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To see old Ming and Qing courtyards, beautiful preserved countryside, shop for souvenirs and country products, and sightseeing, walk and dine, go to this amazing small village and the nearby villages and countryside. Though it is only 28 hectares in size, it has landed a place in the World Heritage List for its long history, country scenery, and well preserved buildings dating hundreds of years.
The countryside around Hongcun is remarkable and worth a walk and a visit any time of the year. There is a noted bamboo grove within walking distance.
But in the spring, you can see the village nestled in yellow rape field flowers, and in the fall, the village is highlighted by the red leaves on the trees.
Tachuan is a small village only 2 km or 1 mile away noted for even better autumn scenery. People can take a 30 minute sightseeing stroll to it in the peasant countryside. Tachuan is famed for the beautiful colors in the countryside in late October and early November. See Nearby Attractions below.
This village is described as one of the Yellow Mountains must see areas. Partly for the preserved Ming and Qing architecture and the village layout that was recognized by UNESCO in the year 2000.
Ingenious use of elements of water, trees and gardens, and farmland produced a beautiful setting for the Wang Clan's daily life over many generations.
The village structures blend in with the natural setting that exhibit the wisdom of hundreds of years of village construction.
Many of the villagers diverted water via small canals into their court yards, turning their houses into garden settings.
Hongcun is an outstanding representative of Huizhou traditional local culture, building techniques and landscape design. It has historical, artistic, and scientific value.
Geomancy: The lay of the whole village was designed according to geomantic (feng shui) ideas. It looks like the shape of a cow to Chinese people. To prevent the spread of fires and to also water the plants, laborers built a water system according to the cow design in traditional geomancy. The village centers around "the heart of the cow", Moon Pond.
Residences and sights to be seen in a tour include Chengzhi Hall that is known for it's engraved art. It is covered with gold sheet and painted with colors.
This complex is on the north bank of Southern Lake. It was built in 1814 when six family schools that were there were combined and rebuilt. The academy covers an area of over 6,000 square meters. The buildings are grand and wide.
It is a good architectural representative of the family academies of Huizhou. One of the interesting social developments of the various Chinese clan villages during the late Qing Dynasty era and in the early 20th century was the construction and support of "family schools" to educate the children of the large family groups.
By visiting it, you can learn something about the social life of that time. You can also see the artists paint there.
Hongcun was founded about the year 1100. So it has a history of about 900 years. Hongcun was first called "Hongcun (弘村)." "Hong" here means great. In the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty, its name was changed into a synonymous homonym "Hongcun (宏村)." The exact same sound written with a different character means great, grand, or magnificent.
Hongcun is a village of the ancient Wang clan. The ancestral home of the Wang clan is Jinling. In the Southern Song Dynasty, they moved to Huizhou.
Take a tour bus from Tunxi Bus Station in downtown Huangshan to Yi County (1½ hours). Buses from Yi County Bus Station to Hongcun depart every 15 minutes, take 20 minutes, and cost 2 yuan.
If you go by tour vehicle or taxi, the ride takes 1 hour and 10 minutes.
The Yellow Mountains is the premier scenic area in the whole region. It is famed for the beautiful mountains and good hiking.
Tachuan Village is famous for the fall scenery in October and November. It is only a nice 30 minute stroll away.
Xidi Village is another old clan village that is listed as a World Heritage. There are well preserved Ming Dynasty era courtyard gardens and houses. It is more authentic and less touristy than Hongcun. It is only about a half hour drive to the south. It has memorial archways and many memorial halls. The ancient halls and houses attract many students here to do sketching.
Hongcun is popular. Chinese tour groups with noisy loud speakers frequent the area during high season. Schools and universities let out for summer vacation in July, so there is a influx of families and young visitors eager to see the area until August. It is best to avoid Friday and Saturday during high season when weekend tourists crowd in.
Make hotel reservations in advance during high season. Yellow Mountains flights and hotel rooms are relatively more expensive, and train tickets may be difficult to obtain.