Lijiang — Ancient Minority Town Under Stunning Snow Mountain

Old Town of Lijiang Under Yulong Snow Mountain of Yunnan Province of China

Old Town of Lijiang Under Yulong Snow Mountain of Yunnan Province of China, Photo from Official Site of Lijiang.

 

What Is Lijiang?

 

Lijiang is a city in southwest China that includes the Old Town of Lijiang and stunning snow mountains, lakes, and rivers surrounding it. 

 

The Old Town of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Culture Heritage Site, holds great architectural and cultural values, as a perfect blend of different ethnic groups throughout history. 

Ancient Stone Bridge and Building Complex of Lijiang

Ancient Stone Bridge and Building Complex, Photo by Liu Zhuming.

 

Important Data of Lijiang.

 

  • Lijiang City is in Yunnan Province, the southwest of China;

 

  • The Old Town of Lijiang, firstly built in the late 13th century, is 7.27 square kilometers large, and 2400 meters above sea level;

 

It includes three main parts: the Dayan Old Town, Shuhe Housing Cluster, and Basha Housing Cluster;

 

  • The snow mountain, Yulong (or Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain in Lijiang is 5596 meters above sea level;

 

  • There are over 20 minority ethnic groups living in the city, the majority are Naxi, Yi, Lisu, Bai, Tibetan, etc. 

Naxi People Wearing Ethnic Clothes boating on Lugu Lake of Lijiang

Naxi People Wearing Ethnic Clothes boating on Lugu Lake of Lijiang, Photo from Official Site.

 

What Is the Cultural Importance of Lijiang?

 

  • It used to be an important city on the Tea Horse Road (in Chinese is Chama Gudao), an ancient commercial road for businessmen to trade tea and horse on the southwest border since the Tang Dynasty (618 — 907).

  • The Old Town of Lijiang is a place living with different ethnic groups, which shows their blending and communications throughout history. 

Moreover, minority cultures, including language, customs, festivals and events, music, ceremonies, and food, all are important and valuable.  

  • Large numbers of historical building complexes, frescoes, and relics are preserved there, which hold great value in history, art, and culture.

Ancient Baisha Housing Cluster in the Old Town of Lijiang

Ancient Baisha Housing Cluster in the Old Town, Photo by Hezhao.

 

Valuable Cultural Sites of Lijiang

Mu Fu Mansion or Mufu

It had been the palace of the native chieftain of Lijiang, the Mu clan, who ruled the Naxi people from 1253 to 1723. 

In the year 1253, when Kublai Khan was fighting in Yunnan Province, the chieftain complied and obtained the Khan's support to rule this area with autonomy. 

In 1382, the current chieftain led his people and pledged loyalty to the Ming Dynasty.

 

Hongwu Emperor then granted "Mu" as their clan's family name and awarded them more support, authority, and land.

Plaque of the Mu Fu Mansion Carved with "Loyalty" (Zhong Yi), Granted by Wanli Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

Plaque of the Mu Fu Mansion Carved with "Loyalty" (Zhong Yi), Granted by Wanli Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

In 1723, Yongzheng Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1636 — 1912) demoted the chieftain and took back their autonomy, by sending government-approved officials.

 

Afterward, the Mu Clan ended their reign.

Located in the middle of the Old Town, Mu Fu Mansion is an exceptional building complex with a combination of Ming and Naxi styles and a rich museum of the history and culture of Lijiang. 

Mu Fu Mansion in the Old Town of Lijiang

Mu Fu Mansion, Photo by Liu Zhuming.

Traditional Ancient Dwellings of Dayan Old Town

Dayan is the center of the Old Town of Lijiang, firstly built in the late 13th century.

 

Besides the perfect combination of different ethnic styles, there are over 300 ancient bridges from different dynasties. 

Buildings of different times (basically Ming and Qing Dynasties) and styles, surrounded by rivers and bridges, formed the beautiful Dayan Old Town. 

Traditional Ancient Dwellings and Lanes of Dayan Old Town in Lijiang

Traditional Ancient Dwellings and Lanes of Dayan Old Town, Photo by Liu Jianwei.

Black Dragon Pond or Heilong Tan

Firstly built in the year 1737, Black Dragon Pond, also named Yuquan Park which consists of ancient temples, bridges, and other buildings, is a beautiful pond near the Old Town of Lijiang.

Black Dragon Pond or Heilong Tan of the Old Town of Lijiang

Black Dragon Pond or Heilong Tan, Photo by Shi Xiongfei.

Shuhe Housing Cluster or Shuhe Old Town

 

Shuhe used to be a market town on the Ancient Tea Horse Road (in Chinese is Chama Gudao), an ancient commercial road for businessmen to trade tea and horse on the southwest border since the Tang Dynasty (618 — 907). 

Today, Shuhe still retained the building complex, architectural structure, and street landscape of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 — 1912). 

Roofs of Traditional Ancient Dwellings of Shuhe Housing Cluster or Shuhe Old Town in Lijiang

Roofs and Layout of Traditional Ancient Dwellings of Shuhe Housing Cluster or Shuhe Old Town, Photo by Liu Zhuming.

Baisha Housing Cluster or Baisha Old Town

 

Before the native chieftain moved to Dayan Old Town in 1383, Baisha was the first political, economic and cultural center of Lijiang. 

Besides the historic housing cluster, many murals from Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 — 1912) are preserved in some temples of Baisha, which perfectly combined Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, as well as cultures of different ethnic groups.

Mural "Rulai Shijing Tu" in Baisha Housing Cluster of Lijiang

Mural "Rulai Shijing Tu" in Baisha Housing Cluster, Photo by Jiang Ke.

 

Impressive Natural Scenic Views

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain or Yulong Xueshan of Lijiang

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain or Yulong Xueshan, Photo by Cui Yongjiang.

Blue Moon Valley or Lanyue Gu of Lijiang

Blue Moon Valley or Lanyue Gu, Photo by Liu Zhuming.

Danxia Landform of Laojun Mountain in Lijiang

Danxia Landform of Laojun Mountain, Photo by Dachuang Karma.

Lugu Lake or Lugu Hu of Lijiang

Lugu Lake or Lugu Hu, Photo by XSFAN STUDIO.

Tiger Leaping Gorge or Hutiao Xia of Lijiang

Tiger Leaping Gorge or Hutiao Xia, Photo by Adu.

Lashi Lake or Lashi Hai Plateau Wetland Nature Reserve

Lashi Lake or Lashi Hai Plateau Wetland Nature Reserve, Photo from Official Site.

Ninety-nine Dragon Ponds or Jiushijiu Longtan

Ninety-nine Dragon Ponds or Jiushijiu Longtan, Photo from Official Site.

The First Bend of Yangtze River or Changjiang Diyi Wan

The First Bend of Yangtze River or Changjiang Diyi Wan, Photo from Official Site.

 

Famous Specialties of Lijiang

Naxi Traditional Wooden Carving

Naxi Traditional Wooden Carving, By He Jinping.

Naxi Dongba Culture Traditional Copper Carving

Naxi Dongba Culture Traditional Copper Carving, By He Shanyi.