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Jingdezhen, a vibrant city full of china
( blog.travelpod.com )
Jingdezhen city, long hailed as the 'Capital of Porcelain’ here in China.
This world renowned porcelain metropolis can be found around seventy five miles north of Nanchang city and has a huge history along with being listed as one of the twenty four great cities of historical and cultural interest by the state council of China. It covers an area of 3,031 square miles, and has a population of 611,000. It has a porcelain making history of over one thousand seven hundred years, which has crafted its rich cultural tradition of ceramics, rare ceramic relics, superb ceramic craftsmanship, unique ceramic customs and graceful performances using musical instruments made from (you guess it) ceramics into an awesome tourist mecca.
Not only that, the city is surrounded by beautiful rural scenery.
The city has spent the last twenty years creating and building is tourism market and now comes complete with excellent yet very affordable accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, shopping and entertainment. There are more than enough sites to keep you here for many days that include the Kaolin Mountain (the birthplace of Kaolin), the Dragon Pearl Pavilion, the Imperial Ceramic Kiln site of Ming and Qing Dynasties; the Guyao ceramic work shop (a living museum demonstrating the complete traditional porcelain making process), the Museum of Ceramics History (a collective reservation of folk architectural complexes of Ming and Qing Dynasties), the Ceramics Museum (that houses some of Jingdezhen’s ceramic masterpieces from the past five dynasties) along with an Archaeological Institute where you will find the latest archaeological findings displayed.
I am no porcelain buff but Jingdezhen has always been one of those cities I have always wanted to visit. Seriously, when you think of China many things come to mind and one of those things is its faultless porcelain.
The people who read my blog know how much I love the Lonely Planet guides and that I am in now way one of ‘those’ travelers who has it in their pack yet at its first mention will always say, I hate the Lonely Planet it’s always wrong etc (but silently say 'but I wouldn’t travel without it). I usually find it faultless mainly as I am not new to travel and don’t rely on it for food and accommodation. In fact I think I have only eaten and stayed in several of those listed in it. But this time I would have to totally disagree with its write up of this city when it tells people that it is strictly for Chinese porcelain buffs only.
In no way is this city strictly for Chinese porcelain buffs. People come to China to see the real China and as explained above, aren’t ceramics ‘the real China?’
Although it is overlooked by tall brick chimneys and disfigured by swathes of squalor and incessant demolition it is in fact one of my favourite cities for this years 2009 Summer Beers N Noodles Adventure. It is more than overloaded with tasty street eats, most of which can be found in its beautiful vibrant mall along Zhongshan Lu and in little stores found on its main road Zhushan Lu. After the sun goes down its streets are packed with happy locals all trying to catch the night’s cool breeze and who are more than willing to sit and chat to the funny foreigner.
The people really are so happy and friendly and they are so proud of their city and its history.
Jingdezhen is located only hours from many of Jiangxi province's main attractions which include Huangshan, Lushan, Sanqingshan, Jiuhuashan mountains and Qiandao and Boyang lakes. Given time it really could be a great tourist hub as its transport network can easily get you to and from any of these locations. At this point of time its prices are well below many of the smaller cities that surround it. It is also very green and its main streets are full of modern stores where you can purchase almost anything. You can even find Wal-Mart, KFC, Watsons etc which more than made me happy as I then had an opportunity to stock up on deodorant that doesn’t give me headaches and makes me sneeze, new travel tops (as my old ones had slowly become full of small holes from the last several years summer adventures) and also three in one coffee that doesn’t contain coffee creamer.
For those who can’t drink milk like me, you have to love Maxwell House 3 in 1.
The area between Zhongshan Lu and the river is filled with a maze of tight alleyways where nothing seems to have changed much over the past many decades. Here you will find small local eateries offering dumplings, noodles and wok up pick and points just as they have for eons by elderly folk fanning themselves from the city heat. The one other thing I did notice which made me ask myself the following question; Are there more absolutely stunning long legged tiny denim short wearing girls per square meter here in Jingdezhen than anywhere else in China?
Anyhow, back to porcelain. Porcelain was first made there during the Han dynasty (306 BC to 330 AD).
Since the Tang Dynasty, the white glazed china produced in Jingdezhen had earned the name ‘artificial jade ware.’ In the Northern Song Dynasty, officials were assigned by the emperor to the town to supervise the manufacturing of porcelain for the royal families and ‘Jingde China’ began to make its fame abroad. In the following centuries, Jingde China was sold to many countries across the world. Since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, a major pottery and china industry has developed.
So I will leave you now with a quote from the LP. With more China here than the rest of China put together, travelers can rapidly feel glazed!