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Experience Hakka Culture in Luodai Ancient Town

 2014-02-03    Ada    Tours    Chengdu    2204  

Luodai Ancient Town is the most well-preserved ancient Hakka town near Chengdu. It has a good reputation as "the best Hakka town in China." Luodai Ancient Town is close to modern city of Chengdu, which makes it unique among all the Hakka communities in China. The Hakka residential areas in Fujian, Guangxi, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Taiwan are mostly far away from metropolises. Both man-made structures and natural beauty are perfectly combined in Luodai Ancient Town. No wonder people say that it is the "backyard of Chengdu."

Luodai Ancient town has a history of 1,800 years. It has profound history and culture, with abundant tourist resources. Many historical relics still remain, telling tales and stories of the past. It was built by Emperor Liuchan during the Three Kingdoms Period. The Hakka residency and old street, which have thousands of years of history, are well preserved. Hakka is one ethnic groups in China. Most of them reside in Guangdong (Canton), Jiangxi and Hubei provinces. While in this town, you can visit the Hakka museum and park, which take up an area of over 20,000 square meters, and experience the progression of Hakka history.

The architecture and layout of the ancient town preserves the typical styles from Ming and Qing dynasties, with old streets, Hakka folk houses and narrow alleys. The houses, courtyards and streets in Luodai are all in the ancient style of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) or the Republic period (1912-1949). The Guangdong Guildhall is the landmark of Luodai Ancient Town.

The architecture of the guildhalls is of typical styles of Ming and Qing dynasties, with delicate and vivid carvings of images of dragons, phoenix, flowers and birds. Originally named Nanhua Palace, it is the masterpiece among Hakka architecture as well as the best preserved and the biggest guildhalls in China. It was built during the reign of Emperor Qinglong in Qing Dynasty (1746) and consists of three halls, with a total are of 3044.75 square meters. It is the place where the Hakka people gather, meet relatives and friends, settle disputes and make sacrifices to ancestors and gods. Several other guildhalls, such as those of Huguang, Jiangxi and Chuanbei, also remain in good shape.

There are one 1,000-meter-long main street and seven alleys in the ancient town. The dwelling houses along the main street are all enclosed courtyards with an open area in the middle and a main building decorated with carvings of turtle and flower. The roofs of the houses are all covered with cogon and small black tiles.

Watching Dragon dance is another must-try activity in Luodai town. Dragon is the legendary creature of Chinese mythology. It is an old custom in China to perform dragon dance during festivals. In Luodai, the dragon dance performance by Liu Family is the most well-known.

Their performance history is long, and the skills are only passed down within the family over the years, therefore their performances retain the primitive procedures and ceremonies of the past. The Water Dragon Festival is held every 26th and 27th of July in Luodai. People go to the streets and splashing water on each other. It is how the locals send their best wishes to and bless each other.

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