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Introducing Kāifēng

More than any other of Hénán’s ancient capitals, Kāifēng has preserved a semblance of its original grandeur. Kāifēng has character: you may have to squint a bit and learn to sift the fakes from the genuine historical fragments, but the city still offers up a riveting display of age-old charm, magnificent market food, relics from its long-vanished apogee and colourful chrysanthemums (the city flower; Kāifēng is also known as Júchéng, or ‘Chrysanthemum Town’). One reason you won’t see soaring skyscrapers here is because buildings requiring deep foundations are prohibited, for fear of destroying the ancient northern Song-dynasty city below.