middle and late Qing Dynasty, after nearly four hundred years of accumulation, these Shanxi people had done business all over the country, and even went out of China to start business with foreigners. They are known as "Shanxi merchants" by using their native kinship as a link.
▲ A sign of Shanxi Merchants Road in the Qing Dynasty. Jinzhong Taigu is the center point of Jinshang Road. Draw/F50BB
Jinzhong has become an important economic center for north-south communications because of its residence "in Shanxi." The people of Jinzhong took advantage of their geographical advantages and gradually developed and became the mainstay of Shanxi merchants in the early Qing Dynasty. They set off from the east bank of the Fen River and travelled across the country. After several generations of hard work, they finally turned this place into the richest place in Shanxi and even the whole of China.
▲ The once prosperous ancient city of Pingyao has now become a tourist attraction. The photo above/Li Wenbo, the photo below/Shi Yaochen
How is the "rich and enemy country" made
The central and western part of Shanxi was the core area of Shanxi merchants and their culture during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
In the past, there was a folk saying of "Jintai Valley, Yinqi County, Yuci County where you can't eat rice noodles" in Jinzhong. Nowadays, Jinzhong counties (cities, districts) are dotted with Jinshang courtyards. It is no exaggeration to say that this place was once a "rich country".
▲ The distribution of Jinzhong Courtyard. Draw/F50BB
How much influence does Jinzhong have on all parts of China? To
The dissemination of film and television dramas such as "Qiao Family Courtyard", "Raise the Red Lantern", and "Silver Empire" gave people a glimpse of Shanxi merchants' residences and their lives on the screen. The first two film and television dramas were shot in the Qiao Family Courtyard in Qixian County, and the Qiao Family is the leading wealthy businessman in Jinzhong.
▲ Qiao Family Courtyard. In the middle hall is the name of Qiao Zhiyong, the owner of the Qiao family compound. Picture 1 Photography/Shi Yaochen, Picture 2 and 3 Photography/Li Wenbo
At the end of the Qing Dynasty and the beginning of the Republic of China, there were more than 300 grain shops in Beijing, one third of which were run by Qixian people. But Qixian’s "business empire" is not in Beijing, but in Inner Mongolia. The Qiao family monopolized the entire commercial economy of Baotou and Hohhot with the "Fu Zihao" business. There are more than 1,000 shops and properties in Baotou, which has played a huge role in promoting the rise of Baotou. "Baotou City" is said.
Coincidentally, this kind of phenomenon that one family completes a city is also reflected in the Taigu Cao family-"the Cao family first, then Chaoyang County"-the Taigu Cao family developed in the three towers area of Rehe Business spurred local development, and the Qing government established Chaoyang County, the predecessor of today's Shuangta District, Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province.
"Where there are sparrows, there are people from Shanxi." Shanxi Shanxi merchants with Jinzhong merchants as their core used the magic of commerce to build up cities, and they donated money together to build more than 500 cities wherever they can reach. "Shanxi Guild Hall". These clubs are not only their commercial stations in other places, but also their homes for their body and mind during their journey.
Later, some of these Shanxi guild halls were developed into Shanshan Guild Hall and Shanshan-Shaanxi Gan Guild Hall; some developed into Qin-Jin Guild Hall and Quanjin Guild Hall; and others were developed into Western Jin Guild Hall and Luze Guild Hall. Nowadays, these guild halls are Shanxi merchants The part of civilization has become the main cultural relic of the local area and has attracted the attention of the world.
▲ Shanshan Guild Hall in Sheqi County, Nanyang City, Henan Province, is known as the "No. 1 Guild Hall in the World". Figure/Visual China
Jinzhong, the starting point of China's financial industry
With the expansion of Jinzhong’s "business empire", carts of gold and silver were transported from all directions back to Qixian, Taigu, Yuci, Jiexiu, Pingyao and other counties, and Shanxi merchants' courtyards moved in Jinzhong The ground rises, the houses connect the alleys, "I don't know how many tens of millions of them fall." As a result, the ancient cities remained on the land of Jinzhong between the Fenhe River and Taihang Mountain.
The rapid development of the commercial economy has promoted the rise of the financial industry. In 1824, China's first bill number Rishengchang was established in Pingyao, leading the nation’s financial sector and pioneering the nation’s financial sector. Soon, even Suzhou’s finance was monopolized. Rishengchang's semicolon is spread in more than 30 cities in China, as far as Europe, America, Southeast Asia and other regions. It is known as "Huitong the world, Lilai Kyushu", and Pingyao has the reputation of "China Wall Street" because of this (Taigu) .
▲ Pingyao Rishengchang Ticket Number, now the China Ticket Number Museum. Photography/Autumn Shadow Follows the Wind, Picture/Picture Worm·Creative
The generation of ticket numbers conformed to the trend of economic development and brought great convenience to businessmen. Therefore, large companies in Taigu, Qixian, Yuci and other counties joined the ticket number industry. The eight richest people in Shanxi: Pingyao Li family and Mao family; Jiexiu Hou family and Ji family; Yuci Wang family and Chang family; Qixian Qu family and Qiao family, all in Jinzhong.
▲ The archways and lofts of Yuci Old Town. The photo above / Li Pingan, the photo below / Shi Yaochen
Among them, Taigu County has the largest number of votes, with more than 700 large and small. The ticket number in turn stimulated Taigu’s commerce. Taigu’s major companies have set up shops in large commercial ports in other cities and sent special personnel to purchase goods: silk and satin from Suzhou and Hangzhou, medicinal materials from Sichuan and Guangzhou, summer cloth from Sichuan, fur outside the Great Wall, Lianghu Tea from China, foreign goods from Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai...These goods are transported back to Taigu in large quantities, and then wholesaled to merchants everywhere. The goods of Taiyuan, the provincial capital, are also supplied by Taigu.
▲ Taigu Old Town. Photography/Hu Shu
After the Revolution of 1911, the ticket number industry was gradually replaced by the National Bank. Coupled with the warlords' separatism and raging wars, the domestic market was greatly damaged, and Shanxi merchants' foreign firms closed down. The Shanxi businessmen's own conservativeness also made them miss the train of the times of modern industry and commerce. Jinzhong, after hundreds of years of glory, finally gradually moved towards ordinaryness and even decline.
Jinzhong, where should we go?
When the "Silver Valley" in the west fell, the other side of this contradiction in Jinzhong, the barren eastern region, stepped onto the stage of history.
During the War of Resistance Against Japan, the eastern part of Shanxi became an important enemy fortress with its complex and diverse terrain. The Guangyang ambush that took place between Xiyang and Shouyang made great contributions to defending the provincial capital Taiyuan and the entire Shanxi.
▲ Autumn scenery in Shanshang Village, Xiyang County. Photography/good time walks gently, picture/picture bug·creative
After the Anti-Japanese War entered the strategic stalemate, the Eighth Route Army opened the prelude to the Hundred Regiments Battle in Lujiazhuang, Shouyang. More than 90,000 people participated in the war in Jinzhong. The largest and longest-lasting battle launched by the Eighth Route Army in North China greatly inspired the confidence of the anti-Japanese soldiers and civilians and left a glorious chapter in the history of Jinzhong.
Jinzhong made an indelible contribution to the victory of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the War of Liberation. However, successive years of wars have made Jinzhong's already declining economy even more depressed. Fortunately, the Shitai, Taijiao, Nantongpu, and Beitongpu railways intersect in Jinzhong, driving the industrial development of Jinzhong. Only the two industrial cities of Jiexiu and Lingshi will increase their GDP in 2019. It reached one-eighth of Taiyuan, the provincial capital. But compared with the previous glory, the gap is still very large.
The Taijiao railway in Jinzhong. Photography / Jing Ju Jie Duan small DF, picture / tuchong · creativity
θ i角railway in jin中. photography / jin GJ u J i edu按small DF, picture / 图虫 · creativity
The once glorious west is no longer prosperous, and the east is still barren. Where is the way out for Jinzhong? "Taiyu integration" is the most eager call of Jinzhong people; enthusiastic netizens who eat melons also rushed to booby and presented the "strategy" of "three points of Jinzhong".
They believe that this is good for both Jinzhong and Taiyuan: Taiyuan can expand the scale of the city to the south and give better play to the leading role of the provincial capital; Jinzhong will be incorporated into the counties of Taiyuan and the economy will be better developed. For this reason, they used the cases of Chaohu and Hefei, Xianyang and Xi'an to prove their vision.
▲ The ancient city seems to be still searching for the past. Photography/Chen Zhiping
"Taiyu integration" may be one of Jinzhong's outlets, but it is still unknown. If you put all your hopes here, you will be too naive. If Jinzhong wants to truly achieve its former glory, Jinzhong people may still have a long way to go.
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Map Editor | F50BB