Nanxiong county lies in the northeast part of Guangdong province. It has 24 towns and a population of 440,000. Historically, Nanxiong connected Guangdong and Jiangxi which made it the key junction between northern and southern China. It was a marketplace and the central point in the exchange of goods and cultures between Central China and the outpost Guangdong.
As with all ancient towns, there are many places of historic interest. We, however, are primarily interested in Zhuji Lane (íZíZíZíZíZíZĚĚ). It lies in the Meiguan ancient post road (ŠóíZíZíZíZíZíZĄÚíZíZíZíZíZ), nine kilometers from the northern part of Nanxiong county.
Zhuji Lane was first called Jingzong Lane (íZíZČňíZíZňĚíZ). The change came about during the Tang Dynasty (íZíZíZíZíZíZ). According to folklore, seven generations of the Zhang Chang (ň╝ÁŠíZíZ) family lived together in Jingzong Lane. The Imperial court in 825AD bestowed upon them a1 pearl lace for this filial obedience. The following year, the emperor died and his official clan temple title (ň«íZň╗íZŔźíZ) was Jingzong. In ancient China it was a common or rather imperative practice to avoid using the same characters as the names and titles of the emperors. Thus Jingzong Lane was changed to Zhuji Lane for this purpose and also to commemorate the honour received by the Zhang Chang family. Zhuji Lane is 1,500 meters long and 4 meters wide. It is paved with cobble stone. There are village houses and memorial temples on each side of the road. Shops are connected with each other, winding straight but orderly, uneven and protruding but naturally. Along this lane in addition to ancient buildings and ruins are bridges, pond and river.
Because of its geographic location, Zhuji Lane became very prosperous during the Tang and Song dynasties. It was a true melting pot where north met south and people with different surnames became neighbours. At the end of the Song Dynasty (ň«íZíZíZíZ), Zhuji Lane residents migrated southward to the Pearl (Zhujiang) River delta ( íZíZíZŠ▒íZńŞíZŔžíZŠ┤íZ) to avoid the invading Mongolian army. It was an exodus because a total of 134 surnames and thousands of people were involved. They helped to spread the more advanced Central Plain culture and production techniques to the then still relatively uninhabited southern frontier. The city of Guangzhou has a Zhuji Road (íZíZíZíZíZíZĚ») which is supposingly named to commemorate many of the city residents' place of origin.
1 Source: History Subordinate to Nanxiong county