Let me quickly introduce 2 village that I visited which I honestly do not have much memory of it.
An extract from Unesco's site. A brief history of XiDi Village:
Xidi was originally called Xichuan (West River), because of the streams that pass through it, but its present name, which means "West Post," comes from the ancient caravan posting station some 1.5km to the west of the village.
It owes its growth to the Hu family from Wuyuan (Xinan), who adopted a son of the Tang Emperor Zhaozong (888- 904) after the Emperor was forced from his throne in 904, naming him Hu Changyi. One of his descendants, Hu Shiliang, moved his family from Wuyuan to Xidi in 1047. From that time onwards the family lived and prospered at Xidi.
The population began to rise sharply from 1465, when the Hu family began to act as merchants. The construction of a number of important private and public buildings, and in particular the Huiyuan and Gulai bridges, began at around that time. From the mid 17th century until around 1850 the Hu family was influential in both commerce and politics. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties members of the family became Imperial officials, whilst many also became graduates of the Imperial College. At its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries the village had more than six hundred residences. However, with the decline of the Anhui merchant community and the disintegration of the feudal clan system during the later Qing Dynasty and the Republic, Xidi ceased to expand.
Due to heavy rain when we were there that kind of kills my mood to take photos at the beginning, so kind of missed out few shots that I should have take as it is the iconic symbols of the villages. :(
A rainy shots that I took outside of the village.
Anyway ~~~~ Here's some shots of the village which I don't think you can have a real view of how does the village is :P
What caught my attention was the art students who were actually doing their projects of sketching. It's like every corner we walked to, there are students sitting and drawing at their best. No wonder they can be such a great artist !
An extract of the brief history of Hongcun, also from Unesco's website:
Hongcun was founded in 1131 by Wang Wen, a Han Dynasty General, and his kinsman Wang Yanji, who brought their families from Qisu village to the upper part of the stream near Leigang mountain and built 13 houses there. The village knew two periods of great prosperity, 1401- 1620 and 1796-1908. Like the Hu family in Xidi, the Wang family became officials and merchants and accumulated enormous wealth, which they used to endow their home village with many fine buildings. Around 1405, on the advice of geomancers, a channel was dug to bring fresh water to the village from the West Stream. Two hundred years later the water supply system of the village was completed with the creation of the South Lake. The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the construction of a number of imposing public buildings, such as the South Lake Academy (1814), the Hall of Meritorious Deeds (1888), the Hall of Virtuousness (1890), and the Hall of Aspiration (1855, rebuilt 1911).
Somewhat later than Xidi, Hongcun fell into a decline with the birth of the Republic, but it still retains many of its fine buildings and its exceptional water system.
The bridge into the villlage
Hongcun's central clearing
Can never get rid of those peoples out of my photos ! RAWR ....
What is interesting to look at is definitely the amazing artwork, crafting at the walls, the pillars just like the above photos. People in those days, I'm not sure if there's just too rich or just too free or what but it's just really amazing ... Don't look at the artwork just like that cuz each has its stories. It's all about story telling through artwork.
We were very lucky to be able to enjoy the local foods here at the Hongcun village at one of the farmer's house, well which basically has turn into a restaurant for tourists. But us, able to have it inside the house. It's just so kampung-feel lor .....
Reason why everyone is standing is not because we are having steamboats, is because it's either the chair is too short or the table is just too tall that we had to stand up to get the vege and so end up everyone my as well just stand while eat. xD
Some of the more "special" dish that we had here ... Can i just say it's omnomnomnom ... :P