Ancient Charm of China: Nanjing County

This episode of “Ancient Charm of China” takes you to southeast China to catch a glimpse of a rural area that boasts unparalleled charms. In the subtropical mountainous area of Zhangzhou City, Fujian Province, lies Nanjing County, an ancestral home for Taiwan compatriots and overseas Chinese.

Visitors are often left in awe by the typical rural dwellings here in western Nanjing County called Fujian Tulou. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, it features a series of huge multi-storied houses built by the Hakka people between the 15th and 20th centuries.

Hakka, literally meaning “guest families” in Mandarin, refers to the Han people who used to live in the Hakka-speaking areas in southern China, including Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi and so on.

Built inward-looking, either in circular or square shape, each building can house around 800 people. Initially designed as a defense against invaders, they have only one entrance with the walls reaching up to 60 feet high.

In contrast with their plain exterior, the inside of the tulou was built for comfort with elaborate decorations, demonstrating an outstanding example of human settlement in China.

Yunshuiyao ancient town, also known as the Knot Town, is a spot frequently visited by tourists. Literally meaning the “Song of the Clouds and Waters,” it characterizes the peaceful ambiance of ancient Chinese villages.

A Chinese movie of the same name was shot here over 10 years ago, boosting the fame of the old town. Most of the buildings, the interior decorations of the houses and shooting scenes have been well maintained.

Walking along the cobbled path under those ancient trees will lead you to the heart of a mysterious and time-honored history.

Travel tips for a visit to Yunshuiyao:

Transportation: Take the bullet train to Nanjing Railway Station where you can book a carpool ride to the destination. 

Ticket price: 90 yuan (13 U.S. dollars) per person

Note that high-heeled shoes are not recommended for the cobbled path. Also, be on alert for mosquitoes in summer. You’d better bring along mosquito repellent.

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