From the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC) to the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD), 62 emperors ruled China from Qin Xianyang and Han Chang’an. The China Daily reported that there are about 500 burial mounds where the remains of emperors and aristocrats rest.
The largest tombs mark the resting place of Emperors Qin Shi Huangdi (259 – 210 BC), Tang Gaozong (628 – 683 AD), and his wife Empress Tang Wu Zetian (624 – 705 AD).
When I mentioned Neville Gishford’s documentary, China’s Most Honourable City, in Part 2, Chang’an was the capital of the Tang Dynasty with a population of over a million — six times the size of ancient Rome.
The Daming Palace, where the Tang Emperors ruled China, was 800 years older and nearly five times larger than Beijing’s Forbidden City, and this huge palace was built in one year.
However, it wasn’t the Daming Palace that made Chang’an powerful. Long before Manhattan, Hong Kong, Paris and Dubai, Chang’an was where the world came to shop.
Over a thousand years ago, the wealth of the West poured into China and arrived at Chang’an over the Silk Road.
But wealth wasn’t the only thing China gained. Major religions also arrived in China at this time.
Islam was barely a century old when Silk Road traders brought this religion to Chang’an. In another post, A Road to the Hajj from China, I wrote, “The ancient city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province is home to about 60,000 ethnic Chinese Muslims.”
Chang’an and Xi’an have a Muslim history going back thirteen hundred years when Islam was first introduced to China in 650 AD.
In fact, the oldest mosque in China was built in 685-762 AD in Chang’an during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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