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Huangshan Overview Hong Cun Village
Huangshan City is destined to be one of the most visited tourist destinations in the 21st Century. Because of its majestic creation of nature, its more than 2000-year history, and its flourishing Huizhou culture, the city boasts a multitude of tourist attractions. They include the world-famous Mt.Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), the well-preserved ancient villages, crystal Lake Taiping and Qiyun Taoist Mountain and so on. Old residences, archways, clan temples, ancient bridges and pagodas are abundant.
Huangshan Mountain in Anhui province derives its beauty from the craggy rocks jutting out of the earth, the sea of clouds descending from the sky, the odd-shaped pines decorating the slopes, and the crystal-clear hot springs flowing from within. With all these wonderful features of mountain scenery, Mount Huangshan lives up to the praise of, "The Best Mountain under Heaven," given to it by Xu Xiake, a noted Chinese geologist and traveler during the Ming Dynasty. He was impressed by the forests of stone pillars, imposing peaks, grotesquely-shaped rocks, waterfalls, pools, hot springs, and sturdy pines that make the mountain one of China's best scenic areas. The scenery is so unique that UNESCO has declared it World Natural Heritage site. The mountain is also an important habitat to many unique plants and animals from gingkoes, ginseng, and orchids to monkeys, pangolin, and the red-billed leiothrix.
Throughout history, praises by many celebrities were heaped on Mt. Huangshan. On his second visit to Mt.Huangshan, Xu Xiake, the famous traveler and geographer of the Ming Dynasty, exclaimed: "Huangshan in Huizhou has no equal. Once on top, one finds no other match. This is the acme!" People later concluded: "No mountains are worth seeing after a trip to the Five Sacred Mountains, and none of the Sacred Mountains are worth seeing after a trip to Huangshan." No wonder it is the only mountain that is listed in China's Top Ten Scenic Spots and designated as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site. As a matter of fact, just like the Yangtze River, the Great Wall and the Yellow River, Mt.Huangshan has become a symbol of China.
The site spans more than 1200 square kilometers but only 154 square kilometers have been developed into a world-famous tourist attraction. With its convenient facilities: three cable ways, three four-star hotels, one three-star hotel and one two-star hotel on the top, all the paths paved with flat stones, it lures millions of visitors both from home and abroad.
Huizhou was the traditional name of the local territory, which covers about 10,000 square kms. There were very few residents 2000 years ago. With the historical evolvement, the local population was being built up steadily. Especially the refugees from the Northern China poured into the areas during the two war periods from 950—1050 AD, and 1250—1300 AD. The local production could not feed so large population, as farm fields were limited, therefore the youngsters had to leave home for the more developed areas, such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanking etc. working as apprentices in pawnshops, groceries selling tea, dried bamboo shoots, ect. When some of them opened their own business and got rich, building themselves a big house at hometown was their priority. Then the successful merchants sent their sons to the local private schools, hoping their kids would become an official to bring honor to the family. During Ming and Qing dynasties, there really appeared lots of high rank officials originating from the local, Huizhou. When you go to visit Huangshan, you will pass by such kinds of villages: well preserved old houses, memorial archways of more than 300 years, family memorial shrine hall, etc. Here are a few examples as follows:
Tang Yue Memorial Archway Complex
Shexian County is regarded as "a town of archways". In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there were more than 200 memorial archways dotted all over the whole territory, now only 80 of which remain well. Among the preserved ones, Tang Yue Arch Complex is most significant and completely well-preserved. At the entrance of the Tang Yue Village stand the seven magnificent stone memorial archways---three built in the Ming dynasty and four in the Qing Dynasty, in the successive order of loyalty, filial piety, women's chastity and charity. Each arch was built in relation with a moving story and vividly reveals in one way or another moral value of the time. The seven arches are of great magnificent and classic elegance with both cultural and artistic values. By the side of the seven archways stand two ancient clan halls---one for men, called as Dun Ben Tang, which means the hall of honesty, and another for women called as Qing Yi Tang, which means the hall of fine examples. Both halls provide vivid statues for the tourists to understand the life and work style of the local merchants' families in the patriarchal-feudal system evolved in Huizhou Area. In addition, the construction of a women’s' hall at the mid 19th century was a rare symbol of women's victory over feudal routine "women were not allowed to enter the clan hall".
Xi Di Village---A Haven of Peace
The most attracting characteristics of Xi Di is 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-washes 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. At the entrance of the village, your attention will be caught by a magnificent memorial archway, which was built in honor of a celebrated official in mid-Ming Dynasty. Inside the village you will find that all the houses were built with one common feature: the wood-bricked structures with two storeys, elaborately carved beams, and colorfully painted pillars. The designs of the wood carvings are all originated from Chinese legendary stories and ancient routine practice. The ornaments with superb workmanship can be seen everywhere in the houses, which really reflect the prosperous period of the former dwellers whose business covered salt trade, pawnshops, ect. The representatives of such houses are several ancient clan halls and merchants' residences the Hall of Kindness, the Hall of Auspices, ect. to name a few.
The Unique Buffalo-shaped Village---Hong Tsun
Hong Tsun Village, evolved in Ming and Qing dynasties, is located in a beautiful surrounding, with green hills around and clear streams winding through. The village, covering the territory of 30 hectares, has a great fame for her water-supplying system.. The bird view of village's shape is like a resting water-buffalo. The running water flows in the winding ditches to every household, and is finally gathered in a little lake at the entrance of the village. The peaceful environment and beautiful surroundings present outsiders a piece of pleasing and tranquil picture of a typical country life in South China. Everyday hundreds of visitors are attracted to the village by its beautiful views and the more than 140 well-preserved ancient houses, among which several magnificent clan halls and the celebrities' former residences are most attracting. Inside these ancient houses you can appreciate the splendid wood carvings on the beams and columns. After your visit, you will conclude that Hong Tsun's major difference from other villages is that the well-preserved ancient houses get along harmoniously well with her beautiful surroundings. Seeing is believing.
A Natural Studio---Namping Village
The most attracting part of Namping Village is her 300 or more ancient residential houses and her maze winding lanes. Rambling in the village, you'll be surprised to find how simple and old-fashioned the village is. Wherever you go, you will see the well-preserved ancient houses with white walls and grey tiles. Inside the courtyard, your eyesight will be caught by the traditional ornaments of the household: stone-carved windows, wood-carved beams and columns. Outside the yard, walking along the stone-paved path, you will soon lose yourself in the maze-liked winding lanes. Traditional-styled houses, old-fashioned decorations inside and winding small lanes stringing every household of the whole village are the main features of Namping, which is the reason why lots of traditional Chinese films chose Namping as scenes on location. So if you have a tour in Yixian County, Namping village is another choice in your tour list.
Huangshan City is easily accessible: a one-hour flight from Shanghai, less than a 2-hour flight from Hongkong, and a 6-hour car or train ride from Nanjing.