Qing Dy­nasty cul­ture and ar­chi­tec­ture pre­served

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - Zhu Lixin RE­PORTER’S LOG

The high-speed rail­way con­nect­ing He­fei in An­hui prov­ince and Fuzhou in Fu­jian prov­ince is of­ten re­ferred to as the “Most Beau­ti­ful Rail”.

Op­er­a­tional as of June, 2015, the rail­way is a part of the Bei­jing-Fuzhou rail­way and passes the moun­tain­ous re­gions in An­hui, Jiangxi and Fu­jian prov­inces.

Lo­cal of­fi­cials in An­hui re­cently told me that the busiest stop along the rail is Huang­shan sta­tion.

Huang­shan city is best known glob­ally for Huang sh an Moun­tain, or the Yel­low Moun­tain. Many peo­ple de­scribe Huang sh an Moun­tain by quot­ing Xu Xi­ake, a fa­mous travel writer from the Ming Dy­nasty (1368-1644), as say­ing that “One doesn’t want to visit other moun­tains af­ter re­turn­ing from Huang sh an Moun­tain ”.

In 1990, the area was added to the UNESCO World Her­itage list and it was also named a Global Geop­ark in 2004. But in a re­cent visit to the re­gion, I be­lieve that the real plea­sure of trav­el­ing in Huang­shan lies not only up in the clouds, but more im­por­tantly down be­tween the moun­tains.

Last year, more than 3.18 mil­lion tourists vis­ited the moun­tain, while 46.7 mil­lion peo­ple vis­ited all the tourism re­sorts in Huang­shan city, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data.

Re­cently, a group of friends and I vis­ited some of the lo­cal vil­lages by car. Lo­cal res­i­dences painted in white and black— atyp­i­cal ar­chi­tec­tural style in the south­ern part of An­hui, in­flu­enced by the an­cient mer­chant cul­ture dat­ing back to the Qing Dy­nasty (1644-1911)— dot both sides of the road.

As moun­tain­ous as the re­gion is, Huang­shan city en­joys a forestry cov­er­age rate of more than 92 per­cent. Where there is flat land and a river or brook, there is prob­a­bly a vil­lage, and most of the vil­lages are still formed in the an­cient style.

I saw women wash­ing clothes in the crys­tal streams, cat­tle graz­ing on grass land, ac­com­pa­nied by birds, and farm­ers har­vest­ing rice in the fields.

We drove into a vil­lage in Xi­un­ing county, just for some ran­dom sight­see­ing, and I was in­ter­ested in how the lo­cal vil­lagers breed fish.

The vil­lagers drawin the spring and stream water into the cel­lars be­neath their houses, which are of­ten two-floor ones made of brick, stone and wood. Thanks to the good spring water, lo­cals don’t need to do much ex­cept feed the fish veg­etable leaves. They told me the fish­ing method traces its roots to the Song Dy­nasty (960-1279).

But this vil­lage is not as well known as some of the other ones, such as Yix­ian county’s Hong­cun vil­lage, which en­joys hun­dreds of an­cient houses built in the Ming Dy­nasty and the Qing Dy­nasty, and has been listed as an AAAAA tourism spot, the high­est level in the coun­try’s tourism sec­tor.

In these vil­lages, there are plenty of hos­tels in an­cient res­i­dences. An­cient as the out­looks are, the in­side of the hos­tels are mostly well dec­o­rated to make the ten­ants more com­fort­able. If they are in­ter­ested in the orig­i­nal fur­nish­ings of the houses, they can also go to some of the most fa­mous houses, which are listed as cul­tural his­toric relics.

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