"Ironworks clustered around their main market, the million-strong city of Kaifeng, where (among other uses) iron was cast into the countless weapons the army required. Chosen as a capital because it lay conveniently near the Grand Canal, Kaifeng was the city that worked. It lacked the history, tree-lined boulevards, and gracious palaces of earlier capitals and it inspired no great poetry, but in the eleventh century it grew into a crowded, chaotic, and vibrant metropolis. Its raucous bars served wine until dawn,88 fifty theaters each drew audiences of thousands, and shops even encroached on the city’s one great processional avenue. And beyond the walls, foundries burned day and night, dark satanic mills belching fire and smoke, sucking in tens of thousands of trees to smelt ores into iron—so many trees, in fact, that ironmasters bought up and clear-cut entire mountains, driving the price of charcoal beyond the reach of ordinary homeowners. Hundreds of freezing Kaifengers were trampled in fuel riots in 1013…"
--Ian Morris, Why the West Rules--for Now