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Estuary Docks

????Estuary Docks are inner port docks at the estuary of Jinjiang River, consisting of Wenxing Dock and Meishan Dock. First built in the 10th century, it is located at the convergence of the river and the sea and on the north bank of Jinjiang River on the south side of the ancient city of Quanzhou, where cargos were downloaded and moved into the city through Deji Gate. With a length of 7.75m, Meishan Dock was made from granite slates. It is a stone platform supported by piers at the riverfront, paved with crisscross-overlaid stone slabs, with 30 meters in length and 20 meters in width. First built in the Song Dynasty, Wenxing Dock is a revetment construction with slant stone staircases. The dock and its staircases are paved with crisscross-overlaid granite rocks, with 34m in length and 3.5m in width. As the riverbed is soft, the bottom of the dock foundation has been reinforced with pinewood piles. In his travelogue written in 1291, Marco Polo wrote, “There are over 100 boats docking at Zayton Port”. In 1345, Ibn Battuta wrote in his travel that “I’ve seen more than 100 large boats and countless small boats in the Port”. These historical accounts describe how bustling the waters were in this area.The two inner docks are combined with other outer docks, such as Shihu Dock, to form the infrastructure framework of port docks of ancient Quanzhou and exhibit its exceptional prosperity during the Song and Yuan dynasties.

??? ESTUARY DOCKS (MEISHAN DOCK)

????Estuary Docks is one of the representative sites as part of the Serial Property of Historic Monuments and Sites of Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton). The site, consisting of Wenxing Dock and Meishan Dock, is located in the area of Fashi Port at the junction of the river and the sea, through which boats sailing outwards to reach the sea while boats sailing inwards to the centre of Quanzhou. The docks were originally built in the Song Dynasty (10th-13th centuries) and continued to be used and restored in following dynasties.

????Meishan Dock is a stone platform supported by piers at the riverfront of Meishan’ao. The dock is built of crisscross-overlaid stone slabs, with 30 meters in length and 20 meters in width. There is a slant stone path stretching from north to south on each side of the platform, leading southward into the river. The platform foundation gradually narrows from bottom to top, featuring oblique front. The dock is capable of mooring large boats.

????In the middle of the 20th century, a Song Dynasty boat was discovered in the area, which is considered another major archaeological find following the excavation of the sunken boat in Houzhu Port of Quanzhou Bay. In addition, several boatyard sites as well as wreckage of ancient boats, stone piers for mooring and Islamic tomb stones, dating back to the 12th to 15th centuries, have been unearthed in the area.

????The Estuary Docks are two extant riverfront commercial docks of Fashi Port, a major inner port of ancient Quanzhou, bearing important witness to prosperous overseas maritime transportation and trade of Quanzhouduring the Song and Yuan dynasties.

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