Xīdì (西递) – An Ancient Huizhou Village in the Heart of the Anhui Province

Xīdì, which literally means “west post” in Chinese, is a well-preserved village dating back to the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties.   The village’s original buildings were first constructed between 1049 and 1053.  The merchants that settled in this area were part of the Hu family.  They were quite wealthy and wielded significant impact in culture and politics in the Anhui province.   This town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  DSC09983DSC09985

It was an incredibly gorgeous sunny day in the middle of Chinese New Year week.   Typically, there should be hordes of tourists at this time but I did not think that the town was overly packed as most Chinese tourist locations usually are during this time.

DSC09980DSC00060The town is quite small and you can walk the entire area in a matter of hours.  There is no real need to stay here overnight.  It is an easy afternoon trip from the larger town of Tunxi.

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My favorite part was the little trails around the lake that meandered through the crop fields and up the sides of the hills.  Aimee, take a pose. DSC09993

As with other ancient Chinese villages, the streets are narrow and the architecture is classic and reflective of various periods.

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Gardens are very popular.  Most all of the houses have them and are typically at the center of the house.

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Many lanterns were hanging for Chinese New Year.

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Dogs like to guard this ancient village.  DSC09988DSC09987DSC00024

Seeing all of this meat was making me hungry.

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We found a fantastic little restaurant with an open window that served as a great people watching spot.   Actually, I think more people watched us than we watched them.  That is the funny thing about being an ocean ghost (white person) in China.

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Lunch is served!  Peppers with pork, chicken and mushroom soup, leek and rice.  Eat your greens!

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The hill to the south of town (the viewpoint) provides a grand and elevated perspective.

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The main reason to come to this area is, of course, to hike Huangshan (Yellow Mountain).  However, if you have a free morning or afternoon, check out Xidi.  It is a step back in time – a fine place to escape from the big city and enjoy some Huizhou culture, architecture and history.

 

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