Ancient Charm of China: Qingyan Ancient Town

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 weekend getaways.

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.

Travel tips:

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.

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