Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town

Scene Introduction

bird's view of Lijiang old townThe old town of Lijiang, with an area of over 8 square kilometers, is an exceptional peaceful town nestled at the foot of cloud-wrapped snowy mountain. Lijiang old town has a history going back more than 800 years, and was once a confluence for trade along the old tea horse road. And now, the town, different from other ancient towns in China, bears not only dramatic landscape but unique architecture, history and Naxi minority cultures.

The old Town of Lijiang is famous for the orderly system of waterways and bridges. Criss-crossed by canals and a maze of narrow streets, the town is the only old city built without a city wall. Its layout is free-style and flexible, the houses are close and diverse, and the lanes are narrow and meandering. Many traditional Naxi houses, made of adobe bricks and wood, have typical Naxi architecture style with a pleasant courtyard. The center of the Old Town and its cultural focal point is the Square Street. Four main streets radiate from it in the four cardinal directions, and countless lanes and alleyways extend in all directions. The streets are paved with the local Bluestone, which are neither muddy in the rainy season nor dusty in the dry season.

The people in the town are mainly from the Naxi ethnic group. Visitors can still see many older women in traditional dress. In times past, Naxi women did all the hard work while men were free to indulge in more sophisticated pursuits, such as, poetry and music.

The cobbled streets, bridges and folk houses make a picturesque landscape of this ancient town. In 1997, Old Town of Lijiang was enlisted to be one of the World Cultural Heritage Cities by UNESCO, thus becoming the first cultural heritage city in China.

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