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Title: Aihun  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Treaty ports, Subprefecture, Sixty-Four Villages East of the River
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Coordinates: 49°58′41″N 127°29′24″E / 49.978°N 127.490°E / 49.978; 127.490

Aigun (simplified Chinese: 瑷珲; traditional Chinese: 璦琿; pinyin: Àihún; Manchu: ᠠᡳ᠌ᡥᡡᠨ ᡥᠣᡨ᠋ᠣᠨ Aihūn hoton) was a historic town of China in northern Manchuria, situated on the right bank of the Amur River, some 30 km south (downstream) from the central urban area of Heihe (which, in its turn, is across the Amur from the mouth of the Zeya River and Blagoveschensk).[1]

The Chinese name of the town, which literally means "Bright Jade", is a transliteration of the original Manchu (or Ducher) name of the town.

Today the former city of Aigun is called Aihui Town (爱辉镇); it is part of Aihui District, which in its turn is part of the prefecture-level city of Heihe (and also includes downtown Heihe). Heihe is one of the major cities of Heilongjiang Province, People's Republic of China.


The predecessor of Aigun was a town of the indigenous Ducher people of the Amur Valley, located on the left (northeastern - now Russian) bank of the Amur. The site of the Ducher town, whose name was reported by the Russian explorer Yerofey Khabarov as Aytyun (Айтюн) in 1652, is currently known to the archaeologists as the Grodekovo site (Гродековское городище), after the nearby village of Grodekovo. It is thought by archaeologists to have been populated since around the end of the 1st or the beginning of the 2nd millennium AD.[2]

The Ducher town was probably vacated when the Duchers were evacuated by the Qing to the Sungari or Hurka in the mid-1650s.[2] In 1683-85 the Manchus re-used the site as a base for their campaign against the Russian fort of Albazin.[3]

After the capture of Albazin in 1685 or 1686, the Manchus relocated the town to a new site on the right (southwestern) bank of the Amur, about 3 miles downstream from the original site.[4][5] The new site occupied the location of the former village of the Daurian chief named Tolga.[4] The city became known primarily under its Manchu name Saghalien Ula hoton (Manchu: sahaliyan ulai hoton),[6] and sometimes also under the Chinese translation of this name, Heilongjiang Cheng (黑龍江城). Both names mean "Black River City", but by the 19th century the name "Aigun" again became more current in the western languages.

For a few years early on (since 1683) Aigun served as the capital (the seat of the Military Governor) of Heilongjiang Province, until the capital was moved to Nenjiang (Mergen) in 1690, and later to Qiqihar.[7] Aigun, however, remained the seat of the Deputy Lieutenant-General (Fu dutong), responsible for a large district covering much of the Amur Valley within the province of Heilongjiang as it existed in those days.

As a part of a nationwide Sino-French cartographic program, Aigun (or, rather, Saghalien Ula hoton) was visited ca. 1709 by the Jesuits Jean-Baptiste Régis, Pierre Jartoux, and Xavier Ehrenbert Fridelli,[8] who found it a well-defended town, serving as the base of a Manchu river fleet controlling the Amur River region. Surrounded by numerous villages on the fertile riverside plain, the town was well provisioned with foodstuffs.[6]

It was at Aigun that Nikolay Muravyov concluded, in May 1858, the Aigun Treaty, according to which the left bank of the Amur River was conceded to Russia.

During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 Aigun was, for a few weeks, the center of military action directed against the Russians. On July 22, Aigun was captured by Russian troops.

In 1913 Aigun became the county seat of the newly created Aigun County (瑷珲县, Aihun xian), which was in December 1956 renamed Aihui County (爱辉县). On November 15, 1980, Heihe City was created, and on June 6, 1983, Aihui County was abolished, being merged into the Heihe City.[9]


According to Google Maps, there are a number of historical sites in today's Aihui Town (30 km south of downtown Heihe) related to the historical Aigun. They include "Aihui Ancient City" (爱辉古城), "Aigun Heroic Defenders' of the Fatherland Garden" (Aihun Weiguo Yingxiong Yuan, 瑷珲卫国英雄园), and "Aihui Historical Exhibition Hall" (Aihui Lishi Chenlie Guan, 爱辉历史陈列馆).[1]


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