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Wuyuan Village

Wuyuan Xian (Wuyan County) is situated in the northeastern corner of Jiangxi Province, near the nexus of Jiangxi, Anhui and Zhejiang Provinces. It lies sandwiched in between Jingdezhen County to the west and Zhejiang Province to the east. To the north lies the border with Anhui Province.This judgement is based partly on Wuyuan County's well-preserved, ancient Hui-style architecture, partly on the county's breathtaking natural beauty that is characterized by emerald-green mountains (over 80% of the county is covered in woods), blue lakes and clear rivers and brooks, and partly by the spirit of tranquility which continues to define this area, linking it to its unhurried, ancient past. Indeed, others have called Wuyuan County China's last genuine Shangri-La, though there are other localities in China which vie for that title.

Wengong Hill, Yuanyan ("Mandarin Duck") Lake and Linyan Cave are known as ecological wonders. There are also many well-preserved ancient villages such as Jiangwan (the ancestral home of the former President of the PRC, Jiang Zemin), Likeng, Sixi, Wangkou and Yan. The ancient Hui-style buildings with pink walls and black tiles, only faintly visible here and there amid the green hills and the blue waters, paint a picturesque landscape of harmony between man and nature.

The Hui-style architecture of Wuyuan - its delicate wooden buildings and unique stone bridges - dates from the middle of the 8th century during the Tang (CE 618-907) Dynasty. The area's relative remoteness and its rugged, albeit beautiful, terrain, which made transportation difficult, has, more than any other factors, helped to preserve the pristine beauty of Wuyuan County.

The idyllic scenery, both the manmade as well as the natural landscapes, are preserved in Wuyuan County, thanks in no small part to the continued tranquil lifestyle of the local inhabitants. Virtually every village has something unique to offer, if only a small detail that catches the visitor's eye and causes one to stop up and photograph it - or be photographed by another bypasser with you or your party in the foreground. The preservation of Wuyuan's distinctive and original architecture and its pristine nature will surely be the challenge to confront in future, as tourism increases in the area.

The Imperial examinations, or Keju, were introduced during the Han (BCE 206 - CE 220) Dynasty in an attempt to weaken the existing - and often corrupt and injust - feudal system whereby office was held in hereditary succession by local tribesmen rather than being held on the basis of merit. The hereditary system led to incompetence and abuse of power, and served the populace at large very poorly. Following certain progressive principles espoused centuries earlier by Confucius (BCE 551-479), this system was thankfully changed with the introduction of the Keju.

A corollary of the Imperial-examination - based appointment of public servants is that those officials who did not perform as they were expected to could be removed from office without risking a power struggle between the Imperial court and the local elite. Chinese society was far ahead of its time in instituting such a system of accountability; in Europe, the system of feudal lords, based principally on hereditary succession, continued far beyond the end of the feudal era.

Likeng, the most visited place in Wuyuan, is renowned for the harmony of brdges, a crystal clean brook and cottages. Rows of houses constructed long that brook, which is 2 to 3 meter wide. It is a typical watery place.

It was built by Yu Clan and reputed as an sophisticated residential area. Over 30 residences of the Ming and Qing dynasties have been well-preserved in Sixi village. The layout of those residences is elegant.

There are many old trees and houses with various heights in this village. In the morning, mist floating over those trees gives people a mysterious impression. The river flows out of the village in a circle.

The first house built in Wangkou enjoys a history over 900 years. This village is inhabited Yu Clan mostly. One attraction is the Ancestral Hall of Yu Clan a cultural relic unit covering an area of over 1000 square meters. Possessing the reputation of well-designed layout, the most detailed woodcarvings and superb craftsmanship, this Ancestral Hall is considered to be a treasure gallery of architectural art and has been regarded as the “Number One Shrine South of the Yangtze River”.

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