China boasts a number of ancient towns in various regions which have become the precious wealth of China, famous for their well-preserved historic buildings and traditional styles as well as characteristics of ancient towns. The followings are top 8 Chinese ancient towns that are worth visiting.
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The Ancient Town of Phoenix is situated in Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, on the western boundary of Hunan Province.
Here houses were built up on both sides of the Tuo Jiang River and dozens of alleys were paved with flagstones running between the houses.
The architecture has been well-preserved to give visitors an idea of what life was like 1000-year ago, displaying a harmoniously traditional Chinese paintings.
2. Wuzhen Water Town (Wu Town)
Wuzhen – an ancient scenic town lying in Tongxiang, a mountainous district in the northern of Zhejiang Province – defines its more than 1300-year historic beauty by the incredible harmony of very old stone bridges, primitive flagstone lanes, and exquisitely carved works.
The good preservation of more than 80% of ancient houses and store along the riverside or the slow lifestyle here seems to date the time back to thousands of years ago.
3. Zhouzhuang Water Town
Regarded as the “Venice of the East”, Zhouzhuang – an ancient town in Jiangsu province, China, about a one-hour travel from Shanghai – has the very beauty of a primitive town with arched stone bridges crossing the canals and the old mossy house reflecting on the water.
In an area of 124 acres (half a square kilometer), 60 percent of the existing structures here were built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, which is from 1368 to 1911.
Taking the most convenient form of transport here, a bamboo boat, you will admire some of the breathtaking sights one by one.
4. Zhujiajiao Ancient Town (Zhu Family Corner)
Zhujiajiao- located in a suburb of Shanghai city – is one of the most primitive water towns in China with a history of more than 1700 years. The town prospered through clothing and rice businesses during Ming and Qing Dynasties.
36 bridges in different shapes and styles, numerous ancient buildings along the riverbanks and even a Qing dynasty post office can still be found in Zhujiajiao. This is basically a water town so boat sailing is the best choice to enjoy the utmost of its beauty.
5. Xitang Water Town
Xitang is a famous town with thousands of years of history, lying in Jiashan County in Jiaxing City, Zhejiang Province.
It dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC) and the Warring States Period (476 BC-221 BC). Its flat terrain is marked by a peaceful, natural, and lyrical environment with rivers running through it.
People there, whether local residents or visitors, feel that this is fairyland with archaic houses and small gardens of Jiangnan style.
6. Lijiang Old Town (Dayanzhen)
The Old Town of Lijiang, a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture, is a central town of the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Province. The old town looks like a big jade ink slab, therefore, got the alias the Town of Big Ink Slab (Dayanzhen).
Located on the plateau which is 2,400 meters (7,874 feet) above the sea level and in an area of 3,8 square kilometers (912 acres), it was firstly built in the late Song Dynasty and the early Yuan Dynasty and has a history of more than 800 years.
The commodious and applied houses are mostly timber and tile structure compound with a garden, each has engraved vivid figures of people and animals on doors and windows, beautiful flowers and trees in the garden.
Lijiang is the most beautiful is in fall when leaves turn yellow, water is purely blue, and snow covers on the peak of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
Hongcun is a village in Yi County in the historical Huizhou region of southern Anhui Province, China, near the southwest slope of Mount Huangshan.
In 2000, Hongcun was listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
It is the most representative local-style residences in southern Anhui Province with the rustic architecture among the best in China: exquisite carvings on door frames, lattice walls, columns, and beams in the halls.
8. Huangyao old town
Located in Guangxi province, it is an ancient town with over 1,000 years history, featuring exquisite pavilions and temples, unique folk houses and stone roads and tremendous ancient trees.
Due to the town being surrounded by numerous steep limestone mountains and caves, it’s a wonderful place for those who like adventure and exploration.
You can also enjoy relaxing days when traveling on rustic bamboo boats and tasting some wine in this peaceful town.