is a city
in the northeastern Henan
province, it was the capital
of the Northern Song Dynasty
(960-1127), in its heyday
it was the center of power
. It was a great city back then, unfortunately there was a number of disasters
that wrecked the place. In 1127 the Mongol Tartars
sacked the city
, in 1644 the city was deliberately flooded to stop the advance of the Manchus
troops. Still, it remains a cultural relic
, it isn't an urban metropolis
like most old Chinese
cities but a quiet backwater town.
A distinguishing feature was that the city was made in a circular design, violating the age-old rules of feng shui. Three concentric circles make the old city, with its curving streets, makes good sightseeing.
Other than that, Kaifeng is now a religious center, with several famous temples such as the Iron Pagoda, built in 1044, and Xiangguo Monastery, built in the 5th century. In the Tang Dynasty, the famed poets of the era often travelled to Kaifeng to meditate and compose poetry.
In addition to this, Kaifeng is the home of a small population of Chinese Jews. The religion was passed into China via the Silk Road about 1200 years ago. The small community has almost completely abandoned their Jewish practices, however, they still consider themselves Jewish and perform the basic rituals. They number around 200 to 300 inhabitants.