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Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

BY :Sophia

UPDATED :March 22, 2019

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Since about Qin and Han dynasty, people in Guangzhou started digging wells. Numerous wells built with bamboo splits, stones, tiles or other materials, used to exist in Guangzhou, but only a few remain today.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

南汉砖井 Brick well from Nanhan dynasty

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

Let's check out some of the famous wells remaining in Guangzhou nowadays.

NO.1 千年越王井,古井中的元老 Yuewang Well

Yuewang Well is probably the oldest well remaining in Guangzhou, with a history of over 2,000 years. It is said to be digged by Zhao Mo, the founder of the Nanyue Kingdom, and therefore got the name "Yuewang (king of Nanyue)".

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

越王井 Yuewang Well

The well has a cover with 9 holes. So it is also called Jiuyan (nine-hole) Well.

Historical records shows that in Ming dynasty, the Yuewang Well was the No.1 well in the city as its water quality was the best. Some rulers and officials in Guangzhou even occupied the well as their own and forbade others to get water from it.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

The well still provided water for people living nearby in the 1950s. But now it retired and is under proper protection in the backyard of the Guangdong Science Museum near the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

No.2 五眼井:古井古寺,梵音袅袅

Wuyan (five-hole) Well

Located near the Hualin Buddhist Temple on Xiajiu Lu, the Wuyan Well, is said to be digged by Bodhidharma with his followers during his stay in Guangzhou. It is one of the nine famous wells in the city in ancient times.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

五眼井 Wuyan Well

The well got its name from its five-hole cover. It used to provide cool water in summer and warm water in winter. But with tap water taking over and old citizens moving away, the well fell into disuse.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

华林寺 Hualin Temple

No.3 杏花已无踪,文田诗留芳

Xinghua (apricot blossom) Well

Located now in the Guangzhou Diesel Engine Factory in Fangcun district, Xinghua (apricot blossom) Well got its name from a previous orchard of apricot trees in the area.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

杏花井碑记 The stone tablet for the well

The well was built in 1866 in Qing dynasty. In 1870, a stone tablet was erected besides it, inscribed with a poem written by Li Wentian, a third place winner in the imperial examination, who spoke highly of the water quality of the Xinghua Well.

The original Xinghua Well was buried in road construction earlier. But the locals rebuilt one in the factory, which is the one we have today.

No.4 大通烟雨井,消逝的羊城八景

Yanyu Well

Yanyu Well was previously located in the Datong Temple near today's Huadi River. The temple and the well was listed among the Eight Sights of Canton in both Song and Yuan dynasties.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

▲大通烟雨 (来源:羊城晚报 )

Datong Temple and its misty Yanyu Well

According to historical records, the Yanyu Well in Datong Temple would become misty before storms came, and in sunny days, the shadow of ships in the nearby Bai'er Tan section of the Pearl River can be seen from the well. The well is also recorded to be misty at dawn. This special view of the well turned the place into a popular tourist attraction.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

烟雨井 Yanyu Well

But later the Datong Temple was destroyed by Japanese invaders, and the well was buried until 2004. Now the well is protected in a residential area.

No.5 500口井群揭秘地下王宫

Ancient wells in the archaeological site of the Nanyue Palace

On the archaeological site of the Nanyue Kingdom Palace, over 500 sites of ancient wells were found. They were built in different periods, from Qin dynasty over 2,000 years ago to recent centuries.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

A well built with brick, from the Nanyue Kingdom.

A bunch of relics were also found from the wells, such as water pots, hooks and wooden barrels. The discovery of so many wells proves that the area has been densely populated since ancient times.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

Nowadays, with the rapid changes of lifestyles, wells are drifting away from urban life. But as a very important source of water in ancient times and a token of home and community, wells are an important part of people's emotional ties to their hometown.

当年我背井离乡,乡里人再也没喝上一口井水Ancient wells in GZ, a token of nostalgia

Wells may be retreating from modern life, but they become names of communities, such as the Shuangjing Community in Guangzhou, named after the Shuangjing Well it once have.

Source: WeChat(丝路云帆)

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