Travel Destinations: Shexian, Anhui Province, China

Lian Slayford By Lian Slayford, 14th May 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>China>Anhui

This article explores Shexian as a great place to visit in China.

Travel Destinations: Shexian, Anhui Province, China

Travel Destinations: Shexian, Anhui Province, China

Visiting Shexian is one of the few places where you can get a real sense of Chinese history, right from the Neolithic to the end of the Qing dynasty. Formerly known as Huizhou, this was the centre of the Huizhou culture.

There are plenty of things to see and do here; best of all, unlike historic villages like Yixian County, visitors do not need to purchase a visitor permit. If you arrive via bus, get off and walk over the old bridge and pass through the gate tower. The gate tower is relatively modern, carry on until you come to Yanghe Men. This is a double-eaved gate tower made completely of wood.

You can climb the tower where you can examine an old Ming dynasty stone xiezhi (a mythological Chinese creature) and bask in some glorious views, especially of the incredible Xuguo Archway (Xuguo Shifang). The archway is one of the most beautifully decorated archways in China, especially since it is China’s only surviving four-sided decorative archways. It is decorated with some impressive 12 lions, 6 lion cubs, who are seated on pedestals. In addition to this, there are some bas-reliefs of mythological qilin creatures, phoenixes, eagles, leopards, deer, dragons, sparrows and other mythical creatures which makes simply stunning.

From the archway, carry on to the older residential part of town called Doushan Jie, which boasts some wonderful examples of Huizhou houses, with several courtyard homes open to the public. These have some incredible carved lintels and stunning interiors. While you’re here, keep an eye out for the decorative archway known as the paifang which has been incorporated into a wall.

Go out of Shexian a little and there are some wonderful cultural attractions for you to visit. Yuliang is a beautiful history village situated on the Lian River (Lian Jiang).This is a pretty little maze of narrow streets and transfer stations that were used for transporting goods to north China. The Baweizu Museum has some beautiful examples of Haizhou arrangements.

You can also see the Lion Bridge (Shizi Qiao) at Yuliang; it was constructed in the Tang dynasty. You can catch a ferry which will take you up the river.

About 5km west of Shexian, visitors can make a trip to the decorative arches known as Tangyue Decorative Archways (Tangyue Paifang Qun). They were constructed in a field by a local wealthy family who made their fortune in salt.

Shexian can be reached by a bus from Tunxi whose long-distance routes run regularly. It will take only 45 minutes and is a great day trip if visiting the beautiful province of Anhui.

Tags

Anhui, China, Chinese, Shexian, Travel, Travel By Train, Travel Nepal, Travel Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Lian Slayford
Lian is a Research Archaeologist, specialising in Religious Archaeology.

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