The Discovery of Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City and Why It Is So Important
Located in the Yangtze River Basin on the south-eastern coast of the country, Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City was the centre of power and belief of an early regional state in the Circum-Taihu Lake Area. It reveals an early regional state with rice-cultivating agriculture as its economic base, and social differentiation and a unified belief system, which existed in the Late Neolithic period in China.
This 5,300-year-old city was first discovered by Mr. Shi Xingeng in 1936, and then became known to the world after many years of archaeological excavations, and now is a key artifacts protection site in China. As a prehistoric large-scale settlement site in East Asia with significant representation in the history of the development of human civilization, Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City represents the highest achievement of rice agriculture in the origin stage of Chinese civilization, and as a representative of Liangzhu culture, it has a wide and far-reaching impact on the development of Chinese civilization in the next five thousand years.
The Peripheral Water Conservancy System with complex functions and socially-graded cemeteries (including an altar) , and the excavated objects represented by series of jade artefacts symbolizing the belief system illustrates the transition from small-scale Neolithic societies to a large integrated political unit with hierarchy, rituals and crafts, which authentically and credibly demonstrate the degree of development of the rice-cultivating civilization in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River in the Neolithic period and provide a panorama of Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City as an early regional urban civilization.
Jade Relics - the Highlight of Liangzhu Culture
As an important part of Chinese civilization, Liangzhu culture, especially the Jade Culture of Liangzhu, had a wide influence on the culture of the contemporaries and the later Longshan (龙山) period, and its distribution covered most of China.
Jade Cong (玉琮) is a masterpiece of Liangzhu jade culture. The carving skills and materials of Jade Cong fully reflect the wisdom of the Liangzhu people and have a profound impact on the development of Chinese jade culture in the future.
Jade Yue (玉钺) is a symbol of Liangzhu's military power. Jade Yue, together with Jade Cong and Jade Bi (玉璧) , forms the core of the jade system, and is a symbol of status for the privileged class.
God with Animal’s Face (神人兽面纹) is the main ornament on the jade of Liangzhu, which is widely engraved on various jade, and the complete image is composed of two parts, the facial features of the god and the animal, and the single image is only about 3 cm high and about 4 cm wide, which has high technical requirements for the carver.
Attractions in Liangzhu Ancient City Site
Liangzhu Ancient City Site, which is more than 2.9 million square meters, is the core site of Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City with the most densely distributed, richest variety, highest grade, largest scale and most complex structure in Liangzhu culture.
Mojiaoshan (莫角山) Palace
Mojiaoshan is a must-visit destination in Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City. As the central area of Liangzhu Ancient City Site, Mojiaoshan Terrace is the location of the palace area of Liangzhu Ancient City. Liangzhu Palace Area is located in the central high platform area, and the elaborate design highlights its unique status.
There are three separate earthen platforms built on the central high platform, namely Large-scale Mojiaoshan, Small-scale Mojiaoshan and Mount Turtle, and between the three earthen platforms, there is a 70,000-square-meter Sand Square.
Located in the core area of Liangzhu Ancient City Site, Large-scale Mojiaoshan is a palace area containing a ceremonial square and several large building foundations. It is the largest of the three earthen platforms in the Mojiaoshan Terrace, with the highest point reaching 16.5 meters, far exceeding the wall height of the city wall. Standing on the platform of Large-scale Mojiaoshan, the mountains around Liangzhu Ancient City Site are clearly visible.
Small-scale Mojiaoshan is the smallest earthen platform on the Mojiaoshan Terrace, about 90 meters long, 40 meters wide and 6 meters high, where a model of the building column restored according to the arrangement of pillar holes.
Fanshan (反山) Mausoleum
Fanshan is an artificially built rectangular earthen platform, about 6 meters high and covering an area of about 10,000 square meters. It is just separated from the Mojiaoshan Palace on the west side by only one river. Fanshan Mausoleum is the highest-level cemetery in Liangzhu Ancient City Site.
Tomb No. 12
So far, a total of 11 tombs have been excavated from the Fanshan Mausoleum, and more than 1,200 exquisite funerary objects such as jade, stone, pottery, ivory, lacquerware, etc. have been unearthed, of which more than 90% are precious jade. Tomb No. 12 in the center of the cemetery is the highest level tomb in Fanshan Mausoleum, with 658 funerary objects, including 647 pieces of jade, and the national treasures King Jade Cong and King Jade Yue symbolizing the supreme theocracy and kingship were unearthed here, proving the honored status and supreme power of the tomb owner.
The Fanshan Exhibition Hall
The Fanshan Exhibition Hall in Liangzhu Ancient City Site displays various excavated artifacts, which can provide a deeper view about the excavation process of the site. As a civilization linked by theocracy, the Liangzhu Civilization is more similar to the Egyptian Civilization. The Fanshan Exhibition Hall has opened a special area to introduce God with Animal’s Face , which is used as a symbol of power and faith, reflecting the supremacy of theocracy and the close combination of theocracy and kingship in Liangzhu period.
Zhongjiagang is the handicraft workshop exhibition area, through imitation metal figure sculptures to show the process of handicraft and labor of Liangzhu people up close, reproducing the busy scene of the handicraft workshop area of Liangzhu Ancient City 5,300 years ago.
The large-scale handicraft workshop remains show that there are complex functional divisions and specialized social division of labor in Liangzhu Ancient City, of which jade processing accounts for a large proportion, reflecting the organization and management ability of Liangzhu society for high-end handicrafts such as jade making.
City Wall and City Gate
Built on the swampy wetland, Liangzhu Ancient City is like the "Venice of the East", with a dense river network and a developed water system, and canoes and bamboo rafts are the main means of transportation for Liangzhu people. A total of eight Water Gate and one Land Gate were found in Liangzhu Ancient City Site, and the inner and outer cities of Liangzhu were connected by eight Water Gate, and each wall had two Water Gate.
Zhishan (雉山) Observation Deck
Located in the northeast corner of Liangzhu Ancient City Site, Zhishan at an altitude of 30 meters is an important part of the city wall, connecting the East City Wall with the North City Wall. Climb to the Zhishan Observation Deck, you can overlook the entire Liangzhu Ancient City Site, and the beautiful scenery of surrounding mountains can be seen unobstructed.
Located in the southwest corner of the city wall, Fengshan (凤山) is another mountain corresponding to Zhishan, and together with Zhishan, it forms the two highlands of Liangzhu Ancient City Site. Fengshan has tea gardens and rice fields, and experiential activities such as tea picking and rice cutting are held at certain times.
Daguanshan (大观山) Service Area
Daguanshan is a comprehensive service area, located in the center of Liangzhu Ancient City Site, with excellent ecological environment, beautiful scenery and pleasant climate, is a perfect summer resort, and at the same time provides tourists with rest, consultation, complaints, catering, tea tasting and other services. There is a Deer Park next to Daguanshan, where you can see sika deer.
Recommended Route to Visit Liangzhu Ancient City Site
Sightseeing Buses Route
East Gate→ East City Wall→ Zhishan Observation Deck→ Mojiaoshan Palace→ Fanshan Mausoleum→ West City Wall → West Gate
Deer Park Sightseeing Route
East Gate→ Zhongjiagang→ Daguanshan Service Area→ Deer Park→ Chizhong Temple (池中寺) Granary→ West Gate
Cycling Sightseeing Route
East Gate→ East City Wall→ Zhishan Observation Deck→ Fanshan Mausoleum→ Chizhong Temple Granary→ Land Gate→ Zhongjiagang
Tips: Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City covers an area of about 3 million square meters, and you need to spend about half a day experiencing the 5,300-year-old civilization. If you want to learn more about Liangzhu’s culture and history, you can also visit the nearby Liangzhu Museum, which is only 5 kilometers from Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City.
Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City Travel Tips
Opening Hours: Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City is open from 9:00-17:00 and admission is closed after 16:00.
Guide Service: Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City provides paid English Guide Service for visitors.
Sightseeing Buses: Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City provides visitors with sightseeing buses and visitors can get off at each station to visit.
Weather Tips: There is less shade on the roads in Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, and sun protection measures need to be taken in hot weather, such as umbrella, sunglasses, hat, water, etc.
How to Get to Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City
Location and Transportation
Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City is located in 200 meters north of the intersection of Fengdu Road and National Highway 104, Yuhang District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. (浙江省杭州市余杭区凤都路与104国道交叉口北200米)
Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City is located in the northwest of Hangzhou, only 30 kilometers from downtown Hangzhou (about 40-60 minutes’ drive) and about 60 kilometers away from Hangzhou Xiaoshan (萧山) Airport (about 60-90 minutes’ drive) . Visitors can also choose to take public transportation to arrive at Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City.
Travel with China Discovery
As Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City is not convenient in public transportation, it is highly recommended to find a reliable travel agency to help with the transfer. Actually, if you book a private tour package with us, the sightseeing, dining, accommodation and transfer will all be covered. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details!
How to Plan a Hangzhou Tour with Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City
Things to Do in Hangzhou: West Lake, Lingyin Temple, Longjing tea Plantation, Hefang Street, Xixi National Wetland Park, China National Tea Museum, China National Silk Museum…
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Usually, visitors spend 2 days around enjoying a classic Hangzhou tour. On the first day, you can deeply experience the local cultural and natural scenery in Hangzhou, including the amazing West Lake , Lingyin Temple , Longjing Tea Plantations , etc. On the second day, you will embark on a journey of 5,300 years of exploration of Chinese civilization.
If you don't want to be too troublesome and want to experience the culture of Liangzhu in depth, we strongly recommend considering our all-inclusive tour packages . We can customize a Hangzhou tour including Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City according to your needs. You just need to focus on sightseeing. Contact us to customize a worry-free tour package now!
Also, you can spend 1 day to take a side trip to the nearby water towns like Wuzhen and Xitang in Jiaxing, 2~3 days to Putuoshan - one of the four sacred Buddhist Mountains in China, or 1 day to the popular Nanxun Old Town in Huzhou. Check more about Zhejiang Tours >>
Besides, compared with just travelling Hangzhou, most of the visitors prefer to travel the metropolis Shanghai, Suzhou Gardens and Hangzhou Lakes in One Go! Such an amazing tour will take 5~6 days.
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