Hongcun, Huangshan
Huangshan, is a prefecture-level city centered around the Huangshan Mountains in southern Anhui province in eastern China, with a population of 1.4 million and an area of 9807 square kilometers (3786 square miles), Its urban area was originally the city of Tunxi; this now constitutes Tunxi District. Huangshan is the largest city of Anhui Province. It consists of 3 districts (Huangshan, Huizhou and Tunxi) and 4 counties (Qimen, Shexian, Xiuning and Yi). It was known historically as Xin'an Prefecture and Huizou Prefecture, and gained its present name in 1987 for the breathtaking beauty of Mt. Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), respectively. Mt. Huangshan, one of the most famous mountain peaks in China, is a frequent place for tourist visits. In 1990, Mt. Huangshan was listed as a World Heritage Site.
Hangshan City has a history of over 2200 years. Its two oldest counties, Shexian and Yixian, were established during Qing Dynasty when the system of prefecture and county took shape. Huangshan City was formerly called Xin'an Prefecture, and later Huizhou Prefecture until it got current name in 1987.
Situated in a remote and picturesque mountainous area, Huizhou escaped many wars and battles throughout history. Refugees from the Central Plains came into this area and brought with them the Han culture starting from the Sui and Tang Dynasties. Many refugees were famous for their achievements in art, medicine, architecture and craftsmanship. Under their influences, Huizhou has become known as a remarkable place for producing great scholars, painters, artists and merchants.
The contributions of these talented and industrious people, together with the 2200-year history, have brought about the glorious and magnificent Huizhou Culture (also known as Xin'an Culture) which can be represented by Xin'an Philosophy, Xin'an Medicine School, Xin'an Painting School, Huizhou School of Woodblock, Huizhou Seal School, Huizhou Commerce, Huizhou Opera, Huizhou Cuisine, Huizhou Sculpture and Huizhou Style Architecture. This culture, originated mainly from the Central Plains (an area which comprises the middle and lower reaches of the Huanghe River) and integrated with traces of Shan'yue Culture, is an important part of Chinese Civilization. As a matter of fact, Huizhou Culture has become one of the three main fields of the Chinese Culture (Han) Study, the other two being Dunhuang and Tibetan Cultures. This is why more and more scholars form home and abroad turn their attention to Huizhou Culture, and many visitors have come to this area to examine the historical sites and relics. So far, more than 4900 sites and relics were found, among which, 57 sites are listed as key units under the state or provincial protection. The best known sites are the Qiankou Ancient Residence (in Huizhou District), Xugou Memorial Archway and Tangyue Archway Group (in Shexian County), Xidi Village and Hongcun Village (in Yixian County), just to name a few. The classic, elegant design of the buildings and the ingenious, magnificent layout of the landscapes are outstanding in its own way.
Huangshan City is not only noted for its charming natural landscapes but also celebrated for its ancient history and culture. In fact, Huangshan City is a national park and a museum where you can enjoy natural beauty and explore its centuries-old history and glorious culture.
Mt.Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) range covers an area of 1200 square kilometers (463 square miles) with a well developed scenic area of 154 square kilometers (60 square miles). Mt.Huangshan is famous for the uniquely shaped pines, the fantastic rock peaks, the sea of clouds and the hot springs. The mystic clouds drift in and out, changing the scenery from minute to minute as the mist rises and ebbs. One would think this is where the gods reside. Of all its numerous peaks, 72 are named by their shapes or after certain historical and religious figures or themes. However, major peaks that attract most visitors are the Bright Summit, the Heavenly Capital Peak and the Lotus Flower Peak.
Throughout history, praises were heaped on Mt.Huangshan by famous men of letters. On his second visit to the Yellow Mountain, Xu Xiake, the famous traveler and geographer of Ming Dynasty, exclaimed:"Mt.Huangshan in Anhui has no equals. Once on top, one finds no other match. This is the acme!" People later concluded:" No mountain is worth seeing after a trip to the Five Sacred Mountains, and no Sacred Mountain is worth seeing after a trip to Mt.Huangshan ". No wonder it is the only mountain which is listed in China's Top Ten Scenic Spots and designated by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.
Besides Mt.Huangshan (Yellow Mountain)
Huangshan City offers many other tourist attractions: the UNESCO named and well-preserved ancient villages (Xidi and Hongcun villages in Yixian County, the film site of the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), archways (in Shexian County), Taiping Lake (in Huangshan District) and Qiyun Taoist Mountain (in Xiuning County). Old houses, clan temples, ancient bridges and pagodas are abundant.
Huangshan City has two attractions named by UNESCO and many natural places of cultural interest, it has something for everyone. It is truly a first-rate tourist attraction.