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Hongcun & Xidi, Anhui

Hongcun & Xidi, Anhui
China鈥檚 Ancient Villages
By Evelyn Rubenstein

TP 201808 China 01鎴戝浗鏃呮父璧勬簮涓板瘜锛屾湁鏃犳暟鍚嶅北澶у窛浜烘枃椋庢儏鐨嗚鍒楀叆涓栫晫鏂囧寲閬椾骇鍚嶅綍銆傚叾涓綅浜庡畨寰界渷榛勫北甯傞粩鍘跨殑瑗块掋佸畯鏉戝埆鍏风壒鑹层傚畠浠槸瀹夊窘鍗楅儴姘戝眳涓渶鍏锋湁浠h〃鎬х殑涓ゅ骇鍙ゆ潙钀斤紝浠ヤ笘澶栨婧愯埇鐨勭敯鍥鍏夈佷繚瀛樺畬濂界殑鏉戣惤褰㈡併佸伐鑹虹簿婀涚殑寰芥淳姘戝眳鍜屼赴瀵屽褰╃殑鍘嗗彶鏂囧寲鍐呮兜鑰岄椈鍚嶅ぉ涓嬶紝鍒嗗埆琚獕涓 鈥滄鑺辨簮閲屼汉瀹垛濓紝鈥滀腑鍥界敾閲岀殑涔℃潙鈥濄傚ゥ鏂崱鏈浣冲璇墖銆婂崸铏庤棌榫欍嬭繕鏇惧湪瀹忔潙鍙栨櫙鎷嶆憚銆


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TP 201808 China 02Amidst the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, or the overflow of tourists in Beijing, China holds a gem that lies nestled in the province of Anhui. Located in the eastern region of the country this landlocked province derives its name from two cities, namely Anqing and Huizhou. Anhui is a densely populated city with a total of 60,300,000 people residing in the whole province.

 

In the southernmost part of Anhui, the region of Huizhou is home to two villages located in Yi County: Hongcun and Xidi.

 

Hongcun or 鈥淗ong Village鈥 is situated near the southwest slope of Mount Huangshan. The shape of the village is said to be arranged in the figure of an ox. Leigang Hill is said to represent the head, two nearby trees standing on the hill are said to be the horns. In Jiyin stream there are four bridges situated and they can be interpreted as the legs, while houses around the village serve as the body. Other various lakes such as the South Lake (Nanhu) represent the other internal organs while the Jiyin stream serves as the intestines. Some of the architecture of the residences can be traced back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is even said to be the best of its kind in China. The village was used as a scene in the popular movie 鈥淐rouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.鈥

 

Xidi is a similar historical village and is a nearby town just twenty minutes away. It is also part of the 鈥淎ncient Villages in Southern Anhui鈥. The village was built during the Song dynasty and was originally called Xichuan (West river) because of the water that flows through it. Like Hongcun, the wooden architecture of the residences is well-preserved and is also traced back to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

TP 201808 China 03Attractions Nearby

South Lake: During the Ming dynasty, this artificial lake wraps around the front of the village and is shaped like an archer鈥檚 bow. A long stone bridge serves as a crossing and entry to the village. Standing at the bridge, visitors will appreciate the view of the village and hills reflected across the water.

 

Chengzhi Hall: This hall has nine open roofed yards with more than 60 rooms. Built during the late Qing dynasty, the wooden beams and panels are all decorated with intricate carvings of nature, or Chinese mythology. Not all the rooms are accessible, however visitors can still explore freely around the hall.

 

Moon Pond: This is a half-moon shaped pond with a smooth reflection of the blue and white colours of the sky. The attractive colours make it a remarkable sight to see.

 

Zouma Building (Lingyun Attic): This was built during the Qing dynasty. Presently, it was rebuilt to its original structure and visitors will enjoy a view preserved from the past.

 

Hu Wenguang鈥檚 Memorial Archway: Visitors of Xidi will be greeted by this archway at the entrance of the village. Made of Yixian stone with a grey colour this attraction has lasted for 400 years.

TP 201808 China 04Other Attractions

Mt. Huangshan: Also known as 鈥淵ellow Mountain鈥 is a nearby attraction if you are either coming from Hongcun or Xidi. It was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Its odd shaped pines, rocky peaks, and sea of clouds makes it a popular tourist destination.

 

Tunxi Ancient Street: This old street is lined with well-preserved Huizhou houses. It is 1.5km long and 7 meters wide. Visitors can browse around antique stores, or try the local delicacies.

 

Huizhou Ancient City: With a history of a thousand years, this is one of the four Best-Preserved Cities. The town is filled with cobbled lanes that will take you to different ancient residences and buildings such as theatrical stages, and teahouses.

TP 201808 China 05Transportation

There are many options to reach Hongcun & Xidi, and the fastest is by air. Hefei International Airport links many domestic and international flights. You can take a flight from Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou.

 

Another option is by train. Visitors can opt for a high-speed train as there are various railway stations as well as pick-up and drop-off stations at many cities. Just keep in mind the time schedule at Hefei railway station.

 

A long-distance bus is also available. Hefei is the center of highway network in Anhui province, it is one of the main transportation hubs in China. There are expressways that run east-west, and north-south of the county. Do note that travel time will be longer if you choose this means of transportation.

 

Best Season to Visit

The best time to visit the villages is during autumn, from September till November, and during spring time from April till June. These seasons paint an idealistic image of the towns because of the orange leaves of autumn, and the greenery of the blooming trees and flowers during spring.

 

Hongcun and Xidi may not seem like typical tourist destinations, but visitors will appreciate this gem as it is not flocked with tourists. The lifestyle of the residents here are simple. Both villages are also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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