Zhouzhuang Ancient Town

The unknown contributors

Contributor: “others” – source unknown
The pictures of Zhouzhuang Ancient Town come from a slideshow without a clear reference. That happens a lot, slideshows circulating on the Internet and no way to figure out who made it. Maybe somebody can figure it out with the Chinese characters?

About Zhouzhuang

Zhouzhuang (周庄) lies at the middle between Shanghai and Suzhou. It is an ancient town of Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province, a region that abounds with rivers and lakes. So it is thought by many to be the best waterside town in China.This ancient town has a history of more than 900 years old with many houses built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. There are about 100 houses with courtyards, and 60 of them have arch gateways made by carved bricks.

With lakes on four sides, the beauty of Zhouzhuang is specially to be found along the waterside lanes and around a number of the stone bridges. A different vista at every turn can be found here. All those make a visit most enjoyable. Also, one can enjoy the fairyland atmosphere of the evenings here when the myriad stars twinkle as though in communication with the glittering lights.

Zhejiang Shaoxing City

Seminar, a good excuse

In April 2019 I participated in a seminar in Zhejiang Shaoxing City , see here.

Shaoxing is a city in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, straddling the Grand Canal and crossed by many waterways. The city’s rich cultural history is also marked by native writer Lu Xun’s former residence, now a museum.
Shaoxing is also known variously as the ‘City of Waters,’ ‘City of Bridges,’ ‘City of Calligraphy,’ ‘City of Tea,’ and ‘City of Scholars.’ It gives off an image of an elegant and peaceful locale with deep cultural connotations,
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaoxing

Sightseeing

We were spoiled by our two guides who took us around Zhejiang Shaoxing City on Monday 22 April.
First stop was Shen’s Garden, with a history of over 800 years. Known for the love story of Lu You and Tang Wan.
Later Lu Xun hometown, his birth place and home. Lu Xun is one of the most famous modern Chinese writers. Lu Xun’s works became known to English readers as early as 1926 with the publication in Shanghai of The True Story of Ah Q.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lu_Xun

After lunch in a local restaurant we walked around in the old town and had a boat trip.

In the evening we had dinner in Shaoxing CBD, SIJIFENGQING XUNWEI Restaurant. Very nice place, nice local dishes. The CBD area is pretty modern, stark contrast to the old city center.

The pictures are in that order of the visit, nearly all from me.

Shanxi Historic villages 2016

Shanxi Historic villages, stunning mountains and the Yellow River
July 2016 by Bruce/Beijing

Shanxi is famed for its great courtyard houses – the historic homes of merchants who had become prosperous through banking or trading. Wang’s Grand Courtyard, dating from the Ming and Qing periods, is adjacent to Jingsheng town. It is well worth seeing – built like a series of large, walled forts climbing a hillside. Beyond the walls are many traditional ‘cave-style’ homes that are characteristic of Shanxi.Beyond rises Mianshan.

On the lower slopes of Mianshan Mountain sits Zhangbi Village – walking on its cobbled, partly covered alleys feels like going back in time – the village is not only unique but is a place where families have lived in the same residences for generations.
Beyond Zhangbi the  road climbs up the seemingly vertical cliff side of Mianshan mountain – an amazing piece of construction that rises past temples, natural water springs, viewpoints and finally to a hotel – a spectacular location high on the mountains.
Descending from Mianshan the journey  eventually led downhill to the Yellow River at the historic small settlement of Qikou – for Bruce, this was an amazing place for photography – a magnificent destination for an eye-opening journey through some enchanting parts of Shanxi Province.

Some sights:
Temple on Mianshan; Historic village near Qikou; Beauty of Mianshan; Qikou – arched passageways; Walking in Zhangbi Village; Stone paved alley Qikou; Yellow River at Qikou Shanxi

There, in the land of the Yellow Earth, bordered by the Yellow River, was history set in stone, for indeed stone featured prominently – narrow sometimes covered alleys were paved in stone blocks.
Stone and local brick lined the exteriors of homes, temples and commercial premises along with outer walls partially enclosing the villages. If only stones could talk what a story they could tell for the townships regionally were within the ‘Cradle of Chinese Civilisation’, at the crossroads of dynasties, armies, traders, pastoralists and now travellers finding something unique beyond mass-tourism destinations. Imagine the people over many generations who have walked through these villages!

Zhangbi, at 1040 metres above sea level on the lower slopes of Mianshan Mountain, traces itself back to the ancient Xia that originated in today’s Ningxia – a region easily reached by expressway though historically the Yellow River formed a water route from northwestern China for sheepskin rafts as far as Qikou where cataracts prevented onward passage.

Sitting high on an artificial platform above potential flooding Qikou thrived for centuries as a transshipment point before the advent of modern transportation. Merchants prospered, their wealth spreading along nearby Qiushuihe River to smaller more inland settlements such as Xiwan.

Huangshan Mountains in Anhui Province

Contributor: Alfons/Belgium

Huangshan (Chinese: 黄山) is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China. Vegetation on the range is thickest below 1,100 meters, with trees growing up to the treeline at 1,800 meters.
The area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, Huangshan pine trees, hot springs, winter snow, and views of the clouds from above. Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of China’s major tourist destinations. (Source Wikipedia)

Pics taken in October 2012.