Difference between revisions of "Hongcun"
Revision as of 08:19, 30 January 2010
Hongcun (宏村, Hóngcūn') is an ancient village located in Yixian County, Anhui.
Hongcun is the China you think of when you think of ancient China. Imagine an old man stroking his wispy grey beard while smoking a long thin pipe and this is where he probably lives. Hongcun’s narrow cobblestone paved lanes winding around boxy whitewashed buildings with pointed black tiled roofs offer a pleasant place to spend a few unhurried days in a beautiful part of rural China. Several larger residences reflect the wealth of its one time resident in the ornate carvings on every beam and column. Many of the buildings date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties and are regarded as the best examples of typical Anhui-style architecture.
The layout of Hongcun resembles the shape of an Ox and is crisscrossed by a complex network of water canals feeding into the central half-moon pond and southern lake.
Though Hongcun isn’t on most China travelers itinerary’s many would have unknowingly seen it in the background of several scenes from the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Hongcun doesn’t feel like it has given itself over to tourism. Tacky souvenir stalls and pushy touts are few and otherwise easy to avoid. Apart from the odd noisy Chinese tour group who bus in for an hour, the atmosphere is quiet and low key. This is real village where people go about their daily lives with little concession to your presence. They hang fish out to air dry at the front of the house to preserve it, not to entice you to buy it for a souvenir.
Hongcun and nearby Xidi (西递; Xīdì) were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2000.
Hongcun was built by business men from the once famous trading group Huishang (徽商) about 500 years ago. Because of its special geographical location and ingenious local culture, most of the architectural specialties of that period have been preserved. The layout of this village takes the shape of a cow, where its famous ancient drainage system plays the role of 'stomach' and 'abdomen'. Gutters covered with grey flagstone are spread into every alley in the village which is centered around Yuezhao (月沼), the moon shaped water pool.
From Tangkou at the foot of Mount Huangshan, take a bus for ¥14 (2008) or a taxa for ¥80-150. The bus service is far from periodic, so confirm your return schedule with the driver when you board.
Family inns are available in the village. Single or shared rooms come with bathroom and air conditioner in winter time(additional charge apply here).