Ningbo has a fascinating history from early civilisations 7,000 years ago, to a small fishing village and its present-day stature as an international city of business, culture and entertainment.
Due to Ningbo's eventful and lengthy past, it was ranked in 1986 as a famous historic and cultural city by the People’s Republic of China.
The earliest archaeological findings in the Ningbo area can be traced back 7,000 years to the neolithic Hemudu culture, which was one of the first in the world to cultivate rice. Large amounts of rice, animals' remains, fruits, wooden buildings, oars, thousands of ceramic vessels and primitive handicraft have been excavated in the area.
The site of some of the Hemudu relics now has a museum that houses many of these artifacts.
Fishing village to international port
Originally established as a small fishing village, Ningbo grew by the nature of its trade into a port. Locals excelled in fishing techniques, building vessels and rowing.
By 771-221 BC Ningbo (called Gouzhang at the time), was one of nine important ports in China, and by the 5th century Ningbo had become a popular destination for sea trade and one of the original stops on the maritime Silk Road.
During the Song and Yuan Dynasties (960-1368 AD), Ningbo became one of only three foreign trade ports in China while in 1842, the city was named as one of the ports opened by the Treaty of Nanjing between Britain and China.
At present Ningbo is a key part of international trade offering more than 110 shipping lines and regarded as holding one of the largest ports in the world.
Built by Wang Shu, winner of architecture's prestigious Pritzker Prize, the Ningbo Museum charts 7,000 years of civilisation. Located in Yinzhou district, the museum is only a 15 minute walk from the University and offers daily, free tickets to the first 300 visitors.
Ningbo is also known as the birthplace of Chiang Kai-Shek who once led China as the head of the Nationalist Party. The Yutai Salt Shop in Xikou village, just south of the city, is a great place to learn about his colourful life.