Gateway to Maritime Silk Road


Chaozhou's role in ancient Maritime Silk Road

BY :Zhou Yuan 丝路云帆

UPDATED :September 11, 2018


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Chaozhou city is located in the easternmost part of the Guangdong Province, north to the coastal Shantou City. It is situated north of the delta of the Han River, which flows throughout the city.

Chaozhou is the transfer station of the ancient Maritime Silk Road beteween Guangdong and Fujian. Surrounded by mountains and the ocean, Chaozhou boasts natural harbors and many other good geographical advantages, which makes it an important dot of the Maritime Silk Road.

As one of the important ports of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, Chaozhou has been active in marine trade with foreign countries since Sui Dynasty.

广济桥 Guangji bridge

According to historical records, Chaozhou was an advantageous port for foreign trade becasue it lied between Guangzhou and Quanzhou which were the largest ports in Tang Dynasty. And a great many porcelain wares, along with other goods, were exported abroad from Chaozhou.

Rich connections with the outside world left Chaozhou a variety of marks of the ancient Maritime Silk Road. For instance, Zhelin port was the earliest foreign port in Chaozhou. Ships loaded with cargos from Zhelin, sailed north to Tianjing or Shanghai, and south to Luzon in the Philippines and Malaysia.

柘林港古渡口遗址 The historical site of Zhelin ancient port

Porcelain of Chaozhou should not be ignored. Early in 676, Chaozhou had began to fire porcelain, and the city bloomed during the Northern Song Dynasty. Bijiashan kiln site, known as Baiyaocun (Hundreds of kilns), was the main porcelain- producing area at that time.

笔架山潮州窑遗址 Chaozhou kiln site

Chaozhou was also called as the capital of porcelain, and its products were largely sold to East Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia.

潮州瓷 Porcelain of Chaozhou

Chaozhou is well-known as a hometown for overseas Chinese. Chaozhou merchants had started to immigrate abroad via sea routes to earn a living since ancient times. There they developed unique cultures with distinctive characteristics of Chaozhou, which have contributed to the development and expansion of the ancient Maritime Silk Road.

潮州龙湖古寨 Longhu ancient town of Chaozhou

As a famous cultural city with a long history, Chaozhou boasts a lot of legacies of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, such as Guangji Bridge, and Longhu ancient town.

This year on April 3, Chaozhou joined China's City Alliance for the Preservation and World Heritage Nomination of Maritime Silk Road Historical Sites.

Source: WeChat(丝路云帆)