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Ancient Town of Dali

The 1,000-year-old town of Dali is known as a shining pearl inlaid in the southwestern highland. The town is located between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake.A poet praised the ancient town in a verse, “Pavilions and towers appear above the cloud and the town spreads between the mountain and the lake.”

The ancient town of Dali was originally called Yangjumie Town. It was built by the ancestors of the Bai ethnic group. In779,Yi Muxun, the sixth king of Nanzhao State, moved his capital from Taiye Town to the ancient town of Dali. He ordered the construction of the new capital by imitating the layout of Chang’an, then the capital of the Tang Dynasty in the Central Plains. The outer city has six streets and three markets and was inhabited by merchants from various places. The square inner city in the middly is called Yeyu City. It is four li in circumference and was where the royal family and officials lived. More structures were added later by kings of Nanzhao and Dali states .from 823 to 859 ,in the reign of Quan Youfeng, the tenth king of Nanzhao State,Wuhua Tower was constructed west of the ancient Dali town, The magnificent tower has a circumference of five li and can accommodate as many as 10,000 people. Later,Qianxun Pagoda was erected at the Chong sheng Temple in the northwest .By the time of Dali State, construction of the other two pagodas at the temple was completed. After the founding of Dali State,Yeyu City was renamed Dali and continued to be the capital ,which is now known as the ancient town of Dali.

For 600 years, during Nanzhao and Dali state, Dali was the political,economic, and cultural center in Yunnan Province, According to a textual research by an American scholar ,Dali held 13th place among the 14 mayor capital cities in the world in the year 1,000. The ancient town has survived the change of dynasties. It’s two city towers that face each other in the south and north; the time honored three pagodas; the residence of Du Wenxiu.commander of a peasant uprising during the Qing Dynasty (1644--1911),that was known as the “Forbidden City”; and the checkerboard-like anyout of the nine streets and 18 lanes show the charm of Dali as an ancient capital city. 

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