A Brief Introduction to Huangshan City (1)


Huangshan (the Yellow Mountains) City borders on Zhejiang and Jiangxi Provinces. It has under its jurisdiction three districts (Tunxi, Huangshan and Huizhou) and four counties (Shexian,Yixian, Xiuning and Qimen), which cover much of the area used to be known as Huizhou. The Yellow Mountains also reach some areas in Taiping and other nearby counties. The scenery of the Yellow Mountains unfolds as they extend. Flowing in front of the Mountains is the blue Xin'an River. On the back of the mountain lies the placid Taiping Lake. At the eastern end of the Mountains is situated the Qingliang Peak Natural Reservation. The Guniujiang Natural Reservation is located at the western end of the Mountains. On both sides of the southern slopes are the quiet and secluded Yixian County and Shexian County known for their historic and cultural heritage- Further ahead, right to the south is the river town of Tunxi District, which is the seat of the Huangshan Municipal Government. To the southwest lies Qiyun Mountain which is known as Baiyue, in Chinese: White Mountain. These picturesque scenic areas are crisscrossed by winding brooks and dotted with aged houses, streets, bridges, stone archways, pagodas, clan halls. The region is also easily accessible by air, railways. Huangshan is renowned as the national park of nature and a Museum of history- The following are sketches of the scenic spots-Houses of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (16th---19th centuries) in Yixian County. As it is hidden in the mountains, Yixian County is known as a land of peach blossoms, meaning a haven of peace in Chinese literature. On entering the county, one can hardly see any houses along the stream between the green hills. However, going through the hill passes, An open basin comes into sight where over 3,000 well-preserved pre-20th century houses are shaded on the slopes of the green hills, which are acclaimed by tourists and scholars as the most beautiful villages in the world and a treasure house of the traditional Chinese house style.
Xidi Village and Hong Village attract particular attention for the clustered houses. The topography of Xidi Village is well planned. 122 houses, in black, white and gray colors, were built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Each has white walls, with elaborated-shaped eaves and courtyards. The entrance gates and windows display typical features of local wood, brick and stone carving. Of particular interest is a glided balcony overreaching into the lane at Dafudi, the name of a clan hall, It was said that anyone fortunate enough to catch the colorful ball thrown by the young lady from the balcony could win her love. Crystal-clear water in the ditches connecting every household provide endless stream to the housewife for daily use. Standing tall at the village entrance is the Hu Wenguang Stone Archway, a single-structured and four storied building that is composed of three parts and supported by four pillars, the archway was a masterpiece of the Ming Dynasty architecture, testifying to the past prosperity of the village's history. Not far from Xidi Village is Hong Village which is also famed for its pre-20th Century buildings. What is unique about the village is that it is ox-shaped topography. The high ground is like the ox head, the ancient trees at the entrance are like ox horns and bridges like ox hoofs. The houses form the trunk and the river is like an ox tail. The 1,000 meter long zigzagging ditch is compared to ox intestines, and the Moon-shaped pond, Nanhu Lake, take the shape of ox stomach. Thanks to the endless supply of water, flowers and fruits are grown in abundance in every courtyard, with water corridors winding through them. Fish is also raised in the pond. In addition, the pre-20th Century houses in Xi Wu, clan halls also enjoy a great reputation. The historical and cultural renown town---Shexian County, Shexian County was set up back in the Qin Dynasty 0ver 2,000 years ago, which was the seat of the local government in the Tang, Song, Yuan Ming and Qing Dynasties. In those days it was also popularly known as Huizhou. Throughout history, it is the political, economic and cultural center of the southern mountain region of Anhui Province. The growth of local commerce reached its peak during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the town became famous nation-wide for its wealth. Because of its rich historical and cultural heritage as well as the numerous scenic spots, the Chinese Government designated Shexian County as one of the cities and towns of historical and cultural renown in China. 
Two pagodas of the Song Dynasty. Changqing Temple Pagoda stands high at the foot of Xigan Hill along the Lianjiang River. Filled with earth inside, it is an imposing square-shaped seven storied pagoda, with color Buddhist images painted on the wall and elaborate eaves at the pagoda top. The iron decorations hanging on the eaves sound like bell in the gentle wind. Xinzhou Pagoda is a simple and natural designed stone structure in the west fern part of the town. There are diamond shaped stone eaves on each of the five stories and Buddhist inscripti0ns on the pagoda surface. Both pagodas are over 800 years old.
Three Aged Bridges. They are Taiping Bridge, Wannian Bridge, Ziyang Bridge. These stone arch bridges built in the Ming Dynasty stand across the Lianjiang River that flows around the town. With a length of 279.87 meters, Taiping Bridge has two lanes and 16 arches. Three wonders of the traditional architecture. They refer to stone archways, ancient clan halls and age-old houses. Built in the Ming Dynasty, Xuguo Stone Archway located in the county town is under government preservation because of its cultural value. It is a well-designed big four directional stone archway supported by eight pillars, with all the beams linking one another. The three storied front archway and back archway are each supported by two pillars, and the three storied side archways are each supported by two pillars. Exquisite patterns of rare animals and birds were carved on the archway. Leaning against the pillars are 12 vividly carved stone lions. There stand seven archways (two of the Ming Dynasty and five of the Qing Dynasty) on the road in Tangyue Village in the western suburb. Also in Tangyue Village there are two ancient clan halls, one for male ancestors and other for female ancestors. And it is rare to find clan hall for female ancestors. Located on the gorgeous Purple Clouds Peak, Qiankou (now changed as Huizhou District) boasts of age-old houses and clan halls. The rugged looking houses stand in interesting contrast with the supporting poles which have delicate flower patterns carved on them. All the visiting scholars, both Chinese and foreign, consider it to be an important place to study the traditional Chinese architecture. Traditional Chinese architectural structures such as pavilions, towers, and gardens are found everywhere in Shexian County, such as the famous octagonal Pavilion, Baolun Mansion , Li Bai Povilion, Tangan Garden, just to name a few. Scenic spots like Wulao Hill, Xigan Hill, Wenzheng Hill, Qingliang Peak, the Xin'an River, Fengle Lake are all popular tourist spots. This land of cultural heritage has produced many famous artists and personalities of distinction, such as Jian Jiang, founder of the Xin'an School of traditional Chinese painting, his successors Huang Binhong and Wang Caibai and the great Chinese educator Tao Xingzhi. Naturally, One mustn't forget the renowned four treasures of the study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper) made in Shexian County. 
The Hill Town of Tunxi. Tunxi is the seat of the Huangshan Municipal Government. The lush Huashan Hill and Yangmei Hill lie across the city. The Xin'an River which is joined by Hengjiang River and Shuai Shui River flows through the city. Hence, Tunxi is also known as a, river town. It is today a garden city as well as the tourist center of Southern Anhui. Tunxi has been a strategic location throughout the past dynasties. It became a thriving commercial city in the Ming and Qing Dynasties when trade was most prosperous in Anhui. The old street is also referred to as Song T0wn in an epitome of its glorious past. The old street is stone slab paved and about 1,000 meters long. 0n both sides of the street are shops in classical Ming and Qing architectural style, with resplendent halls, exquisite pavilions, carved doors and windows, black tiles and whitewashed walls. This plus the Xin'an River nearby provides the living history of the social life of the Ming and Qing Dynasties as well as ideal background for shooting films of classical themes. Over 20 films and TV plays based on classical Chinese stories have been shot here. Tunxi is also the birthplace of many renowned historical figures. There is located the residence of Cheng Dawei, a famous Ming mathematician as well as the magnificent residence of Cheng Minzheng, a noted Ming writer. The memorial museum for Dai Zhen, a famous Qing philosopher, is also in Tunxi. These places are frequented by visitors. What is also worth mentioning is that the factory making the famous Anhui ink stick is also located in Tunxi. The factory has over 7,800 mould plates for making ink stick, which are considered a national treasure.