ancient cities


The Ancient Town of Fenghuang, China

The town of Fenghuang is located in the Hunan province in China along the banks of the Tuo Jiang River. The town is exceptionally well-preserved and relatively untouched by modern urbanization.

The legacy of the Ming And Qing dynasties are preserved within the town, spanning 300 years of ancient heritage. In the ancient town zone, preservation of over 200 residential buildings, 30 streets, and hundreds of other ancient features and landmarks of the town has continued for hundreds of years.

Because of its unique geographical location, Fenghuang never suffered from the destruction of any natural disaster or suffered invasion from any wars. Even during the war of resistance against Japanese invasion, the isolated town of Fenghuang did not suffer occupation. In 1949, Fenghuang was peacefully liberated.

In the following 50 years, Fenghuang was spared any large-scale construction that occurred in nearby districts. As the people of Fenghuang cherish their valuable heritage, the local government has conducted strict control over all construction, continuing the preservation and the authenticity of the ancient town.



“City of Ghosts”

High on the Ming Hill, Fengdu, the “City of Ghosts,” is situated at the northern end of the Yangtze River. It attracts tourists from all over and even many visitors from within China as it is the place to learn about Chinese ghost culture and the afterlife.

The city has been around for nearly 2,000 years, filling it with a spooky sense of the past. Its origin story begins back in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), when two officials decided to run away to the area and live out their lives, where they eventually, the story goes, became immortal. Yin and Wang, the names of the officials, were combined during a later dynasty to mean “King of the Underworld.” Locals deemed this a gathering place for spirits. The Ghost City that developed is a complex of Buddhist and Taoist temples adorned with macabre demon statues dismembering humans as they guard the entrance to the netherworld.

Most of the popular landmarks in the City of Ghosts bear names that reference the afterlife: “Last Glance at Home Tower,” “Nothing-to-be-Done Bridge,” “Ghost Torturing Pass.” Covering the sites are statues and other artistic depictions of ghosts and devils, terrifying works that represent what happens to those who haven’t lived good lives after theirs is taken from them.

The giant face seen in the pictures is called The Ghost King, and it holds a Guinness World Records title as the biggest sculpture carved on a rock. At 138 meters tall and about 217 meters wide, The Ghost King can be seen from all around the city.

Archaeologists uncover human settlement dated to the dawn of civilization

Aşıklı Höyük, a mound near the banks of the Melendiz River in southern Turkey, lies not far from the site of Çatalhöyük. Dated to about 7500 B.C., Çatalhöyük is famous for being one of the oldest and largest Neolithic sites ever found.

But Aşıklı Höyük dates back even earlier, to about 8000 B.C. Though less known and considerably smaller than Çatalhöyük, archaeological excavations at Aşıklı Höyük have revealed a richly informative window on small-town life about 10,000 years ago, long before the pyramids, ziggurats, palaces, and other monumental features of the emerging, more expansive ancient cities of Mesopotamia and Egypt emerged on the landscape.

First investigated by Professor Ian A. Todd in 1964, full-scale excavations of the site didn’t take place until 1989 under Ufuk Esin of the University of Istanbul. It became one of the largest excavations of the region, and is still the subject of archaeological investigations and research. Read more.


Hannibal of Carthage and the punic wars (264BC - 146BC)

The Punic wars were a series of wars fought between the Rapidly expanding Carthagian Empire in North Africa and the Roman republic. The carthagian Empire held the isle of Sicily off the cost of Rome. Long story short the Roman republic sanctioned an attack to retake sicily and stop the exspansion of the Carthagians. 

Unlike most civilisations the Romans had a trained and battle hardened veteran core of troops. The legions numbered at about 30,000. Carthage had to rely mainly of Mercenaries and the indigenous tribes. However the Carthagians had a huge navy and the Romans had to build one fast. Subsequently the romans were defeated and realised the traditional naval warfare tactics of raming and stone flinging would not work. The romans attached the Assualt bridge to their warships, this meant that legionaires and Auxillary could board the carthagian ships. Rome went through an nearly unbroken string of victories at sea and in sicily. The carthagian mercenaries fled the battlefields 9/10 times. Carthage sued for peace in 241BC. 

Carthage was forced to pay a sum in silver for the 8000 african Prisoners of war. However Carthage would not return the captured legionaires. The Carthagian king Hannibal pursued the defected troops and attacked a Roman town they were hiding in. The Carthagians refused to hand Hannibal over to the Romans for trial. Rome declared another war on Carthage.

Hannibal intended to cross the famous alps with siege engines and elephants. Over the course of the 3 year war, Hannibal won notable victories against Rome at the battle of Trebia and the battle of Cannae. Hannibal eventually did cross the alps but was hesitant of Romes defences. At he same time the Romans cut of trade routes and his army began to starve. Rome then launched a counter attack and Hannibal attempted to split his army but was deafeated at the battle of Zama. This basically ended Carthage. The city of Carthage was soon sacked and burnt to the ground and the Romans took even more of Africa. Hannibal himself commited suicide.

Hannibal is often regared as a Brilliant millitary commander. He managed to win battles while scaling a mountain range with a half dead army and some elephants against the mighty Rome. He is compared with Napoleon and Julius Caesar at times. 

The ancient egyptians were brilliant architects, amazing inventors and craftsmen and had a social hierarchy way ahead of its time. 

But lets get one thing straight: They were not warriors

The egyptian millitary had one purpose and that was to repell invasion from the east. Such civilisation as the persians and babylonians hungered for an empire. Egypt had no desire for conquest they just wanted to be left alone. (Until Thutmose III).

The old kingdoms army was barley an army itself. All of the troops were paid and trained. But it was tiny. barley 2000. It was strongley dependent on spearmen infantry. They had no chariots or horsemen or even bowmen. They fought with stone and wicker. The egyptians hired mercenaries from the middle east, they became the best egyptian archers.

The new kingdom was much diffrent. The egyptians stole the Hyskos technology and began using copper spears, and bows. The pharaoh made sure they were well trained, chariots and horse became the backbone of the army. The paid professional army of egypt was 6000 strong with mercenary companies of Libyans and Syrians. 

The Egyptian technological revoloution also gave egypt wooden ships and by 1500BC the egyptians had a highly sophisticated navy stationed in Hyskos. 

Egypt was never a millitary state, like the romans or the persians. Egypt only conscripted when absoloutely nessecary. Such as the Assyrian invasion where over 20,000 conscripts fought against the Iraqi people.

This left egypt prone to an persian conquest.

But thats a story for another day 


Converse Rubber Tracks x Newport Folk Festival: Winning Artists Selected

Get introduced to the three bands chosen to perform live at Converse Rubber Tracks’ 2015 Newport Folk Festival showcase:

Ghost of Paul Revere | Holler-folk from the banks of Maine’s Saco River.

Honeysuckle | Atmospheric, progressive Boston-based folk trio.

Ancient Cities | North Carolina duo layer psychedelic synths with traditional acoustic stomp. 

See them live Friday, June 24th on the Newport Folk Festival Museum Stage.