Historical Jinggang restores itself to former glory

Editor:Sharon Lee
Updated:2016-12-05 09:35:36

  The once forgotten ancient town of Jinggang in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, has been rejuvenated through tourism since its development plan was completed in 2008.

  The town is still expecting more upgrades after the completion of a three-year action plan for 2016-18 to develop the region in the northern section of Changsha's Xiangjiang River area.

  Jinggang is located on the west bank of the Xiangjiang River. Built on the fertilized soil of the river delta, the town has been a home for human civilization since the Neolithic Era.

  It also served as an important military stronghold back in ancient times.

  Benefiting from the waterway and productive land, Jinggang used to be one of the three most prosperous towns, and one of four major rice markets, in Central China's Hunan province.

  The decline of waterway transportation meant an end to the prosperous age. After business declined, the young generation moved to bigger cities for more opportunities, leaving the once flourishing town of Jinggang a largely forgotten and empty place.

  In 2008, the local government decided to revive the town by harnessing its rich tourism potential while carefully protecting its heritage.

  The decayed historical pawnshops, blacksmiths and pharmacies were refurbished to resemble their appearance hundreds of years ago. Officers also encouraged residents to engage in the tourism business by selling local snacks and folk handicrafts.

  The efforts soon paid off. The town of Jinggang was rated as one of the Famous Historical and Cultural Cities of China in 2009, and a national 4A tourism region in 2011. The town has again flourished, meaning more profits for local residents.

  "In the peak season I can sell 200 to 300 bowls of rice wine at five yuan ($0.73) each, more than 1,000 yuan a day," said Dai Yinfang, a local rice wine brewery shop owner.

  Jiang Tongwan, an embroidery shop owner, has witnessed the evolution of Jinggang's comeback.

  He rented a shop for 1,000 yuan monthly in 2013, and says business has been better and better each year. Now the shop brings in more than 200,000 yuan in annual revenue.

  To meet the demands of the soaring volume of tourists, Jinggang town has created a number of new tourism attractions and events, such as a folk culture theater featuring ancient battles, a food festival and outdoor traditional performances.

  In 2015, Jinggang attracted 1.6 million visitors. This year has seen a dramatic increase. During the golden week of the national holiday alone, the town hosted more than 275,100 tourists.