Ancient charm of China: the old town of Huangyao


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Despite its rapid industrialization, there are still corners in China that have retained their original color.

The ancient towns and villages of China are places where traditions are well preserved in terms of architecture, way of life, folk customs and craftsmanship.

The new series “Ancient Charm of China” intends to give you a glimpse of the rustic local charms of China.

Our first episode features one of the most beautiful old towns in China.

Aerial view of Huangyao Old Town in Hezhou, southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. / Photo VCG

Aerial view of Huangyao Old Town in Hezhou, southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. / Photo VCG

Nestled in Zhaoping County of Hezhou City, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Huangyao Old Town is 200 kilometers from Guilin, one of the most visited tourist spots in Guangxi . It is said that the city was named after two common surnames at the time – Huang and Yao.

Covering an area of ​​3.6 square kilometers, Huangyao has typical karst landscapes and abundant water resources. Streams and rivers mark the land around the old town like a serpent.

Huangyao Old Town is located in the lower reaches of the Lijiang River in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. / Photo VCG

Huangyao Old Town is located in the lower reaches of the Lijiang River in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. / Photo VCG

Huangyao has a history of almost 1000 years with its origins dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It reached its peak in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1733-1735).

For this reason, many buildings from the Qing and Ming eras remain unchanged in their architectural styles today. Today, it is home to around 300 folklore houses, 20 temples and ancestral halls, and 10 pavilions and opera stages.

Many buildings have retained their Qing and Ming architectural styles in Huangyao Old Town, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, southern China. / Photo VCG

Many buildings have retained their Qing and Ming architectural styles in Huangyao Old Town, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, southern China. / Photo VCG

Traditional festivals and customs have been going on for hundreds of years. During the Chinese Lunar New Year, more than 20 traditional performances are held, including dragon dance, lion dance, and cor suona (Chinese trumpet) show.

On July 14 in the Chinese lunar calendar, local residents often come to the riverside and put pomelo lanterns in the river to celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival, or Zhongyuan Jie in Chinese.

The night is brightly lit by household lanterns lined up along the street of Huangyao Old Town in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. / Photo VCG

The night is brightly lit by household lanterns lined up along the street of Huangyao Old Town in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. / Photo VCG

Huangyao tofu is a must-try local dish when you visit, as it is exclusively made and sold in Huangyao. Additionally, fermented black soy is often added to its local specialties to create a distinctive flavor.

It usually takes a day or two to tour the old town due to its small size. But you can always linger longer to experience more of its local hospitality and culture.

Entrance fee is 100 yuan (US $ 14.5) and valid ID is required to purchase the ticket.

(Video edited by Wang Baozhu, cover image by Qu Bo)


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