With over 90 percent of its area covered by
mountains and hills, Guizhou Province in southwest China boasts moist
subtropical climate, abundant natural resources and diversity with its
many ethnic groups. This episode of “Ancient Charm of China” takes you
to a town over 600 years old in the provincial capital city of Guiyang.
Qingyan Ancient Town, together with Zhenyuan, Bing’an and Longli, is considered the top four old towns in Guizhou. Established in 1378 by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of China’s Ming Dynasty (1358-1644), Qingyan was historically a key military fortress and trade hub.
Qingyan in Chinese refers to green stones. It
is no exaggeration to call it a stone town, for almost everything was
made out of stones to prevent any invasion. Through years of
modification and restoration, it has gradually become a popular spot for
Tourists often marvel at the clusters of ancient buildings constructed in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The magnificent city walls divide Qingyan into inner and outer towns with four giant gates facing different directions. Walking inside the town, you’ll find various monasteries, temples, caves, courtyards and palaces with stone-paved streets and lanes intertwined with each other.
Qingyan is also noted for its rich religious
culture. Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism and Christianity coexist in ways
rarely seen in China. The round domed churches and aged temples impart
distinctive charms to the small town.
Additionally, the town boasts specialties such as pot-stewed pig trotters and Qingyan tofu.
Opening hours: 8:10 a.m.-5:40 p.m.
Admission fee: 60 yuan (8.7 U.S. dollars) per person
Best travel season: Spring, summer and autumn
Transportation: Get to Guiyang North Railway Station by train and take the Tourist Bus Line 2 which takes you directly there.