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Why is there a “yao” in the place names of Beijing?

2016-01-19 09:54:06Share:

  Beijing has a lot of places with a Chinese character “窑(yáo, literally meaning cave or kiln) “ in their names, such as Dabeiyao (大北窑), Liujiayao (刘家窑), Xiaowayao (小瓦窑), Cuijiayao (崔家窑), Baojiayao (鲍家窑), Dengjiayao (邓家窑), Yanyao (严窑) as well as Weiyao (魏窑). Why is there a “yao” in so many place names of Beijing? In Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Yongle Emper or Zhu Di decided to move the capital to Beijing in 1421 for political considerations. As the demanding of city’s development, a large number of bricklayers flooded to Beijing from Shaanxi Province and settled down in the south of the city, making kilns increasingly build by and by. Most kilns in the time crafted bricks and tiles which were the necessities to renovate the city. At the time, some poor people in the Shaanxi Province used to live in cave-houses or yaodong(窑洞). So those incoming bricklayers named their new inhabitant area with the Chinese character “窑(yao)”. Those names are still used to date.


Today's Dabeiyao

The Imperial Gardens