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Geomantic Setup

The terrain of Cicheng has long been admired by geomancers. Embosomed by rolling mountains from the north, east and west, the town overlooks a vast plain southward, belted by River Yao and Ci. Looking south as far as the eye can see, the town and mountains are distinctively visible: Mount Qing in front of Hemudu, Mount Siming to the southwest, Mount Shuangding and Mount Zhe looming away in the plain, and Mount Lion and Mount Qing Taoist chime in with each other at distance. Lake Ci, regarded as “the three lakes of Ningbo” together with Dongqian Lake and Moon Lake, sits to the north of the town, excavated by Fang Guan in the Tang Dynasty. The lake is trimmed by pavilions and verandas, among which, Shigu Pavilion is still extant. A causeway divides the lake into halves, inlaid by the Rainbow Bridge projecting against Shigu Pavilion. The landscape stands a perfect embodiment of traditional auspicious geomancy and the ideology of “the integration of man and heaven”.

The layout of Cicheng has evolved since the Tang Dynasty. Resembling a chessboard which represents the traditional Chinese county town, Cicheng extends from a central axis and peaks at the County Government, with streets and buildings set symmetrically at two sides. Dongguo and Xiguo gather in numerous restaurants and theaters while the eastern and western town are interspersed with shrines for official celebrities Kan Ze and Fang Guan. To the south of the town sits the Qing Taoist Temple and to the west, Pengshan Pagoda. Six bridges scatter both inside and outside the town.

The present-day Cicheng still maintains the layout of a chessboard. Fended by the town wall and the moat, public buildings are configured according to different functions, with the County Government sitting against Fubi Mountain. Three vertical and four horizontal axes crisscrossed the whole town, paralleled by rivers and channels. Such wholescale ancient town configuration is the only one extant in South China.