Shaxi Ancient Town
The high mountain historical villages of Shaxi Town at the foot of Shibaoshan are in a valley that is at an elevation of about 2000 meters or about 6,500 feet. This area lay on trade routes that led throughout Asia, so the ancient remains, frescoes, art and graffiti on the mountains show a mixture of cultural influences from other parts of the world. The several ethnic groups in the region also have a mixture of Asian influences in their cultures.
Shaxi Town is made up of about 16 villages in the valley. In China, a Town is considered to be not only the main village or town but also the surrounding villages and towns. The largest of the villages is Sideng. The World Memorial Fund for Architecture and the local government is funding reconstruction of Sideng Village. The villages have populations ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. The population Shaxi Town is about 23,500, and about 85 percent of the people are ethnic Bai people. Approximately 70 percent of the residents do farm work, and most of the people are quite poor by western standards. The average income of the Bai farm people in the valley is about 140 dollars a year.
Along with visiting the newly restored buildings and the Sideng Market area, in the villages you can see the colorfully dressed women, walk along some tidy alleys between the traditional houses, and look into some wonderfully well-preserved Bai minority-style courtyards. You can rent bicycles to see the area. There are interesting old bridges in the valley.