At the World Heritage Conference in Germany, UNESCO will decide whether to add China’s Tusi site ruins to its World Heritage List. The existing Tusi relics are mainly located in the multi-ethnic southwest mountainous areas in China.
16 kilometers drive away from downtown Zunyi, there is a place of legends named Longyan mountain.
At the top of the mountain is Hailongtun, a weathered ancient fortress that has survived through the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties.
The top of the fort is wide and flat, with abundant water and broad vantage. Because of the complex and varied topography, the relatively independent areas were naturally formed. And it strengthened the defense system and reinforced the military functions.
Hailongtun was build in 1257 during the Southern Song Dynasty. Yang Wen, the 15th generation Tusi leader, constructed the new city to resist the Mongolian Army.
Then Yang Yinglong, the 30th generation Tusi leader, expanded Hailongtun to include military barracks and a detached palace.
In 1600, the imperial court launched a campaign to quash a Tusi rebellion. All the timber-framed buildings were reduced to ash and the ruins are all that was left.
Numerous explorers have come here for the mystery. He Ye is one of them, he says he has dedicated 13 years in Hailongtun to do archaeological works, study its history and protect the heritage. He has also traveled to more than 200 existing Tusi relics in southwest China.
“Hailongtun architecture is representative of the Tusi system, which was designed to appoint the national minority headmen in multi-ethnic regions during the 13th to early 20th centuries. The system realized the balance of interests and common development. Ruling with the tradition that political power came from providing education, governing the country and respecting customs, Hailongtun witnessed Tusi wisdom. It was a form of central government in China’s feudal society to safeguard the unity of the nation and the frontier minority,” said He Ye, Zunyi Administration of Cultural Heritage.
Hailongtun embodies cultural variety and the pursuit of national survival.
Although the wooden construction was reduced to ashes in the war, its historical and cultural value leaves much still for thought and exploration.