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Home History and Culture Ancient Capitals of China (Anyang)
Ancient Capitals of China (Anyang)
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Anyang (ān yáng 安阳) was designated as a capital as early as the 14th century BC, when the 20th king of the Shang Dynasty (shāng cháo 商朝), Pangeng (pán gēng 盘庚), moved the capital to Yin (yīn 殷), today’s Xiaotun village (xiǎo tún cūn 小屯村), Anyang City (ān yáng shì 安阳市), Henan province (hé nán shěng 河南省).

The rulers of the Shang Dynasty organized an immense construction there, and finally built Yin into a great capital in ancient China. After that, some other kingdoms in the Central Plains (comprising the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River) also chose Anyang as the capital as well, but no further accomplishment with regard to city construction was made. This ancient city was reduced to ruins by countless wars. After the Song Dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝), cultural and architectural relics of the Yin times were discovered from time to time, especially in several large-scale excavations after the founding of People’s Republic of China.

 Gradually the scale3 and layout of the ancient city have become more and more clear. Today the architecture ruins of the city are called “Yinxu” (yīn xū 殷墟)

Lying about one kilometer away from Anyang, the Shang Synasty Ruins(Yinxu) spread to both banks of the Huanhe River. In latitudinal direction, the longest distance of the ruins is about 10Km, while in longitudinal direction, the longest distance is about 5Km. It has an area of more than 24 square kilometers, and in this area, more than 50 palace ruins have been found.

Viewed from the extant Yinxu ruins, this ancient city demonstrated a relatively high level in constructing city architecture. The layout of the palaces, folk houses, workshops and graveyards was fairly mature. The places are grand and luxurious. The area of the largest palace is up to 400 m2, and the base earth is up to 2m thick. All these indicate that Yinxu was a mature ancient capital with an integrated plan, clear layout and high level of architectural skills in that period.

Today, Anyang has become an important city in Henan province. Every year it attracts many scholars and experts for archaeological research, and large number of tourists.







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