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Impressions of Wenzhou: People of excellence, land of wisdom

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    18:10, September 04, 2020

1. Cultural gem on the coastline

Wang Haolou (Overlooking ocean hall), a historical building that has 1500 years of history, has witnessed the swift development of Wenzhou from a small village into a metropolitan city. (People’s Daily Online/Kou Jie)

Located in the mountainous area of Zhejiang Province, Wenzhou was once a prosperous foreign treaty port, and remains well-preserved today. For most of its history, it has been geographically isolated, resulting in a local culture and language that are quite distinct from the rest of China.

The geographic establishment and development of the city of Wenzhou was overseen by Guo Pu, the father of China’s fengshui system of philosophy, during the Jin Dynasty (266 to 420 AD). Combining fengshui theories and elements of Chinese constellation systems including the 28 Mansions and Five Elements, the local people developed and managed architecture and geography holistically, harnessing metaphorical “invisible forces” that bring the universe, earth and humanity together.

As the only city in the world designed by the pioneer of fengshui, the harmonious relationship between nature and man have led to countless legends in the city. It is said that during the founding of Wenzhou, a white deer was seen with a flower in its mouth, an auspicious sign that gave Wenzhou the nickname “Deer city.” Today, the White Deer theatre located in Wenzhou’s downtown area is the most popular theatre among locals.

With its 1,682-year-long history and rich cultural background, Wenzhou is a land of wisdom that has fostered outstanding artists, scientists and scholars who have had a major influence on China’s philosophy, literature and science. It is the origin of China’s landscape poetry, whose founder Xie Lingyun created countless masterpieces that still resonate with Chinese even after a millennium. It is also the birthplace of modern mathematics in China - the man who pioneered the deciphering of Oracle Bone Script, Sun Yirang, founded China’s first ever mathematics academy in Wenzhou.

Today, Wenzhou people continue to relive their former glories through their remarkable business achievements, connecting China and the world through economic ties and business cooperation. The city has evolved into an economic and tech hub, showcasing China’s development since its Opening Up.


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(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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