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10 Ancient Towns in Dali

1. Dali Ancient City 

Dali Ancient City is also called Yeyu or Purple City, dating back to Tianbao Period in the Tang Dynasty, with Yangxiemie City (a place near Xisan Tower) as the new capital of Nanzhao Kingdom. The ancient city was built in the 15th year of Hongwu Period in the Ming Dynasty (AD 1382). It covers the area 6 km around with a 8.30-meter-high and 6.7-meter-thick city wall. It has four gates in the east, west, south and north separately, each gate has a tower and there is a watchtower at each corner. The walls were destroyed in the early days after liberation. In 1982 the south gate was rebuilt, the "Dali" characters on the south gate was a calligraphy work of Guo Moruo. Walk into the city from the south gate, step on the Fuxing Road direct to the north gate, you will find stores along the bustling streets, selling marbles, tie-dye products and other ethnic handicrafts and jewelry. Some old curtilages remain their look in the old days, with flowers and trees in the courtyard, birdsong in the air and flowing streams outside the house. It is the scene of "one well for three families, several flower pots for one family". 

Dali Ancient City

Huguo Road in east to west direction is called "Foreigner Street". In it one and another Chinese and western restaurants, cafes, tea houses and gift shops stand beside the street. Shop signs and advertisements are written in foreign languages, attracting "Laowai" (foreigners) with blond hair and blue eyes to linger here for Chinese charm, forming unique scenery. 

Dali Ancient City was listed into the first batch of 24 historical and cultural cities by the State Council on February 8th, 1982.  

▲Dali Ancient City

Foreigner Street in Dali Ancient City

▲Foreign Singers on Renmin Road in the Ancient City

▲Food easy to be found in the street: Milk Fan (Ru Shan) 

2. Xizhou Ancient Town 

Xizhou Town is located in the north of Dali City, west to Cangshan Mountain, east to Erhai Lake. Called “Dali Town (Li here is another Chinese character)” in the Sui and Tang Dynasties, it was the “one of ten faces” during the reign of Nanzhao Kingdom; nowadays, it is the hometown of the film "Five Golden Flowers", also one of the famous historical and cultural towns in Yunnan and one of the major homelands for overseas Chinese, a famous Bai ethnic historical and cultural town with a history of more than one thousand years. 

It has been a strategic place as the political, economic and cultural center for Bai people at west bank of Erhai Lake since ancient times. It has a long history in business as the cradle for Bai nationality's industrial and commercial development. The famous "Xizhou Group of Commerce" was established in the Guangxu Period of the Qing Dynasty. A lot of capitalists led by "Yan Family, Dong Family, Yin Family and Yang Family" were in this group, along with "eight middle-sized families" and "twelve small-sized families". 


▲Xizhou Cake

3. Shuanglang Ancient Town 

"First Town with Scenery of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake", a famous historical and cultural town in Yunnan. Blue water and sky reflect with mountains, "two islands and two melodies" embrace with Bai nationality town, consisting a beautiful scenery of man and nature. It is a pleasant town with a saying of "Dali scenery lies in Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, while scenery of Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake lies in Shuanglang". 

▲Shuanglang Ancient Town 

▲Hot Photo-taking Place in Shuanglang Ancient Town

4. Zhoucheng Village 

Zhoucheng is known as "hometown of Bai tie-dye". It is located at 23 km north from Dali Ancient City, 38 km from Xiaguan on Yunnan-Tibet Highway. It is the largest natural village in Yunnan, with an area of 4.7 square kilometers, and a population of 8,868, almost Bai people. The village has 1,500 households of Bai people, making it the largest Bai nationality village in Dali. It is an open Bai custom tourism village. 

Zhoucheng is famous not only for its Butterfly Spring, and there are still traditional customs of Bai nationality well remained here. It is also honored as the "living fossil of Bai folk customs." Stone road and spring flows along curved lanes with a sense of primitive simplicity and quietness. White-wall grey-tile houses standing beside lanes are traditional stone-wall civil engineering structure buildings of Bai nationality, so there is a saying of "Dali has three treasures, stones to build wall that will not fall" to describe this building structure.

▲ Zhoucheng Village

5. Wase Town 

Wase, with its ancient name of Luchuan, is located at east bank of Erhai Lake[FS:Page] and in the middle east of Dali City, north adjacent to Shuanglang Town, south to Haidong Town, east to Jizushan Town, Binchuan County. It is 42 km from Jizushan and Xiaguan, respectively, 158 km from Lijiang. It faces mountains at three directions, and sea at one direction. Facing Cangshan Mountain to look over Dali Ancient City from west direction, and Jizushan Mountain to look over Jinding from east direction, it is a beautiful land of plenty at east bank of Erhai Lake. It is the source place of Bai nationality local culture with long history. 

▲ Wase Scenery 

▲ Wase Benzhu Festival

6. Fengyu Ancient Town 

A small town in southwest Eryuan County, Dali. Beautiful scenery, pleasant climate, a travel place. It was listed as a provincial historical and cultural town in 2000. It was titled as "historical and cultural town in China" by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. Beautiful scenery, rich products, long history and splendid culture, it is known as "hometown of literature". And it gets its name because "phoenix dies with birds coming for mourning, thus feathering here". The handicraft Fengyu ink slab is very famous. 

▲ Fengyu Rape Flowers 

7. Shaxi Ancient Town

Shaxi is located in the southwest of Jianchuan, Yunnan, China, the southeast of three parallel rivers region (Jinsha River, Lancang River, Nujiang River), between the Dali scenic area and Lijiang Ancient City, where the famous Shibao Mountain is located. 

Shaxi is an ancient town with a long history of one thousand years, which can be traced back to the Spring & Autumn and the Warring States Periods over more than 2,400 years ago. Aofeng Mountain Ancient Graves, Huacong Mountain Copper Mine Ruins are telling us that Shaxi has formed a bronze smelting manufacture base taking Heihui River as center. Shaxi ancestors at that time had relatively higher bronze smelting technology, and Shaxi has become one of the places of origin for Yunnan bronze culture. 

Shaxi Ancient Town is a real ancient town, with original architectural features well remained. Ancient temple, ancient stage, ancient shops, ancient red sand stone road streets, trees aged hundred, ancient lanes, ancient village gates...

▲ Shaxi Ancient Town 

▲ Shaxi Yujin Bridge

8. Nuodeng Ancient Town 

Located in deep mountains in Yunlong County, Dali Bai Minority Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, Nuodeng has unexpected beauty. Nuodeng is a cluster place developed by salt industry, taking salt boiling as living means, once the strategically economic place in western Yunnan. After the liberation, sea salt got leap development in great quantities. Nuodeng has lost the economic pillar of salt, from then on, gradually faded in living memory of people. However, this desolation keeps Nuodeng in its pure beauty of posture. 

Nuodeng Village backs on Manchong Mountain, adjacent to Nuoshui. The old salt well at village entrance is like the starting point. Houses around the well can be said to be a Local Traditional Building Museum of Yunnan. Because of the terrain limitation, houses and stone paths are staggered here; suddenly a lane stack of steep ladders appear and door lanes protrude as echoing with time. 

Nuodeng natural salt well has a long history of one thousand years, which creates the peculiar delicacy of Nuodeng Ham. A 6-minute video of Yunnan Nuodeng Ham is included in the "A Bite of China" by CCTV. This 6-minute video gives Nuodeng Ham an instant fame.

▲ Nuodeng 

▲ Nuodeng Ham 

9. Weishan Ancient Town 

It is a famous Chinese historical and cultural city, and also the origin place of Nanzhao Kingdom. It was built in the Yuan Dynasty, and was rebuilt as brick city in the Ming Dynasty, then remained to date. Weishan is one of regions with the longest time implementing chieftain system in Yunnan, numerous temples were built in its long history, coordinating with the natural landscape across a great distance to complement each other. Streets in Weishan Ancient Town show a standard # structure with the Gongcheng Tower as center. Totally 25 streets, 18 lanes, 14 km long, the buildings in the town basically keep Chinese style. House on the south to north principal axis completely remain the architectural style of the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. House direction is at SBW 15 degrees, which gets best light in daytime to make up for poor light in local building. Gongcheng Tower was burned at 3:00 o'clock or so on January 3, 2015. 

▲ Weishan Ancient Town 

10. Jinhua Town

Jinhua Town is located in north Jianchuan County, Dali, established in 1975, as Jianchuan's economic, politic and cultural center, strategic place for 214 State Highway and on the tea-horse ancient road. Crown Prince Fest[FS:Page]ival is held on the lunar February 8th here each year. The festival is held each year on the lunar February 8th, dating back to 130 years ago. Well dressed Bai people come from Lijiang, Eryuan, Heqing, Lanping counties to the ancient city for the grand Crown Prince Festival. 

▲ Jinhua Town