You may imagine the Imperial River only belongs to the royal family, however, it is a place everybody in Kaifeng can come close. Located in Kaifeng, the capital of Northern Song Dynasty, the Imperial River has witnessed past glories and so many stories, happy ones and sad ones, in the flow of history. All those remembrance of glory and prosperity, partly because of water transportation, is now recorded in books and nostalgia of citizens of Kaifeng. What left till today is the cozy life beside river.
Kaifeng has long enjoyed the name of a waterfront city. Located in plain and enjoying abundant rainfall, Kaifeng used to be surrounded by lakes. According to history, in Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), Kaifeng was crisscrossed by 2 major rivers and there were 140 lakes near Kaifeng, several scores of them were located quite close.
In Northern Song Dynasty, Kaifeng was the center of the national water transportation system. Among the 8 representative sceneries of ancient Kaifeng, 3 were related with river and lake: Zhouqiao Bridge under moonlight, Bian River runs in Autumn and tender willows on the Sui Embankment.
Zhouqiao Bridge was a bridge across Bian River, serving as a transportation hub. Besides the bridge were lines of shops. Night market near the bridge offered citizens and tourists with delicious snacks. Zhouqiao Bridge under moonlight was a striking view.
Bian River was the lifeline of Kaifeng in Northern Song Dynasty. It was THE imperial river of that time. Autumn was the high flow period of BianRiver. At that time, the clear water of the BianRiver run as a silver dragon. Along the Sui Embankment willows trees were planted. In Spring when catkin drifting midair, the river and the embankment seemed to be enfolded in light fog.
Years ago, Kaifeng began to restore its canal complex. There are a number of lakes scattered in Kaifeng like peals. What is needed in Kaifeng is a necklace to link these beautiful lakes. The Imperial River is the necklace. With the river, the charms of this waterfront city could be better appreciated.
Whether taking a cruise along the Imperial River, or just walking around, you will find that the river provides so many views. Along the river, several cultural sites have been designed with the aim of bringing tourists back to the Northern Song Dynasty. Water front view, garden, Northern Song style architecture can be sported along the way. As a matter of fact, 5 theme gardens have been designed and constructed, echoing 4 seasons of the year and one offering comprehensive view.
Apart from the Imperial River, the Canal Complex has much more to offer: ancient buildings, bridges, boats, decorations, and many more. Around the canal complex, tourists could spend their day in either imperial buildings or ancient city hall, or they could pay a private visit to ancient gardens or civil residences. Not a single bridge of the canal complex is duplicating itself. The bridge and nearby decorations form a unique view. Kaifeng is never short of cultural relics. And as there are many more recreated one, including the very successful Riverside Scene Park.
(the night scene of the Imperial River)
Tourists are strongly recommended to take a night cruise along the ImperialRiver. Lights and waves will melt together and tourists will be intoxicated in music and dances. When they woke up, they won’t be surprised to come back the Northern Song Dynasty.
Imperial River in Kaifeng connects not only rivers and lakes, but also past and present. It is traditional, for it will remember the past. Yet it is modern, for it offers all the modern comfort.
You shall come.
（the show on the bank of Imperial River)