Expat in Close Touch with the Song Culture at Yonghe Village
Date: 2022-05-26Source: 宁波晚报Page views: Font-Size: [ large medium small ]Color:

A sunny day in mid-May, Marina Albernaz, who came to China three and a half years ago, was invited by Ningbo Evening News to explore the poetry culture of the Song Dynasty and some rural tourism destinations in Yonghe Village, Ninghai County. She learned about the local history and ancient scholars of the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) Dynasties, visited the historical Guijin Bridge and the newly established Chengxiang Academy, and tried paragliding for the first time.

Marina tried paragliding.  Photo by Marina Albernaz

A marketing coordinator at Georgia School Ningbo (GSN), Marina enjoys cultural and culinary excursions to Chinese villages and is always eager to immerse herself in traditional Chinese customs, local history, and culture.

Marina visited Guijinqiao. Photo by Zhu Jiaka

The Chengxiang Academy (Chengxiang literally refers to the post of prime minister in ancient China), with its extraordinary red walls and wide-eaved and black-tiled roofs, caught Marina’s eye. With curiosity, she walked inside and encountered Wang Sufen, party chief of the local government. Madam Wang introduced Ye Mengding, Ninghai’s first prime minister in the Song Dynasty, and other main sites around the academy including Chengxiang’s Mansion, Chengxiang’s Tomb, and an ancestral temple of the Ye's.

The Chengxiang Academy, with its Song architectural style, will be a comprehensive center for holding Chinese traditional wedding ceremonies, cultural activities, and exhibitions about Ye and the poetry culture of the Song Dynasty. The academy covers an area of 3,304 square meters, with a construction area of about 2,324 square meters and a total investment of about 8 million yuan. At present, the main building has been completed, and its interior decoration and exhibition preparation will be finished later this year.

Gaining some insight into the stories of Ye and the poetry culture in his day – especially in the aspects of customs, virtues, and architecture – Marina was attracted by a moss-covered stone arch bridge with white loquat trees planted on both sides. It is 14.6 meters long, 3.5 meters wide and 5 meters high, spanning 9 meters across the river, Madam Wang introduced. She then presented to Marina a huge ancient stone stele engraved with "Guijinqiao" (a Chinese phrase meaning "a Bridge in memory of one’s returning home in glory"). The bridge was built in 1237 when Ye Mengding passed the highest imperial civil service exam in ancient China.

The last adventure of Marina’s trip was Eversky Air Park, where she tried paragliding for the first time. The stable and strong thermal airflow and open space make this paragliding base one of the best in East China. Before her first flight Marina got detailed simulation training from Jay, owner of the base. He showed her how to safely put on the parachute harness, explained the steering system and ensured that the chest protection was equipped correctly. Jay stressed the importance of running in the direction of the wind to take off. Paragliding must be done under tight weather conditions, only on bright days with no strong winds, he added. Safety notices and insurance need to be signed and when Marina was in the air, the instructor would accompany her. "I took off with my heart pounding and my legs shaking. I was nervous, but I’d love to do it again." Marina said after landing.

    Located in the north of Huchen Township, Ninghai County, Yonghe Village consists of four natural villages – Shangzheng, Xiazheng, Shangzhai and Xiazhai – with 758 households and a population of 2,326. It is striving to develop rural tourism by placing emphasis on the Song Dynasty’s poetry culture. Lingfeng Temple, Shisun Park, Chengxiang Cultural Square, and many other historical sites will be new attractions. The one-day trip of Marina was organized by Ningbo Evening News, providing expats in Ningbo a unique window into rural tourism, traditional culture and local history.

Reporter: Mei Jie

Proofreaders: Puyang Rong, Wang Fang, Jason Mowbray

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