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Visiting an old Mongol battle site in Chongqing - Diaoyucheng

Popularity 1Viewed 2243 times 2014-4-29 11:51 |Personal category:Chongqing life|System category:News

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Last Friday I went with my friends Charlie, Lucy and Sydney to a place called Diaoyucheng
(
钓鱼城) near the small city of Hechuan (合川), which is in the north-west of Chongqing province. It's famous for being the site of several intense battles fought between Mongol and Chinese forces in the thirteenth century.

We took the train from Chongqing North Station (重庆北站) which was quick as we were on the high-speed line from Chongqing to Chengdu, it took less than half an hour. Hechuan is a plain-looking place that resembles other small cities that cluster around Chongqing city, like Beibei (北倍)and Fuling (涪陵). We took a bus from the train station into town in search of lunch. We found a clean restaurant with cheerful staff and a simple menu that fitted the bill. Our twice-cooked pork (回锅肉), shredded pork with green pepper (青椒肉丝), fresh greens and egg-fried rice all slid down nicely.

After lunch we took two buses to get to Diaoyucheng and walked a short distance to reach the entrance of the tourist site. Diaoyucheng is a natural fortress as it is surrounded by water on three sides. It's also the highest point for miles around, offering views over all the surrounding area – you'd be able to see any marauding Mongols coming in enough time to sound the alarm and get ready for battle. The more we explored the hilltop, the more happy I became with the things that we found: gates, walls, models of siege engines and large statues of Buddha. The site was quite quiet and we wandered around peacefully, relishing the lack of man-made noise: no cars or construction work, just birds and insects. Charlie got into the martial spirit by fashioning a bow and arrow from sticks and creepers he found on the ground, the design he improved upon throughout the afternoon.

I studied the Mongols in my final year of university and loved learning about this warlike people who conquered half the globe in a very short period of time. They left no personal accounts of what they did, as they were not literate. Our knowledge of them comes from European, Chinese and Persian sources. At university I mainly studied the European impressions of the Mongols, chronicles that recorded the terror that the Mongols unleashed on Europe and the accounts of the bold missionaries who travelled into the unknown to attempt to convert these people to Christianity. This battle site is significant as it was where Mengge Khan died in 1259. At the same time as they were attacking the Chinese, Mongol armies were besieging Europe, having swept through Russia and Eastern Europe. The Mongols were on the verge of conquering Hungary and continuing their charge into the rest of Europe, but the death of Mengge meant that all Mongol forces were recalled for the election of the new great khan. It was decided by this new khan Kublai that China was a more important prize than Europe and deserved the attacking efforts of all Mongol forces. They were rewarded and Mongols ruled China as the Yuan dynasty for about a hundred years.

When Chongqing became the temporary capital of China in the 1940s during the war against Japan, Diaoyucheng became a military training camp for Nationalist (国民党) forces. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek left inscriptions on stones at the site, as did other wartime leaders.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day out with my friends and I'm very glad that I got to reconnect with the history that I studied at university and feel a sense of it as I stood on the walls of the city and tried to imagine the hordes of Mongols attacking the fortress. It was also a great chance to get out of the city and breath some fresh air.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report 财神 2014-4-29 18:53
once i got opportunity to wear a mongol emperors ancient dress. i come to know something about mongol, thanks for sharing. once i got opportunity to wear a mongol emperors ancient dress. i come to know something about mongol, thanks for sharing.  

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