Geography >Natural Scenic Spots and National Parks
Lijiang Ancient Town Tourist Attraction

Lijiang Ancient Town, also known as Dayan Township, is one of the second batch of the approved historical and cultural famous cities. Located in the central part of Lijiangba, on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, it was first built in the late Song Dynasty and the early Yuan Dynasty (the late 13th century), with a total area of 3.8km2. It boasts its local customs and recreation activities, especially the unique Naxi ancient music, Dongba rituals, divinity culture, pubs in the ancient town and Naxi People’s Torch Festival.

Shuhe District

Shuhe District lies 4 kilometers northwest of Old Town of Lijiang. It is a small market town neighboring Old Town of Lijiang. Before the Tang Dynasty, there were populated communities in Baisha and Shuhe. The old geographical name of “Shuhe” appears in related entries in the General Chorography of the Yuan Dynasty. By the Yuan and Ming dynasties, Shuhe had become a “big populated community” in the Lijiang basin area. In those years when Xu Xiake travelled in “Jietuo Lin” in Baisha, he wrote in his travel notes: “Looking west at Zhonghai, I saw and a big populated community on it. That is Shihe Court.” “Shihe” is present-day Shuhe. Shuhe, known as the town of clear springs and town of tea and horse trade, is called “Shaowu” in the Naxi language. The meaning of the geographical name itself derives from Jubao Mountain behind the village. Local people call it “Wu Shuawu”, meaning the “peak of piling”. Therefore, Shuawu can be interpreted “village under the peak”. Shuhe borders Yulong on the north and Maan on the south, backs three mountains Jubao, Longquan, and Lianhua, and has two vauclusian springs Jiuding and Shuhe. Three river systems such as the Jiuding River, the Qinglong River, and the Shuhe River develop here and run through the whole town. The old town takes the green mountain as the screen and the rivers as the ribbons, stays out of the wind, exposes itself to the sun, and has plenty of water sources. The layout of the town is compact and leisurely. The traditional method of constructing the town system with mountains, rivers, open space, and roads is fully employed. Shuhe is situated at the foot of the mountain and beside the river. Houses are built down the hillside. Some of the buildings are typical courtyards built in the ways of tetraena five yards or three squares a screen wall, others are variations and irregularities built according to the mountain. Old Town of Dayan is built in the pattern of Old Town of Shuhe. It is built according to the natural features of the mountain and the river. It is the further development of Old Town of Shuhe. The Qinglong Bridge across the Qinglong River, 4 meters high, 4.5 meters wide, and 25 meters long, was built during the Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty. It is the largest stone arch bridge in Lijiang. The historical and cultural sights of Shuhe include “the Eight Sights of Shuhe”, that is, “Yan Liu Ping Qiao”, “Yeshi Yinghuo”, “Longmen Wangyue”, “Xueshan Daoying”, “Duanbei Qiaoyin”, “Yushui Qinren”, “Xishan Hongye”, and “Shilian Yedu”.

Old Town of Dayan, Lijiang

Old Town of Lijiang took shape in the late Song Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty. In the early Ming Dynasty, it developed into a very big town. From the late Qing Dynasty to the period of the Republic of China, it became an important distributing center of commodity in the northwest of Yunnan and an important town on the Silk Road in southwest China. Old Town of Lijiang is 2416 meters above sea level, covers a total area of 3.8 square kilometers, and has a population of more than 25,000 residents. As it is surrounded by mountains all around, it is neither cold in winter nor hot in summer. The site selection and construction of Lijiang highlight the traditional aesthetic principle of complying with nature. Yuquan water runs from the northwest of Old Town through the whole town in three branches such as the West River, the Middle River, and the East River, which sub-divide into numerous canals. Inside the town there are many vauclusian springs and spring holes pouring out water. The town is built with the method of natural building. The streets are properly laid out. The main streets are close to the river, and the small lanes close to canals. Clear spring water runs across the streets and passes by houses. Roads are distributed along the canals. Houses are built against the mountains. The heights of the buildings are well-arranged. A harmonious streetscape is formed. Walking along the streaky stone road, you will feel as if you have come to a water town full of archaic rhyme. In front of the houses are canals with flowing water gurgling. On the banks of the river are drooping willows, casting beautiful reflections in the river. There are 365 stone or wooden bridges in different shapes in the old town, which makes the town the champion in China in density of bridges. The vernacular dwellings in the town are modeled simply and vividly, and decorated elegantly. The common forms are three squares a screen wall, tetraena five yards, dwellings with both frontyard and backyard, and one entrance two courts. The residents of the town like ornamental plant bonsai. Naxi people are fond of lyre-playing, chess, calligraphy and painting. On the screen wall are generally landscape paintings of flowers & birds nd beautiful lines of poems. Walking into a folk house, you are sure to feel a strong cultural ambience. In the center of the town is a square, the well-known “Square Market”. From here four main streets extend in four directions with small lanes interweaving into a net, making convenient transportation. Road greening and leisure space add vitality to the old town and increase the throughput of passengers. All the streets are paved with streaky stones. Therefore, there is neither mud in rainy seasons nor dust in dry winter. The streets and lanes are lined with tea houses, art galleries, and craft stores with a dazzling array of beautiful exhibits. Tourists in different skin colors at home and abroad stroll in the old town. Bridges, running water, and houses, it seems as if you are reading a landscape poem that cheers the heart and pleases the feelings. A feeling of being carefree in the countryside wells up in your heart. On December 4, 1997, Old Town of Lijiang succeeded in applying for world cultural heritage, becoming the first group of the 99 famous historic and cultural cities in China to be listed as world cultural heritage. In September 2001, Old Town of Lijiang was awarded the Demonstration Site of China Civilized Scenic Spot Area. On December 26, 2002, the State Council approved renaming Lijiang Prefecture a city. The administrative district of Old Town of Lijiang is put under the administration of the Old Town District of Lijiang City. By 2007, Old Town of Lijiang over 10 years since its success in applying for world cultural heritage had become a card of China tourism that owned three world heritages and an international boutique tourist attraction that owned numerous honors.

Mu's Residence in Old Town of Lijiang

Mu's Residence is the government office for Tusi Mu. It is located at the eastern foot of Shizi Mountain, now called Museum of Old Town of Lijiang. It was rebuilt after the February 3rd Earthquake in 1996. Mu's Residence covers an area of 46 mu (more than 3 hectares), and its axle wire is 369 long. Arranged orderly from west to east are Sanqing Hall, Yuyin Building, Guangbi Building, Dharmapalas Hall, Ten-Thousand-Book Tower, Meeting Hall, and Loyalty Archway. The residence rests on Shizi Mountain to gather vitality. The arch welcomes jade water,and the vein of Taiji is developed. Yulong Dragon is located in the north and the tiger howls in the south. The layout is fantastic and the atmosphere is harmonious. Its buildings are magnificent and handsome, with carved beams and painted rafters, attracting people’s attention. In the Ming Dynasty, Xu Xiake was not allowed to enter Mu’s Residence because of the “Duo Jian System” and he had to sigh by looking at Mu’s Residence in the distance: “The palace is as beautiful as the Imperial Palace.” Exhibition venues for Naxi politics, economy, military, cultural education, and religion are established in this ancient architectural complex restored almost in accordance with its original shape. It deserves the name of a great showplace of Lijiang Naxi culture.

Knowledge Graph

1 Maintenance fees for Old Town of Lijiang shall be collected by entrusting organizations operating the scenic spots in the scenic region, hotels, inns, and travel agencies, and the collecting organization shall check the payment and levy a supplementary payment.

2 Protect and manage the world cultural heritage Old Town of Lijiang.

3 Be responsible for the implementation of the projects of the protective infrastructure construction and the environment improvement of Old Town of Lijiang.