|Site of Shunji Bridge|
As the primary access to the ancient business district, the site of Shunji Bridge was the land transportation node between the ancient city of Quanzhou and the South Bank of Jinjiang River.
Located outside the Deji Gate, the southern gate of ancient Quanzhou, the Site of Shunji Bridge, which crosses Jinjiang River, is a relatively large-scale cultural relic of the city construction in Song Dynasty; it is the epitome of Quanzhou’s history of city construction, and the representative relic showing the transport network of the global marine trade center.
According to the Annals of Jinjiang County, in 1196, Shunji Temple (the present Tianhou Temple) was built in the south of Quanzhou city, with Nanguan Port located by the riverside, a key near-town port in Song Dynasty.
In the 4th year of Jiading Reign in Southern Song Dynasty (1211), Zou Yinglong, the magistrate of the prefecture, took charge of building the stone bridge across the river. The northeastern end of the bridge is close to the Shunji Temple, so it is called Shunji Bridge, or New Bridge because Shisun Bridge at the upper reaches of Sunjiang River was built earlier. The construction of Shunji Bridge reflected the increasing demand for transportation brought by merchants populating the southern part of the city and the business there flourishing. In 1230, Yicheng, the district where the foreign merchants stayed and lived, was included in the original city. People could reach Tianhou Temple by way of Shunji Bridge and Deji Gate, and Shunji Bridge became the main route connecting different areas of the ancient business district. Shunji Bridge, together with Deji Gate and Tianhou Temple, became the landmarks in the south of the city.
Shunji Bridge is a beam bridge, which adopted the “raft-shaped foundation” building technique of Luoyang Bridge. Stones were dumped onto the riverbed, serving as the structural basis. On this basis, stone blocks piled up to make up the piers. And right over the piers were stone slabs to form the bridge floor, with guardrails on each side.After the repairs in different dynasties, the piers built in Song Dynasty still keep the raft-shaped foundation, merging into an integral wholetogether with Tianhou Temple and Deji Gate, Shunji Bridge has witnessed the prosperity and expansion of the southern business district of the city, and the entire process of how Quanzhou became the world’s maritime trade center in Song and Yuan Dynasties.
As the transportation hub connecting the city’s business quarter to the outside, Shunji Bridge has witnessed Quanzhou’s development under the influence of maritime trade and the promotion to transportation system resulting from the development of business.
Shunji Bridge connected the vast area of the southern bank of Jinjiang River and the land transportation of Quanzhou together. People from the south no longer needed to detach Shisun Bridge at the upper reaches, and the land transportation connecting Quanzhou and Anhai, Tongan, Zhangzhou,etc.,became more convenient. Meanwhile, it also facilitated the transportation between Quanzhou and the ports of the southern bank of Jinjiang River. People could start off from Shihu Port, travel along Haian Bridge built in the 12th century, cross Shunji Bridge and finally reach the South Gate of the city. It was also convenient to travel by land from the ports located in Shenhu Bay, Weitou Bay, etc. to the city using Shunji Bridge. The construction of Shunji Bridge shows that the maritime trade can improve and perfect the water-land coordinated transportation of the nation’s ports.