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Lake on the mountain  Royal cemetery of Ming Dynasty
Lake on the mountain   Royal cemetery of Ming Dynasty

General Information
Called Shandao and governed by the Wu State, Xuyi was one of China’s early urban town, established in 2,200 years ago in the Spring and Autumn Period. Later, the ancient town had multiple name and jurisdiction breaks until it became a county under the jurisdiction of Huai’an Prefecture City in 2001.

About 300 years ago (1680 A.D.), an unleashed flood from Huaihe River washed away the ancient Sizhou, a prefecture ancient city established in the Sui Dynasty (581-618 A.D.), duo to a course change of the Yellow River, forcing its water into Huaihe River and together the water from two rivers pooled up into the Lake of Hongze. Sizhou, the ancient transportation hub with booming economy for 900 years, was buried in the flooding of the Hongze Lake. Called it the China’ Pompei, an ancient Italian town destroyed by a volcanic eruption from the Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., archaeologists now believe the town lies mostly underneath the soil of Xuyi’s suburb.

Geography, Resources and Climate
Xuyi borders Huai’an metropolis in its south, Jinhu County and Tianchang City of Anhui Province in its east, and Lai’an and Mingguan cities in its south and west. In its southwest, there is a hilly area with the elevation of 220 m but a plain is on its northeast. The Hongze Lake is on the northern portion of the county.

Principal nature resources include minerals of attapulgite clay, lime, crude oil, granite, spring water and medical herbs. As a huge mineral of attapulgite clay is mined in its soil, this resource has become a major business for the county.

The county has a subtropical monsoon climate with humid changeable wind and the average temperature is 14-16°C, with the hottest 39°C lasting less than five days in July and the coldest -12°C lasting within a week in January. The raining season is from the middle of June to July and the annual precipitation is around 1,000 mm. There are around 220 days of free-frost.

Administration and Jurisdiction
The county is a county in Jiangsu under the jurisdiction of Huai’an City. It is comprised of 19 towns and townships.

Area and Population
Xuyi is the largest county jurisdiction in term of its land mass, occupying a land of 2,483 square kilometres. It has a population of around 750,000.

Economy, Industry and Environment
The county was a traditional farming land in the past and now the agricultural income still occupies one fourth of its revenue. As its abundance of water resource, aquatic production is a major sector of its agriculture.

The county’s industrial sectors include mechanicals, electrics, attapulgite clay purification, food manufacture, etc.

The county’s environment is well under protection. Forest coves one fourth of the county land and 60% for municipal area. The city has spent significant funds to protect its environment from pollutants flowing down along the Huaihe River.

Transportation and Tourism
Ninhui (Nanjing-Huai’an) and Ninsuxu (Nanjing-Suqian-Xuzhou) expressways run through the county from south to north, reaching Nanjing, the provincial capital, within 1 hour by driving, 2 hours for other major cities. Other highways connect all towns and neighbourhood. Huaihe River flows through the county, 37 km in the county’s territory, linking other 10 rivers and canals.

Xuyi is best known for its tourist destinations. The Mingzhuling, or Ancestor Cemetery of royal family of the Ming Dynasty, is the cemetery where the first and founder emperor of the Ming Dynasty, buried his grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. The cemetery started its construction in 1385 A.D., taking 28 years to finish. The cemetery was flooded to the bottom of the Huaihe River when the Yellow River broke its levees in 1680 A.D. It was rediscovered in 1963 and is now listed under the national protection.

Tieshan Temple National Forest Park is 45 away from the downtown of the county. Tieshan, or Iron Mountain in Chinese, includes 71 square kilometres of hilly area and is a heaven for wild animals, birds and plant species. To avoid the light contamination, the well-know Nanjing Zijinshan Observatory (Purple Mountain Observatory) has relocated here on the mountain.

The county is the place where relics from the Neolithic have been identified in more than 60 locations on the county’s territory. A comet orbit and motion diagraph, unearthed from an old town of Xuyi in August 1974, is considered originated from the Han Dynasty, recording the orbit and motion of a comet witnessed in the fifth year of the Hanyuan Emperor (44 B.C.). In 1982, a golden-silver kettle, engraved with 96 snacks and 576 plum flowers, was uncovered and the further archaeological finding confirmed it was manufactured in the Qi State, tracking back to 316 A.D.

Xuyi has well instituted compulsory primary education system. The secondary schools including high schools achieves significant graduate rate. No higher learning institution is available in the county.

Culture and Folklore
The county sponsors a national festival to advertise its aquatic product, red swamp crayfish, and the seventh of the festival was celebrated in June 18-21, 2007. The original habitant for the crayfish species is the North America and it was introduced into China in 1930s. The festival was once honoured as one of the ten best diverse festivals celebrated in China in 2006.

Called it the China’ Pompei, the ancient Sizhou town may be uncovered in the near future. With a history of 900 years, the spectacular prefecture port city, established in the Ming Dynasty, was buried by flooding 300 years ago, left historicists and archaeologists in mystery. According to the archaeological evidences, the buried ancient city may mostly under the soil of suburbs of the Xuyi county. A comprehensive plan is underway to excavate the city for research and tourism.

Notable Personage
In history, there were many famous historical figure were born or lived on this land and they include Cheng Yin of the Han dynasty.

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