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East Red Gate

Updated: 2022-01-07

The East Red Gate is located in the middle of the east wall of Nanhaizi Royal Garden. The gate has only one opening, so it is also called "Little East Red Door".

Although East Red Gate is a side door with only one opening, it was still important. Since the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties liked to visit Foal Bridge Town during their stays in Nanhaizi, the East Red Gate was the only gate that they could go through.

Nanhaizi Royal Garden blocked the way for people to enter and they could only detour through the east and west sides of Nanhaizi. Foal Bridge Town at the gate thus became the entrance to Beijing, and over time emerged as an important town in Beijing.

As early as in the Liao and Jin dynasties, Foal Bridge Town was the place where officials kept military horses, and there was a wooden bridge on the Liangshui River, so it was named "Foal Bridge".

Once, Emperor Zhu Qizhen of the Ming dynasty visited Foal Bridge Town and saw that the wooden bridge was busy all day long, with merchants constantly coming and going. 

Hearing from local officials that this wooden bridge was often destroyed by floods, the emperor ordered to build a nine-hole stone bridge and gave it the name "Hongren Bridge." After that, Foal Bridge Town became more prosperous.

In 1773, Hongren Bridge was washed away by floods due to disrepair. Emperor Qianlong decided to rebuild Hongren Bridge while managing the Nanhaizi water system, and changed the original nine-hole bridge to a seven-hole bridge, and changed its name back to "Foal Bridge".

The East Red Gate, like other gates in Nanhaizi, was guarded by the Upper Three Banners in the Qing Dynasty. 

Most of these guards were surnamed "Ding, Bai, and Zhao", and these people gradually formed villages beside the gate.

During the reign of the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty (1662-1722), there was a place to store royal grain near the gate.

The place was governed by an official surnamed Xiao, who set aside 50 mu (8,24 acres) nearby for farming and later formed Xiao Village.

Because East Red Gate Village was too small, it was merged into Xiao Village. They then moved to Guiyuan Nanli Community after the establishment of the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area.