Time flies but history remains in every part of China, one of the most ancient countries in the world. Visit one of these old villages and you will find yourself travel through the time to the past, escape this modern world to the spectacular landscapes of the ancient times.
1) Hongcun Village (宏村)– “The village in Chinese painting”
First founded in the Shaoxing period or the Southern Song Dynasty (AD. 1131 – 1162), Hongcun is located in Yi County, Anhui Province . The whole village is built in the shape of a sleeping cow surrounding by the green mountain with large rice fields. In the past Hongcun the only way for Yixian to do business in Beijing, and nowadays, it has become the inspiration for many Chinese artists and was also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 2000.
2) Zhang Guying Village (张谷英) – The “First Village of the Sun”
Zhang Guying Village was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is named after geomancer Zhang Guying who constructed this whole 50,000 square meters area. Located in the east of Yueyang County, “The First Village of the Sun” has attracted attention from architects to tourists for the antique design of the buildings and decorations, with the mysterious atmosphere from the lane-way to the dooryard.
3) Likeng Village (理坑)– The “Origin of Neo-Confucianism”
Established in the late Song Dynaty (960AD – 1279AD), the quiet and peaceful Likeng village is the hometown of 36 county magistrates in seventh rank or higher, 16 Jinshi passing 3 government administered examinations and 92 members of China’s literati. One of those famous people living here includes doctrine Zhu Xi – an influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China, which is why Likeng is also called the “Origin of Neo-Confucianism”. Located in Wuyuan County in Jiangxi Pronvice, its beautiful, romantic landscape with rich culture and history has made Likeng village one of the most favorable places for shooting several TV Series and movies.
4) Peitian Village (培田) – The shining symbol of Hakka architecture
Located under the Guanzhai Mountain in Liancheng County, Fuijian province, Peitian Village is formed between the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1616 – 1911). Until now the village still retains its original structure with several ancient mansions and ancestral temples following Hakka (客家) architecture. One of the most famous building here is Guan Ting – an officials’ accommodation in ancient times. Located in the central of the village, the building has many rooms and hall which are not influenced by the sunlight thanks to the special structure of patios.
5) Zhuge Bagua Village (诸葛八卦村) – The descendants of Zhuge Liang’s Village
The history of Three Kingdoms period (AD 220–280) doesn’t only record bloody war between the three states: Wei (魏), Shu (蜀), and Wu (吳), but it was also the glorious time of many outstanding leaders and strategists. One of them was Zhuge Liang, the legendary diplomat and strategist of Shu. He was one of the most accomplished strategist of his era with several strategies and inventions that won several battles. At the end of Song Dynasty (around 1300s) following the design of Zhudge Liang’s Eight Diagram military formation, his 27thdescendant – Zhuge Dashi built this village for Zhudge generations. Located in Jinhua City, Zhejian Province, the village with hundreds years of history has a distinctive design following the balance theory of Yin and Yang.
While the structure of the village is like a labyrinth for visitors, it has helped to protect the people here through many regime changes and natural disaster. Many architectural sites from the Ming and Qing are still preserved until now. Dagong Hall, the memorial of Zhuge Liang which is 600 years old, and the Ancestral Hall with 400 years history are still remained as history attractions with their remarkable cultural values.
6) Xiaohuang Dong Village 小黄侗乡 – The village of Folk Art
Located in Congjiang County, Guizhou, Xiaohuang Dong Village is where Dong’s minority’s architecture, customs and culture meet. This place is quite isolated to the outside world as people here still keep their primitive lifestyle like doing farm hunting, and weaving cloth. Xiaohuang is also the hometown of many folk songs called “Galao” or “Dage”, which makes the village renowned for being recognized as the Village of Folk Art by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China 1996.
7) Danba Tibetan Village (丹巴) – “The Country of A Thousand Watchtowers”
Lying on the border of Sichuan province, Danba Tibetan village has several ancient watchtowers. Ethnic culture and traditions are still retain in people’s costumes and activities such as archery or horse-racing. Local families live in stone house built like fortresses with colorful painting decorated across the hilltops, made the village stands out to be unforgettable.
8) Guoyu Village (郭峪) – The village of rich natural resources
Built in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907), Guoyu Village located in Shanxi Province is structured with great wall, strong battlements, temples and official buildings, which, on the other hand, influenced by the Ming’s architectural style . This is the place that long cultural history and rich in natural resources, which made it outstanding since the ancient times until now.
9) Cuandixia Village (爨底下)– The dramatic mountain village
Located in 90 kilometers to the west of Beijing, Cuandixia village is founded by a Han clan member during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). Many courtyard houses built in the Ming and early Qing Dynaties but still remains until now. Surrounding the village is dramatic mountain-scape which can be seen from small temples up high.