Posted by: Johan Normark | December 13, 2009

Ciqikou Old Town

My travel section on the blog has been slumbering for quite some time. As it happens to be almost one year ago when my wife and I went to China I thought about the old town of the mega metropolis Chongqing (重庆) where we spent last Boxing Day. Chongqing is a fast growing city and is now the largest inland city of China, located on the banks of the Yangtze River. Chongqing was originally part of the Sichuan province but since 1997 it is one of four municipalities in China and these are not part of provinces but are directly subordinated the national government. The other are Beijing, Shanghai and TianJin. Chongqing is the largest municipality.

Ciqikou (磁器口) means porcelain port but the place is also called Small Chongqing. It is the old harbor of Chongqing and here lived rich merchants. The town only covers 1.18 sqkm but it still maintains Ming and Qing architecture, of which there is almost nothing to see in central Chongqing whose skyline is dominated by skyscrapers. Ciqikou is today dominated by local shops, tea houses and local Sichuan street performances.

It was founded in 998 by emperor Zhenzong (998-1004) of the Song dynasty. It’s original name was Baiyan but during the Ming dynasty the name was changed to Longyinzhen and it became an important land and river port along the west bank of Jialing River. It was during the Qing dynasty that the town became famous for its porcelain making. It was during this time the town received its current name. There is a Buddhist temple overlooking the town but I never visited it.



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