Lijiang — Ancient Minority Town Under Stunning Snow Mountain

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 the southwest of 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, 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 the sea level;

 

  • The Old Town of Lijiang 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 the sea level;

 

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

 

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

What is the cultural importance of Lijiang?

 

  • Lijiang used to be an important city in 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 different ethnic groups, which shows their blending and communications throughout history. 

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

  • The Old Town of Lijiang preserved large numbers of the ancient building complex, frescoes, relics, etc., which hold great value regarding history, art, and culture.

 

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

What are the 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 of Lijiang 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.

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 in Lijiang.

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

Mu Fu Mansion in the Old Town of Lijiang, 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, Photo by Liu Jianwei.

Black Dragon Pond or Heilong Tan 

Firstly built in the year 1737, Black Dragon Pond, also named Yuquan Park that 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, 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 and Layout of Traditional Ancient Dwellings of Shuhe Housing Cluster or Shuhe Old Town in Lijiang, 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, Confucianism, as well as cultures of different ethnic groups.

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

What are impressive natural scenic views of Lijiang?

 

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

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

Danxia Landform of Laojun Mountain in Lijiang, Photo by Dachuang Karma.

Lugu Lake or Lugu Hu of Lijiang, Photo by XSFAN STUDIO.

Tiger Leaping Gorge or Hutiao Xia of Lijiang, Photo by Adu.

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

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

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

 What are the famous specialties of Lijiang?

 

Naxi Traditional Wooden Carving, By He Jinping.

Naxi Dongba Culture Traditional Copper Carving, By He Shanyi.

Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

  • Facebook Fun withChinese Culture
  • Twitter Fun withChinese Culture
  • G+ Fun withChinese Culture
  • YouTube Fun withChinese Culture
  • Pinterest Fun withChinese Culture
  • Instagram Fun withChinese Culture
© All Rights Reserved