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Xin'an Ancient City

This article was originally published on October 18, 2010, in the Shenzhen Daily.
The information was accurate at that time, and may be outdated now. Use with caution.

This modern pailou on Shennan Road marks the entrance to the Nantou Ancient City
Next to Zhongshan Park in Nanshan lies one of Shenzhen's greatest treasures, the Xin'an Ancient City. It has been a government seat off and on since 331, with its heyday in the Ming Dynasty when it became Dongguan Castle.

The Main Hall of the Guan Di Temple at the south gate of the Ancient City
Guan Di and his two friends, Zhang Fei and Liu Bei, swear loyalty in a peach orchard
The castle's gate still stands at the intersection of Shennan with Nanxin Road, with a museum to the west (with, unfortunately, no English interpretation) and the Guan Di Temple to the east, dedicated to a hero of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Parts of the South Gate date back to 1394
Enter the South Gate (parts of which date back to 1394) and find a lively village of 30,000 souls in the space once occupied by about a thousand soldiers charged with protecting the areas now known as Dongguan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong.

An ancient house in the Ancient City
Like many of China's "hutong" (back-alley) areas, it is a conglomeration of ancient buildings and modern tile-sided shops and apartments. Highlights include the "Dongguan Meeting Hall" (on the main street), and, after turning right on the main east-west street, the "Baode Shrine" and the "Sir Xinguo Shrine."

The small East Gate was rebuilt in 1995
Out the East Gate (rebuilt in 1995), turn left and left again and you'll see a Catholic church which was originally a foundling hospital. (The West Gate is now lost under Nantou Middle School, and the North Gate was demolished back in 1575 for feng shui purposes.) Finally, from the Zhongshan Park side, you can seek out remnants of the old north wall.

The former foundling hospital is now a Catholic church
The gate to the Catholic Church
Two other articles describe areas near Xin'an Ancient City: "Hidden Xin'an Ancient City" and "A Gathering of Heroes."

Another article in the Shenzhen Daily: Nantou Ancient City, the root of Shenzhen’s history

GPS Info:
  • 22.54256, 113.92178


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