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Home Huangshan Attractions Xidi and Hongcun Ancient Villages Introduction

Huangshan Xidi and Hongcun Ancient Villages Introduction


Xidi Ancient Village Introduction

Xidi is a village located in Yi County of south Anhui province. As the most typical representative of Huizhou tourist attractions, Xidi ancient village is at the south foot of Huangshan Mountain, 54 kilometers away from downtown city, 40 kilometers away from Huangshan Mountain Scenic Area and 8 kilometers away from Yi County. The whole village is 700 meters long and 300 meters wide. On November 30, 2000, Xidi ancient village together with Hongcun village was approved as a site of world cultural heritage in the 24th UNESCO world heritage committee conference held in Cairns city, Australia.

Xidi Village History

Xidi is a well-preserved ancient village with great Huizhou regional architectural arts as well as the colorful historic and cultural legacies. Roughly 8 kilometers away from the downtown county, Xidi village was originally built in the Huangyou regin of North Song Dynasty(1049~1054). Up to today, it has experienced a history of approximately 1000 years. In accordance with the historical records, the forefather of Xidi local residents was the son of Li Ye(李晔),Emperor Zhaozong of Tang Dynasty. Due to the turmoil, he escaped and hided in folk community, and changed his family name to be Hu, and this was an important origin of local history. The local tradition is highlighted with education and Confucianism. To be a high official via reading Confucian classics used to their lifelong plan. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, a part of educated residents engaged in business. Thanks to their success in trading, they went in for building the architectural complexes, like the mansions, memorial temples, roads, bridges and other houses. The quality of these architectures is quite high, having experienced hundreds of years, many architectural clusters remain well, and the whole village style keeps the basic feature of village of Ming and Qing Dynasties. The layout of the whole village shapes a boat, and there are 124 ancient folk residential complex preserved well. It boasts the epitome of Chinese traditional culture and the folk residential museum of Ming and Qing Dynasties. Currently, there are more than 1000 residents living in village.

huizhou xidi ancient village
The Classic View of Huizhou Xidi Ancient Village

Tourist Attractions of Xidi Ancient Village

Xidi village is surrounded by hills, and two streams go across village and connect at Huiyuan Bridge in the south of village. The whole village is comprised of one main street and two ways along the streams. The basic features shape the village structural system. The whole streets and alleys are all paved with bluestones from Yi County, and the ancient architecture is mostly built of the woods and bricks. The wood-carvings, stone-carvings and brick-carvings are colorful. The whole village features the flexible change and traditional architectural design. It is the typical show of Huizhou architectural style.

Exactly, there are 124 residential buildings and 3 memorial temples, and the representatives are Lingyunge (Soaring Cloud Pavilion), Cishi Pailou(Decorated Archway of Feudal Prefectural Governor), Ruiyuting(Courtyard of Auspicious Jade), Taoliyuan(Garden of Peach and Plum), East Garden, West Garden, Dafudi(Mansion of Senior Official), Jingaitang(Hall of Respect), Lvfutang(Hall of Trending on Fortune), Qingyunxuan(Pavilion of Green Cloud), Yingfu Hall, Dujing Hall, Yanggao Hall, Shangde Hall, Zhenshi Small Villa, Benevolence Hall, Zhuimu Hall and others. They undoubtedly are the quintessence of Chinese traditional architecture.

The bluestone archway at the end of the village was built in 1578, and it is built with four columns and five floors. The whole archway is towering and delicate, and it symbolizes the superior status of Hu family. Lvfu Hall built in the period of Emperor Kangxi has the elegant displaying and is full of the scholarly atmosphere. The hall is quite huge, and highlighted with the quite educative and philosophical couplets, the representative is:

读书好营商好效好便好-Reading well, trading well, it will be well if the effect is well
创业难守成难知难不难-Working hard, maintaining hard, it will be not hard if the hardness is known

This couple is quite famous among the businessmen and the great legacy of Huizhou businessmen left to the descendants. It shows the real characteristics of Confucian businessmen. There is another ancient mansion named Dafudi, which was built in 1691 as a pavilion-style architecture. The mansion of each family in Xidi village is quite delicate. The themed brick carvings with dais and pavilions, human images as well as the colored woodcarvings and mural paintings embodies the essence of the ancient art of China. The whole village comprised of many ancient architectures and 99 high walls and alleys. It looks like a maze for the first-time travelers.

Xidi Lingyunge(凌云阁), also called Zoumalou(Xidi Running-Horse Tower), is a landmark of Xidi village. There is an Archway of Hu Wenguang (胡文光牌坊), which is locally considered as the Xidi Archway. Hu Wenguang was a high official of Ming Dynasty. And the Emperor built this archway to speak highly of the achievements of Hu Wenguang. In history, there used to 13 archways, and majority of them are built for praising the obedience of son and virginity of women. This archway is the most magnificent and delicate as the representative of Huizhou ancient archways. Lingyunge located on the west side of Hu Wenguang Archway was built in Qing Dynasty. It was said that the family of Hu Guansan(胡贯三, a famous businessman of Huzhou) held the ceremony to welcome a relative from She County, and the premier, called Cao Zhenyong(曹振镛) arrived in Huizhou unexpectedly. For reception, Hu family built this archway in a short time.

Dooryard and Embroidery Room. The local residences share a same characteristic – dooryard, and this is also a highlight of Huzhou architectural style. The doorway is set in front of the mail hall to play the role of getting sunlight and ventilation. Over the past, the businessmen of Huzhou built the tall wall and enclosed mansion in order to hide treasure and prevent thieves. They rarely opened the window, and then set a dooryard to connect the nature. Moreover, it also expresses the philosophy of Chinese merchants: taking collection as the base, so they used to be afraid of the treasure loss. To relieve this worry, they built the dooryard to collect all rainwater into the house, because the water anciently was considered as the wealth, and ancient people called the rich man the White Water Zhen Ren(白水真人), and this is a show of the local people’s attention to collecting fortune. Embroidery Tower actually is an attic exclusively used for the unmarried girl’s weaving work and secretly looking at the young man who visited her family.

Hongcun Ancient Village Introduction

Hongcun Village(宏村), originally meaning popularity, is located at the south foot of Huangshan Mountain Scenic Area, roughly 11 kilometers away from downtown area of Yi county. It is a special village shaping an ox. The whole area of the village is 19.11 hectares. Hongcun village was built in the South Song Dynasty, approximately a period from 1131 to 1162, so it has more than 900 years of history. As mentioned above, the original name of this village was Hong Cun(弘村), which means the village of spreading. On November 30, 2000, Hongcun ancient village together with Xidi village was approved as a site of world cultural heritage in the 24th UNESCO world heritage committee conference.

The History and Tourist Attractions of Hongcun Village

Hongcun village was originally built in South Song Dynasty and the living place of people with the same surname of Wang. It is closed to Yangzhan Peak and Leigang Hill. The whole geographic characteristics are quite special, and the whole village, surrounded by great natural landscape, looks like a Chinese ink wash painting, so it is world-famous ancient picturesque village. The artificial water system of this ox-shape village designed and built by local people is a great architectural miracle at present. The grand Leigang Hill is the head of the ox, and the tall trees are the ox horns, and the village is the body of the ox, and the Yinqing Spring is the ox tharm, and the water goes along it forward to the stomach of ox, a pond named Moon Pond, and is finally stored in South Lake, considered as the ox belly. The local people also built up four bridges crossing the rivers and streams, which are taken as the legs of ox. This special design meets the needs of fire fighting and local residents’ daily life.

Currently, there are more than 140 traditional houses of Ming and Qing Dynasties well preserved. The typical representative of the local architecture is Chengzhi Hall(Hall of Succeeding the Will,承志堂). It is the most famous ancient residential building of south Anhui province. South Lake Academy(南湖书院) profoundly shows the architectural style of Huizhou. The buildings like Jingxiu Hall, Dongxian Hall, Sanli Hall and Xuren Hall all reveal the local history and culture of Huizhou. the local famous tourist attractions also include the view of south lake, Yuezhao Chunxiao(Early Spring of Pool Moonlight,月沼春晓) , Leigang Xizhao(Sunglow of Leigang Hill,雷岗夕照), Tower of Zhishan Hill with Woodcarving, Qixu Lake, Tachuan Qiuse(Autumnal View of Tachuan, 塔川秋色), Mukeng Zhuhai(Bamboo Forest of Mukeng,木坑竹海), Shuangxi Yingbi(Double Streams Mirror Green,双溪映碧) and Wancun Mingci(Memorial Temple of Ming Dynasty,万村明祠).

In 1999, a Plan of Hongcun Village Protection and Development was approved by National Construction Ministry and Bureau of Ancient Heritage Administration. In 2000, Hongcun village was written into the List of World Heritage. In 2001, Hongcun village was listed to be the key site under the national protection. In 2003, it was selected into the first batch of national historic and cultural villages, which is only comprised of 12 villages.

The Architectural Feature of Hongcun Village

The main architecture of Hongcun village is the residential buildings and private gardens, plus some public service sites like the schools and memorial temples. The whole building complex forms a whole system. All types of buildings focus on the decoration. The woodcarving, brick-carving and stone-carving are all eloquent and valued artistically. The alleys and streets in village are mostly built along the interior water system. The folk residential building are chiefly built around the Yuezhao(月沼). The houses are all double layout (the front part, the courtyard and the rear part). Some big families bring the water into the mansions to open a fishing pond, which are represented by South Lake Academy, Lexu Hall, Chengzhi Hall, Chengyi Hall, Songhe Hall and Biyuan Garden.

huizhou hongcun ancient village
The Classic View of Huizhou Hongcun Ancient Village

South Lake Academy located on the north side of South lake is a private school comprised of six different parts built in late Ming Dynasty, and historically called Yihu Liuyuan(倚湖六院). In 1814, it was reconstructed. After the reconstruction, the whole academy is compsied of Zhidang Hall, Wenchang Pavlion, Qimeng Pavilion, Huiwen Pavilion, Wanghu Tower and Qi Garden(祗园). Lexu Hall(乐叙堂) is the memorial temple of Wang family, and it is located at the middle of north side of Yuezhao. Lexu Hall is the only architecture of Ming Dynasty in village; especially the woodcarvings, which are quite splendid.

Chengzhi Hall was built in 1855 was the mansion of Wang Daigui(汪定贵), a big salt businessman, and it is the biggest architectural complex in village, roughly covering 2100 square meters, and it is made up of more than 60 rooms centering on nine dooryards. The main hall and the real hall are both the three-room architecture with cloister style, and two sides are the private education hall and fishing pond hall, and the rear yard is a garden. In the mansion ,there are also the sites for taking opium named Tunyun Xuan(吞云轩, Pavilion of Swallowing Cloud) and playing Mahjong named Paishan Ge(排山阁, Pavilion if Pushing Mountain). The whole mansion is raised by 136 wood columns, and wood decorations are quite impressive and themed with many educative stories or historical anecdotes. By the way, Hongcun village is also the site of making movie, Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon(卧虎藏龙)

The Fengshui Design of Hongcun Village

During the reign of Yongle in Ming Dynasty, the governor of Hongcun Village invited He Kaida(何可达), a famous regional fengshui master, for three times, and He Kaida thought of the geography of Hongcun village as a lying ox, so it had better be built as the shape of ox. The local people in line with the suggestions of Mr. He expanded a springwater site to be a half-moon-style pond, and the shape of pond looks like an ox stomach, and then built a stone dam on Jiyang River in the west side of village. They built a water channel with more than 400 meters long, and they brought the water into the village to go nearby to each houses, and it is the ox tharm. Four bridges across the Yushan Stream are the four legs of this ox.

It was said that this half-moon pond had been dug as a round-moon type, but the wife of the 76th ancestor insisted on digging a half-moon one based on her viewpoint of the blooming flower will fall and the full moon will decline, so as to warn the coming generations against jauntiness and arrogance.

Subsequently, the Fengshui master thought that the ox had two stomachs, and in the angle of the Fengshui, the moon pond was the Inner Yang Water, and it needs a counterpart of Outer Yang Water. After achieving the oneness of inner yang water and outer yang water, the residents would get achieved. Hence, South Lake was opened as the other stomach of Hongcun village. Impressively, a bridge crossing the South Lake looks like a launching arrow. It is built following the site of Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake, a classic view of West Lake Scenic Area of Hangzhou. The whole lake with the bridge seems a bow and arrow. South Lake shows the traditional aesthetics of ancient China, and it is rebuilt for three times.

 The Highlighted Attractions of Huangshan

huangshan mountain xidi and hongcun villages tunxi old street chengkan village
Huangshan Mountain Xidi & Hongcun Villages Tunxi Old Street Huizhou Chengkan Village
qiyun mountain yuliang ancient dam and street tangyue paifang picturesque huizhou show
Huizhou Qiyun Mountain Yuliang Dam & Street Tangyue Paifang Complex Picturesque Huizhou Show

 The Travel Guide of Huangshan

huangshan travel huangshan tours huangshan attractions huangshan travel tips
Huangshan Travel Huangshan Tours Huangshan Attractions Huangshan Travel Tips

Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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