The Most Beautiful Ancient Villages In Modern China
The Hong Village evolved during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and is located in beautiful surroundings with green hills and clear streams winding throughout.
Hong Village in Anhui Province
The Hong Village evolved during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and is located in beautiful surroundings with green hills and clear streams winding throughout. The village, covering 30 hectares, is famous for its water-supplying system. The bird’s eye view of the shape of the village is that of a resting water-buffalo. The running water flows in winding ditches to every household, and it ends in a little lake at the entrance of the village. The peaceful environment and beautiful surroundings provide outsiders to a pleasing and tranquil picture of typical country life in South China.
Every day hundreds of visitors are attracted to the village by its beautiful views and more than 140 well-preserved ancient houses, among which several magnificent clan halls attract the most attention. Inside these ancient houses you can appreciate splendid wood carvings on the beams and columns. After your visit, you will conclude that Hong differs from other villages due to the well-preserved ancient houses, and how they seem to be harmonious with the beautiful surroundings. It was entered into the list of the World Cultural Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2000.
Village of Tibetan houses in Jiaju Zangzhai, Sichuan
This village is located in the north of Sichuan Province. There are only around 160 Zang families in this ancient village. The houses are built in traditional Jiarong style with painted bands of yellow, black and white with white stone towers in the four corners of the roof to represent the four cardinal directions. The homes are designed for the hilly terrain they stand on and to accommodate Tibetan culture. The flat roofs function are for a variety of activities including prayer and drying harvested grains. Livestock are kept on the ground floor, with living quarters and a small chapel on the upper floors.
The village is enchanting and the warm hospitality of the local people adds to the magic. The vibrant colors and intricate designs adorning the buildings are not gaudy, but work in harmony with the natural surroundings.
A modest guest house meets the basic needs of visitors, providing a hard bench and a hearty supper. The locals are proud of their culture and often entertain visitors with their traditional Guozhuang dance.
Village of Aletaituwa in Xinjiang
This village is located in Kanas Xinjiang. Around 80 Tuwa family living in this ancient village. Kanas means “rich and beauty, mysterious and enigmatical’ in Mongolian. They believe in Buddhism and have preserved the traditional beliefs of their tribe very well. Religious and traditional festivals are always jolly and busy, while the landscape tempts every visitor to experience nature. Apart from the ancient Tuva Mongol, visitors also can enjoy the local customs and life with the hospitable Kazakh families in the Hemu Grassland.
If you want to spend the night around Kanas Lake, you can live with local families or in tents. You can also stay in Kanas Shanzhuang where you will find a greater variety of services and accommodations.
It is recommended that you stay with local families in a Hemu Village if you want to experience a taste of the ‘old days’.
Village of Guoliang at TaiHang Mountain in Henan
Guoliang Village is located in Taihang mountain of Henan province. It was built in the late West Han dynasty. It was named Guoliang Village in honor of the peasant leader Guoliang. This village is a world of stone: stone houses, stone walls, stone tables, stone chairs and stone beds. In autumn, a million hues between yellow and gold, orange and red, tan and russet play not only on the cliff walls that envelop the area, but also the walnut and persimmon trees, and everything else that abides there.
This village is famous for the Guoliang tunnel. Before 1972, a path chiseled into the rock used to be the only access linking this village to the outside world. Then the villagers decided to dig a tunnel through the rocky cliff. Led by Shen Mingxin, head of the village, they sold goats and herbs to buy hammers and steel tools. Thirteen strong villagers began the project. It took them five years to finish the 1,200 meter long tunnel which is about 5 meters high and 4 meters wide. Some of the villagers even gave their lives to it. On May 1, 1977, the tunnel was opened to traffic.
The wall of the tunnel is uneven and there are more than 30 “windows” of different sizes and shapes. Some windows are round and some are square, and they range from dozens of meters long to standard-window-size. It is frightening to look down from the windows, where strange rocks form the sheer cliff above and a seemingly bottomless pit lying below.
The Baoshan Stone City in Yunnan China
The Baoshan Stone City has existed for thousands of years. In ancient times the Naxi people built the town on a huge rock. They developed from a nomadic ethnic group, and their relocation from northwest China to the bank of the Jinshajiang River had lasted about a thousand years. Today, more than one hundred households live here. They still keep the ancient traditions and lead a free and peaceful life on this giant rock.
The people here use stones to build everything including their houses, desks, tables, beds, pillows, water vats, cisterns, and kitchen ranges. All stone objects are polished smoothly. They have recorded the Naxi people’s life for centuries. The most wonderful thing about the village is the independent aqueducts/irrigation system. The villagers use them for each track of field, but without any effect on those of others.
Dam Village (a.k.a. Bamei Village) in Yunnan
Located at the border of Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guangnan is a typical karst area. The famous Chinese writer Tao Yuanming, who lived during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), once called it Peach Blossom Valley isolated from the hustle and bustle of the ordinary world. People live there in peaceful, serene isolation. The description of Tao Yuanming came true when Bamei Village was discovered.
Without cars, electricity, telephone and television, local villagers still live a primitive, self-sufficient life by fishing, hunting and farming. They plant corn, sugarcane and tropical fruits at the foot of mountains and grow rice near the riverside.
The traditional Zhuang culture and customs are still maintained here. Most of the villagers live in traditional Malan houses, a kind of diao jiao lou. Their customs and festivals are also well preserved. The Devil Festival, the Ox Soul Festival, and the Singing Festival are all celebrated grandly. People sing folk songs at their most important events, which is their way of interacting with others and expressing feelings.
Every summer senior villagers will hold a memorial ceremony for “the god of the river” in hopes of a good harvest. During the off season, villagers will organize varied entertainment events like cockerel racing.
Zili Village in Kaiping, Guangdong
Zili Village is located in Tangkou Town, Kaiping City. It has long been a hometown for immigrants, many of whom brought the ideas and architectural styles of the West back to Kaiping. The Diaolous (large castle like houses) primarily use Romanesque, Islamic, Baroque and Rococo architectural styles and decorative forms. They were mainly made of reinforced concrete, which was rare in Asia in the 1920′s and 1930′s. On the exterior, the buildings are typically western; but inside everything, from the frescos to the utensils, are of traditional Chinese style.
Zili village consists of three sub-villages constructed between 1821 and 1920. There is a cluster of nine Diaolou and a group of six western style villas along with single story houses. The single story houses are built with blue brick and tiled roof amongst the paddy field. Most of the houses have a layout known as “three sections/two gates”. The Diaolou were built around the same time, in the 1920′s, and under similar circumstances, their owners being prosperous emigrants from Malaya, Chicago and elsewhere who decided to return to their roots.
By Sophie and David from KanZhongGuo