Located in the east of the Nanmen Avenue Gaoyou City 65 kilometers away from the Yangzhou City, Gaoyou Yucheng Post is listed as a World Cultural Heritage and National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit. Covering for a surface area of about 1.3 hectares, it was the largest ancient post station along the Grand Canal during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1912). Built in 1375 during the Ming Dynasty, it was the best-preserved ancient post building in China.
Development process of Yucheng Post
Gaoyou Yucheng Post was built in 1375 and developed on the basis of the Qinhuai Post in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Most of the buildings were rebuilt and expanded during the Qing Dynasty. In 1376, during the reign period of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, the Hanlin Bachelor, a government department, was ordered by the Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang to revise the vulgar postal names in this country, thus, Qinhuai Post was renamed as Yucheng Post.
The post in the Ming Dynasty has two main functions: one is to provide the lodges for the past envoys. All the officials could enjoy the accommodation, meals, boats and horses provided by the post for free, according to their ranks; the other one is for transiting the official documents. According to the laws of Ming Dynasty, a post station should be set every 5 kilometers on the main postal route and 10-15 kilometers on the secondary postal routes.
Main buildings of Yucheng Post
The original scale of the post station was very grand. There used to be the archway, screen wall, drum tower, halls, storeroom, gallery, Qinyou Mansion and Yicheng house in the postal station. Due to wars and floods, some of the buildings were destroyed unfortunately. In the southeast of the post station, there are ruins of stable for horses to drink water. Horses played a key role in running of a post station in ancient China. The Yucheng Post once had 20 stables which could provide space for nearly 130 horses.
Huanghua Hall, also known as the main hall, was built in the Ming Dynasty. It was the place for the government officials to give the orders as well as the center of the station. The main hall mainly displays the statistical tables of the station, horses, boats, duty schedule, division of responsibilities and postal laws. The whole hall vividly reproduces the original life of Yucheng Postal Stop in history where people can fully appreciate the connotation and meanings of the postal cultures in ancient China.
The Drum Tower is a two-story ancient building with a crisscross ridge. It is the commanding height of the post for vigil, guard and report. Standing on the drum tower, people are able to have the panorama and refreshing views of the whole attraction. A few fishing boats sail on the glistening rivers and lakes. The crops are lush and the green fields are boundless. The streets are busy, endless day and night.
Such a large-scale ancient postal station in China is very rare, which has important scientific, artistic, historical and cultural values for the study of ancient postal culture, transportation in history and water conservancy features in the ancient times.