Hidden amid the forest of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Zhenyuan Ancient Town is a maze of crisscrossing laneways and ancient architectures. Over 160 architectural relics include Green Dragon Cave Architecture Complex, 33 Ming and Qing Dynasties residential houses, 12 ancient wharfs, 8 ancient alleys and 5 ancient bypasses scatter within its boundary encompassing an area of 3.1 square kilometers. Over 2000 years’ history bestows it with immeasurable cultural and historical significance. Today, it ranks as one of the Top Four Ancient Towns in Guizhou, just like Qingyan, Longli and Bing’an.
Zhenyuan Ancient Town: the maze of ancient architecture
Taking a panoramic view, you will unravel the myth of Zhenyuan Ancient Town at a glance: resembling a giant Yin and Yang symbol, it is a land of harmony and cultural tolerance. In this melting pot, over 20 ethnic cultures co-exist with the myriad of regional cultures represented by Zhongyuan Culture (China Northern Plain culture centered on Henan province), Jingchu Culture (Hunan and Hubei culture), Bashu Culture(Sichuan culture), Wuyue Culture(Jiangsu and Zhejiang culture) and Minyue Culture(Fujian and Guangdong culture). During the past, some fervent Western missionaries covered half of the earth and settled down here, who spared no effort to diffuse Christian. Though they failed to convert local people into devout Christian on a large scale, their efforts are not total futile. In the local market, you can see a shop owner busies himself with reading the Bible and in Qingyan, whose church is teemed with both white faces and yellow faces.
Zhenyuan Ancient Town resembles a Yin and Yang symbol
Due to its favorable geographic location, Zhenyuan Ancient Town first served as a key military stronghold and later a trade hub and culture center. The rugged topography failed to impair the cultural exchange, thanks to businessmen and scholars home and abroad flocking into this place, which resulted in a lasting economic boom and cultural renaissance.
During the turmoil periods, Zhenyuan Ancient Town, a key relay along South Silk Road, witnessed the rising of numerous military generals and heroes, whose legacies to the world are encouraging legends, stately strongholds, solemn God of War temples, city walls, watchtowers, forts and the south Great Wall in the Miao frontier area.
The past century also left its imprint on this town. During that time, the first batch of heavy industry factories surfaced. In the 1930s ( the Anti-Japanese War Period), some defeated Japanese soldiers were rescued by
Kuomingdang(GMD) Government, who built a shelter here to contain these blood-thirsty killers and succeeded in transforming them into peace-lovers. To memorize this miracle, this shelter is named after “Peace Village” and has become a tourist site.
Dragon Boat Race will be celebrated the fifth day on each fifth lunar month
Over 20 ethnic groups live in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Automonous Prefecture, making it a land of festivals and music and dance. (on this photo: Miao people)
Compared to the bustling old town of Lijiangand Fenghuang, Zhenyuan Ancient Town is a lesser-known and undervalued resort with exceeding charm and far fewer tourists. Hence, it is wise to visit this rising star in the horizon before it slips into the abyss of overcommercialization.
Green Dragon Cave: the centerpiece of Zhenyuan Ancient Town