This village originated during the Southern Song Dynasty. Hongcun is also included in the UNESCO Protected List. It is located 11 km northeast of the county town of Yixian. The village is famous for the crescent-shaped Moon Pond. The area around is rich in water — the Sisi River flows nearby and Nanhu Lake splashes. The Leigangshan Mountains come close to the village. Local residents breed working cattle and still use the old irrigation system. Most of the residents belong to the ancient Wang clan. Hongcun is a quiet place with photogenic bridges and streets, ancient buildings and sleepy lake views. The village is crossed by numerous canals connecting Nanhu Lake and Yuezhao Pond with the Sisi River. If you get lost in narrow alleys, you can always get out along one of these artificial rivers. In addition, the popular routes of Hongcun are marked with signs.
If the bridge at the entrance to the village seems familiar to you, it’s because you saw it in Ang Lee’s movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. The Chengzhitan Assembly Hall on Shangshui-zhenlu Street (Shangshuizhen Lu) was built in 1855 by a wealthy salt merchant. The building has 28 rooms with luxurious carved decoration, an elegant gallery on the second floor and a light well above the courtyard. Holes can be seen in the fence of the upper gallery: once they were made by girls who liked to stare at male visitors. A small alcove in the room for playing majiang was intended for the beloved concubine of the owner. The faded gilding on the wooden decorations of the hall cost the owner 100 taels in silver.
Among the attractions of the village, it is worth noting the Peach Spring House, famous for its decorative wooden panels, and the Nanhu School, picturesquely located on the shore of the lake of the same name. The Moon Pond can also boast of a worthy architectural frame: here you can see the dilapidated Le-xutang hall, built in the XV century. At the market to the west of the pond, you can buy carved bamboo crafts, handmade trinkets and local tea of various varieties. There is a bustling square near the Hongjiqiao Bridge over the Sisi River. Two huge old trees grow on it — a red poplar and a rare gin-gko. Locals call them “bull horns”. The cost of visiting the village includes the services of a local guide who speaks broken English.
A small village 3 km northwest of Hongcun. It is located in a secluded valley, the nature of which is famous for its autumn colors. The leaves of the old trees surrounding the village continuously change their color for 10-30 days. The valley, painted in different shades of orange, green and brown, attracts crowds of photographers. In the warm season, you can watch the field work of farmers growing rice and tea here. Tachuan climbs up the slopes of a small pointed hill — from a distance the village resembles a pagoda. The house at number 18 is decorated with the most elegant wooden carvings in all of Anhui. The ticket price includes the services of a guide who hardly speaks English.
An intriguing maze of narrow streets stretches 5 km west of the county town of Yixian. The 1,100-year-old village was chosen by director Zhang Yimou for the filming of the film comedy “Ju Dou”. Many historical buildings have been preserved in the village — public halls, family temples and merchant estates. Among them are the temples of the ancestors of the Cheng family and the Ye family. The Yang family’s dye house plays the role of the house of a beautiful villager and her greedy husband in the film “Ju Dou”. The scenery of the painting is partially preserved by the owners of the estate. A ticket to visit the village entitles you to use the services of a guide.
About 8 km west of the town of Yixian — on the same road as Nanping – there is a tiny village in which the estates of Eight brothers — rich merchants have been preserved. Each of them corresponds to the general style of Huizhou, but has its own specifics. All the estates are connected by explicit and secret passages. In each manor you can see elegant painted ceilings. The houses still belong to the members of the genus. Unfortunately, many of the side buildings of the estates have become dilapidated and are unattended, as young people still go to the cities for a more interesting and eventful life. A ticket to Guanli also entitles you to a guided tour.