Lijiang — An Ancient Minority Town Beneath the Snowy Mountains
Lijiang is a city in southwest China that encompasses the Old Town of Lijiang, surrounded by stunning snow mountains, lakes, and rivers.
The Old Town of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, holds significant architectural and cultural value as a perfect blend of different ethnic groups throughout history.
Old Town of Lijiang Under Yulong Snow Mountain of Yunnan Province of China, Photo from Official Site of Lijiang.
Lijiang Facts and Important Data
Lijiang City is in Yunnan Province, the southwest of China.
The Old Town of Lijiang, first 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, the Shuhe Housing Cluster, and the 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, and the majority are Naxi, Yi, Lisu, Bai, Tibetan, etc.
Naxi People Wearing Ethnic Clothes boating on Lugu Lake of Lijiang, Photo from Official Site.
Cultural Importance of Lijiang
It used to be an important city on the Tea Horse Road (in Chinese 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 communication throughout history.
Moreover, minority cultures, including language, customs, festivals and events, music, ceremonies, and food, are all 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, 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 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.
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 museum of Lijiang's rich history and culture.
Mu Fu Mansion, Photo by Liu Zhuming.
Traditional Ancient Dwellings of Dayan Old Town
Dayan is the center of the Old Town of Lijiang, first built in the late 13th century.
Besides the perfect combination of different ethnic styles, there are over 300 ancient bridges from various 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, Photo by Liu Jianwei.
Black Dragon Pond or Heilong Tan
First built in 1737, Black Dragon Pond, also named Yuquan Park, consists of ancient temples, bridges, and other buildings, is a beautiful pond near 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 Chama Gudao), an ancient commercial road for businessmen to trade tea and horses on the southwest border since the Tang Dynasty (618 — 907).
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, Photo by Liu Zhuming.
Baisha Housing Cluster or Baisha Old Town
Before the native chieftain moved to Dayan Old Town in 1383, Baisha was Lijiang's first political, economic, and cultural center.
Besides the historic housing cluster, many murals from the 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, Photo by Jiang Ke.
Impressive Natural Scenic Views of Lijiang
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain or Yulong Xueshan, Photo by Cui Yongjiang.
Blue Moon Valley or Lanyue Gu, Photo by Liu Zhuming.
Danxia Landform of Laojun Mountain, Photo by Dachuang Karma.
Lugu Lake or Lugu Hu, Photo by XSFAN STUDIO.
Tiger Leaping Gorge or Hutiao Xia, Photo by Adu.
Lashi Lake or Lashi Hai Plateau Wetland Nature Reserve, Photo from Official Site.
Ninety-nine Dragon Ponds or Jiushijiu Longtan, Photo from Official Site.
The First Bend of Yangtze River or Changjiang Diyi Wan, Photo from Official Site.
Famous Specialties of Lijiang
Naxi Traditional Wooden Carving, By He Jinping.
Naxi Dongba Culture Traditional Copper Carving, By He Shanyi.
You Might Also Like: