The Old Town of Lijiang is located within the mountains of Yunnan, China and is supplied by natural waterways. The town, built with no wall surrounding it, has a rich 800-year history going as far back as the 12th century.
Lijiang was an important center of trade between Tibet, China, Yunnan, India, and other parts of Asia. This is where the famous Silk Road joined up with the Chama Roads to connect to more areas. Dominated by the Naxi culture, a variety of people and cultures resided in this town, making it unique and unlike any others.
Known for it’s ancient waterway system, this town is a wonderful marvel for many who visit.
Black Dragon Pool
The ancient water supply system in the Old Town of Lijiang is very unique. Water is supplied by the Black Dragon Pool, which spreads out into multiple waterways and reaches all of the houses. The town contains close to 350 bridges, some built back during the Ming Dynasty.
Every well in the town has three separate mouths, of which each has a unique use. The water from one mouth is used just for drinking, another mouth’s water for washing any food clean, and the third for washing clothes.
The Naxi (also called Nakhi or Nashi) people have a very unique culture unlike any other in the world. They developed their own writing system with hieroglyphs, the only culture that still uses that type of writing in the world.
Naxi people have their own style of music and created their own religion that is different from other Asian cultures, but in a way blends many of them together.
Due to the variety of cultures, the buildings of the Old Town of Lijiang have unique architecture. Houses are built very close together but are each unique, giving the town a good amount of diversity in the appearance.
The Naxi people decorate their houses with pride, engraving elaborate figures on the walls, doors, and even the windows. Many houses have their own garden with different types of trees and flowers.
Zang style architecture
Dayan Old Town was first built during the Ming Dynasty and is characterized by courtyards, arched gates, and walls with Han and Zang style architecture. Visitors can explore this part of town while walking through cobbled streets enjoying local food, tea, and souvenirs.
Baisha and Shuhe
The Baisha Quarter and the Shuhe Ancient Town are very close to the Old Town. Though not as nice as the Dayan Old Town, the houses here are more traditional, built surrounding a main square. A religious center located in the Baisha Quarter houses numerous ancient paintings from as long ago as the 13th century.
4 sites in this World Heritage
- Dayan Old Town
- Heilongtan Pool
- Baisha Village
- Shuhe Town