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Explore the Charm of Zhenyuan Ancient Town

 2014-01-17    Ada    Tours    Zhenyuan Ancient Town    4544  

When it comes to the southwest of China, the old towns of Dali, Lijiang and Yangshuo attract the most visitors. But Zhenyuan, a 2,000-year-old river town in under-appreciated Guizhou province, offers adventurous travelers the chance to see something a little different. Famous for its beautiful landscape, historic sites and dense minority ethnic customs, Zhenyuan Ancient town will worth your visit.

Located on eastern part of Guizhou Province, Zhenyuan has long been an ancient town of the Miao people. Miao people inhabit there for thousands of years. The long history endows the town with many cultural relics. It covers only an area of 3.1sqkm but cradles 160 scenic spots including caves, palaces, pavilions, temples and rivers with their unique architecture, exquisite engravings and marvelous natural landscape.
The town covers only an area of 3.1 square kilometers (about 1.2 square miles) but greets you with more than 160 scenic spots including caves, palaces, pavilions, temples and rivers with their unique architecture, exquisite engravings and marvelous natural landscape. Among them are the famous Wuyang River Scenic Area and elegant ancient complex in the the Black Dragon Cave (Qinglong Cave) - beckoning sights not to be missed by any visitor to eastern Guizhou.
History and architecture buffs will love the extensive laneway system of ancient temples, shops and homes. There are also ancient wells, piers and docks along the Wu Yang River that tell the story of Zhenyuan's cultural and economic importance in the imperial past. Of which Black Dragon Cave is an outstanding example. The Black Dragon Cave is in fact an ancient temple complex located on Zhonghe Mountain to the east of Zhenyuan Ancient Town. All of the buildings there were constructed in accordance with the natural features of Zhonghe Mountain which is precipitous.

The architectural sculptures and adornments there are simple and unsophisticated and yet quietly elegant, and are quite unlike those of other temples which are ornately decorated. The way in which these Confucianist, Taoist and Buddhist temples are arranged together embodies the combination of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism in a way. The old streets of Zhenyuan are not as commercialized as the towns mentioned above. What makes it really stand out is the way it gives the visitor a taste of other great qualities of China, all within a short ride or hike outside town. Wander into any travel agency in town to sign up for a Wuyang River boat cruise along a 35-kilometer stretch of impressive peaks, cliffs, caves and waterfalls.

It provides a good look at beautiful gorge landscapes for those that can't make it to the Three Gorges or don't want to spend five days cruising up the Yangtze River -- increasingly difficult to do with droughts and low water levels. Flowing through the Miaoling Mountains, the charming and lively Wuyang River runs 95 km from Huangping to Zhenyuan, finally join into Yuanjiang in Hunan Province. The Wuyang River cuts through Zhenyuan and hills and mountains tower over the town. At the northwest edge of the town is the entrance to the southernmost section of the Great Wall. It is part of a 300-kilometer wall that extends east into Hunan province that protected the Ming Dynasty from the local Miao ethnic tribes more than 500 years ago.

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