Gazetteer of Zhongdu, the Middle Capital


The first Ming emperor, Hongwu (1328–98), also well known by his personal name Zhu Yuanzhang, established the national capital in Nanjing. He also renamed Linhao (present-day Linhuai, Fengyang, Anhui Province), where he was born, as Zhongdu and designated it as the middle capital. Construction began there in 1372 of an imperial city with imposing palaces and a capital with inner, middle and outer cities and nine gates, but the emperor suddenly stopped the building in 1375. Although Zhongdu never became the political center of China, some of the concepts of city planning used in its construction, including the palace arrangements, had great influence on the planning of Beijing and occupy an important position in the history of city planning in China. Zhongdu was one of the most majestic constructions in China, and followed, in a new style, in the tradition of the Song and Yuan periods. Today, only some remains of the city can be found, such as imperial tombs, the drum tower, and Longxing Temple. This manuscript work was compiled by Zhang Liangzhi, a native of Anyi, Shanxi Province, who achieved the degree of ju ren (a successful candidate of imperial examinations at provincial level) in 1528 and secured a post at the Ministry of Revenue. In the 26th year of the Jiajing reign (1547), Zhang Liangzhi became an official at the Bureau of Investigation at Zhongdu, where eight garrisons were stationed to guard the imperial tombs. It was here that Zhang wrote this work. Included in it are the names of local officials, listed chronologically. The last official listed, in 1558, is Li Shouxiu, who also could be the person responsible for issuing of the work, which has a preface by the author.

Last updated: January 31, 2012