Located at an altitude of more than 3000m Songpan is a lively and colorful city wigh a long history.
Originally the ancient city of Songpan was built by the Tang Dynasty and rebuilt during the regime of Ming Dynasty. The city of Songpan is divided into two parts, inner city and outside wall. During the early period Songpan was one of the important battle ground for military forces. The frequent contacts between the Han and Tibetan nationality started during the Tang Dynasty, it was also an important economic and trading center for horse and tea exchange between the Han-inhabitated area and Tibetan area.
Songpan, sitting astride the Mingjiang River with the major part on the western bank of the river, is 330 km from Chengdu. The ancient town is best preserved in the area, making it a historical and cultural town subject to Sichuan provincial protection.
Anjin Town, site of the Songpan county government, has a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) city wall built with stone slabs and blue bricks. Erected beginning in 1378, it was commissioned in 1442. The wall extends 62 km long, composed of interior and exterior walls, and has seven gates. Part of the wall gates remain, including the Northern Gate Arch, which is 6 meters wide, 6.8 meters high and 31.8 meters thick; the Eastern Gate Arch, 6 meters wide, 6.3 meters high and 22 meters thick; and the Southern Gate Arch, 6 meters wide, 8.8 meters high and 30 meters thick.
In terms of the depth, these city gates led others in China during the Ming Dynasty. None of the wall gates of the Palace Museum in Beijing, city wall gates in Nanjing and city wall gates in Xi'an can match them in this regard. They were the crystallization of the wisdom of peoples of the Tibetan, Han, Hui and Qiang ethnic groups.
Boat trips along the Mingjiang River offer a distant view of the ancient town embraced by the Mingshan Mountain. Old-style housing that form a sharp contrast with modern buildings scintillate with the wisdom of Songpan peoples of various ethnic groups, who deem the ancient town 'the holy temple' they desire.