THERE is a Chinese saying about the ancient city of Xuzhou: “Beijing is famous for its Ming and Qing cultures, Xi’an is famous for its Qin and Tang cultures, while Xuzhou is famous for its Han culture.” With a rich and varied history, visitors to Xuzhou will discover a priceless assortment of Han Dynasty pottery warriors and horses, tombs and stone reliefs, and will hear riveting tales of the many historical figures who made the city famous. Among them was Pengzu (circa 2,000 B.C.), who is widely considered to be the founder of Chinese culinary culture, and who lived in what was then known as Pengcheng.
The state of Peng lasted 800 years, and ever since the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280) the names of Xuzhou and Pengcheng have been used interchangeably. To this day in Xuzhou, everything from streets to periodicals are named after Pengcheng — such as Pengcheng Road, Pengcheng Square, and the Pengcheng Evening News.
A History Carved out of the Mountains
Pengcheng’s long history produced a treasure trove of cultural achievements, and they have been preserved through the centuries to bestow on present-day Xuzhou a splendid historical and cultural legacy. Song of the Great Wind, a poem by Liu Bang, founding emperor of the Han Dynasty, speaks of the city’s importance. It reads: “A great wind rises, The clouds are driven away. I come to my native land, Now the world is under my sway. Where can I find brave men, To guard my four frontiers today!” ......