Zigong

Salt and Dinosaurs were witnesses to ancient history

The city of Zigong is located in the south-eastern part of the Sichuan Province in the Sichuan Basin at an altitude of 305 metres above sea level. For centuries Zigong was has been an important and wealthy town because of its huge underground salt wells. The history of salt extraction goes back as far as the Eastern Han Dynasty, during the reign of Zhangdi. The Shenhai well is an old salt well that is still producing salt the same way they did 100 years ago can be visited. In 1835 Shenhai well was the first well in the world that reached a depth of over 1000 metres. Another interesting site to visit is the Salt Industry History Museum of Zigong.

The Zigong Salt Industry History Museum is located in a guild hall that was originally built in 1736 by salt merchants from Shaanxi Province. It hosts an interesting exhibit with both Chinese and English captions about the history of salt extraction in Zigong. The original old village of Zigong is located 15km east of the new city at the coordinates 29˚20’11”N/104˚52’34”E. The old village used to be an important and wealthy trading port, where the salt was checked, weighted, traded and shipped down the Fuxi River during the Qing Dynasty. In ancient China salt was regarded as the energy for the body and was valued even higher than gold. The Tienshang Palace, a Guildhall built by merchants from the Fujian Province in 1850, together with the Nanhua Palace from 1862 and the magnificent ancestral hall of Mr. Chen are all testimony of the demeanour, fortune and status of salt merchants at the time.

One of the major attractions of Zigong is without doubt the Dinosaur Museum at Dashanpu, located about 6 km north of town. The exhibits at the Dashanpu Dinosaur Museum are said to be among the world’s best. The Dashanpu Dinosaur Museum has over 30 dinosaur skeletons, over 10 well preserved dinosaur skulls and some other interesting fossils on display. Every year in January or February, the famous and beautiful Lantern festival held in Zigong. In the weeks leading up to the festival thousands of colorful paper lanterns in all forms and shapes can be found around town. For those who can not make it for the Zigong Lantern Festival in time can visit the Zigong Lantern Museum located on the western side of the Lantern Park.