Ancient Anhui Villages

Hongcun Village Overview

  • Hongcun Village is about 11 km from the county town of Yixian County. The whole village was originally laid out in the shape of an ox. The west end of the village, called Leigang Hill, resembles an ox head and that is where two huge trees stand like ox horns. At the front and rear of the village are four bridges that span a Jiyin stream and resemble four legs of the ox. The several hundred well-arranged houses form the body of the ox (They have been referred to as museum of Ming and Qing residential houses in China), and the 1,000-meter-long Jiyin stream that meanders through the village is regarded as its intestines. A crescent pond in the village is the ox's fourth stomach, and a larger South Lake is its reticulum, the second stomach. The villagers of Hongcun long ago designed this marvelous landscape.

    Because of this extraordinary feature of the village, Hongcun Village was added to the list of the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in late 2000. It is also the location for the famous prize film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.

    All the buildings follow local architectural style, have exquisite carvings and are magnificent symbols of its time.

    The village has nice scenery - simple but elegant, a fine mixture of old houses, green hills and clear creeks.

Best time to visit?

  • All year round but it does get quite cold in winter.

How to get there?

  • Catch a bus or a taxi from Huangshan.

What to see?

  • Lexu Hall: It's also called the Zhongjia Hall. It's the ancestral temples of Wang family. It lies in the center of the north bank of the Moon Pond. The Lexu Hall and the Moon Pond were all built in the Yongle period of the Ming Dynasty. It has always been the place where Wang family offer sacrifice to their ancestors, celebrate and meet. The Lexu Hall is composed of three parts- gate tower, hall and ancestral temples. There used to be a tower at the back of the main hall. The brick carvings on the gate, wall and torii are very exquisite.

    The Southern Lake:  The Southern Lake is located in the due south of Hongcun. It was built in the Wanli period of the Ming Dynasty (AD.1607).It's a man-made lake, covering an area of 20,000 hectares. The whole surface of the lake assumes the shape of a huge bow. The bank of the lake located in the back of the bow can be divided into two layers. The upper is about several Zhangs (unit of length) wide, which is floored with slates and cobblestones. The lower is planted with poplar and willows. The Southern Lake Academy, the Yuwei Study of the Qing Dynasty and long lines of folk houses are located in the bowstring part.

    Moon Lake:  The Moon Lake has a history of 500-600 years. Originally, it's an active fountain. Spring issues forth continuously all year around. Until now, people still can see ducks play in the pond, breeze sweeps and wisps of smoke curl in the air.

    Chengzhi Hall: It's the provincial level key unit for cultural relics protection, located in the middle section of the canal. It was built in the 5th year of the Xianfeng period of the Qing dynasty. It's the house of Wandinggui, who was a great salt businessman in the later Qing dynasty of China. The Chengzhi Hall is vast and majestic. The structure design is perfect. It's well built and equipped. There are 7 floors, 9 dooryards, more than 60 rooms and 132 wooden pillars. The hall is mainly built with brick and wood, decorated with three kinds of exquisitely engraved things (stone, brick and wood). It's the classical work of old folk house of South Anhui.

    Biyuan: The Biyuan waterside pavilion is near the canals of Hongcun. It was built in the end of the Ming dynasty, but then destroyed. It was rebuilt in the 15th year of the Daoguang period of the Qing dynasty (AD1825). It covers an area of 278 square meters and structural area is 256 square meters. It's one representative of structure with waterside pavilion of the Qing dynasty in Hongcun.