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7. What can the city of Chang’an tell us about life under Tang rule?

This lesson zooms in on one of the most important cities in Tang Dynasty China and indeed in the medieval world: Chang’an, located in northeast China at the easternmost point of the ‘Silk Roads’.

In the enquiry, students are given the chance to ‘visit’ some of the key sites and locations in Chang’an.

They use an interactive map to find out more about Chang’an’s cosmopolitan markets, its royal palace and palace gates, and its religious temples.

They learn about the attempted coup that took place at the Xuanwu Gate in 626, when two of the emperor’s sons tried (and failed) to seize control; they also find out about the continued influence of Taoist ideas in a country that was becoming increasingly Buddhist in outlook.

Students are challenged to make broader inferences about life in Tang Dynasty China from the sites and locations they have ‘visited’.

Finally, they compose a Twitter ‘thread’, outlining some of the key aspects of life in Chang’an for potential ‘visitors’.


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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Worksheet 1 & 2: PDF

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