When we speak of Anhui, most people will surely mention Mt. Huang first. Indubitability, the excellent natural scenery always impresses the tourists deeply. However, if you take special notice of the ancient villages nearby, you will unexpectedly be pleasantly surprised with the dreamland villages - Xidi and Hongcun.
Located at Yixian County Anhui Province, Xidi and Hongcun have about 400-500 years of history. The original residential style and features of the Ming and Qing Dynasties were preserved perfectly. Reputed as 'A Living Ancient Residential Museum' by experts and tourists at home and from abroad, they were listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 2000.
How do people evaluate the ancient villages in Southern Anhui? Well, Architects refer to them as a living Museum of the Ming and Qing Dynasties; foreign tourists see them as the most beautiful county on earth; camerists view them as the county in the traditional Chinese paintings; for the locals it is home on wonderland.
Now, if I have got your interest, please join me and enter the Village!
Located in Yixian County, Xidi and Hongcun Ancient Villages were listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2000. These two villages are the most representative local-style residences in southern Anhui Province.
Lying 8 kilometers northeast of Yixian County and built in 11 A.D, Xidi is 700 meters long and 300 meters wide. Encircled by surrounding mountains, two streams cut across the whole village. As you walk downstream, you will be able to take in everything in a glance
Xidi Village boasts 124 well-preserved dwelling houses and 3 clan temples dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In front of the village is a landmark - A glorious memorial archway in honor of a native, Hu Wen guang, who was an prefectural governor in Ming Dynasty. Houses enjoy fine wood-carving, brick-carving and so on, reflect profound local culture and customs. It is called "the Land of Peach Blossom" or "Home In Wonderland" for its beauty and tranquility. It is also called "a treasure house of ancient resident architecture" for its well-preserved ancient houses and archways in Ming and Qing dynasties.
Encircled by green hills, two streams flow through the village from north and east converging at Huiyuan Bridge. The village has two main streets and about 99 lanes. All the streets and lanes are paved with cobbles or black stones. The residences, lanes and streets combine well with the hills and streams.
As a cultural site, Xidi Village was added to the list of World Heritage by UNESCO in 2000.
The most attracting characteristics of Xi Di are her perfectly well preserved 124 civilian houses, which were built one after another in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. All the houses are covered by grey tiles with white-washed walls around the courtyards.
The 99 winding alleys or lanes, paved with large pieces of stone slabs, connect all the households together. Two crystal-clear brooks pass through the village, and provide endless streams for the housewives' frequent washing. The whole village is just hugged by small green hills, whose slopes are covered by bamboo or tea bushes and young pine forest.
Hongcun Village ---- Water Buffalo-Shaped Ancient Village
Hongcun Village is located at the foot of the southwest side of Mt. Huangshan, only 11 kilometers away from Yixian town. It is a unique, buffalo-shaped ancient village in the ancient village. The whole village is measured to be 30 hectares, it is bedded at Mt. Leigang, facing Nanhu Lake.
In the Song dynasty, the villagers constructed an irrigation canal interveining every houses, so virtually every household in the village has easy access of the canal. The waterways of the village were supposed to be designed to provide sourse of washing water, even fire water in case of emergency. The construction was designed in similarity to a baffalo's body structure: Nanhu Lake is shaped like the baffalo's belly; Moon Pond looks like it's stomach; the channel its intestine. This vivid layout of buffalo is one outstanding feature of the village.
All the buildings follow local architectural style, have exquisite carvings and are magnificent symbols of its time. They were built with fine craftsmanship that is regarded as the best in China. Among them, Chenzhi Hall is a big and gorgeous residential building, including two living rooms, one Buddhism prayer section, one Majiong room and a opium cabinet, etc. It enjoys the name of "Residence Museum".
The village has nice scenery - simple but elegant, a fine mixture of old houses, green hills and clear creeks. Hongcun Village has always enjoyed the name "a village in the Chinese painting". The village now boasts 158 dwelling houses dating back to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, nearly 140 are still in good shape.
Because of this extraordinary feature of the village, Hongcun Village was added to the list of the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in late 2000. It is also the location for the famous prize film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".
Nanping Village ---- Clan Temple Show
Nanping Village, located in the southwest part of Yixian county, is a town with broad scales and a thousand years history. Naning Village featues well-preserved ancestral halls, it still preserved 300 ancient buildings of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
"Kuiguang Hall", "Xuzhi Hall" are magnificent halls, while "Shensi Hall" and "Bingling Hall" are simple, elegant dwelling houses. In "Wang Song Ling", ancient trees line up to the sky, ancient bridge lies down silently. There are seventy-two ancient alleys, crossing one after another within walls and buildings, this is a place with mysterious atmosphere. On the southern part of the village is the famous Mt. Linli, where was battlefield during the Three Kingdom Period.
Nanping Village is also the filming site for the famous Chinese movie "Ju Dou" by Zhang Yimou and Gong Li. In recent years, the "Tao's Genealogy " was found near the village, which confirmed that the Tao Yuanming's descendants had indeed moved to Nanping Village and lived in this area. This discovery had inflicted the curiosity of local and foreign tourists to come to Nanping Village to experience the beauty and tranquility of the "Home In Wonderland".