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Huizhou Xidi Village

Xidi is a village located in Yi County of south Anhui province. As the most typical representative of Huizhou tourist attractions, Xidi ancient village is at the south foot of Huangshan Mountain, 54 kilometers away from downtown city, 40 kilometers away from Huangshan Mountain Scenic Area and 8 kilometers away from Yi County. The whole village is 700 meters long and 300 meters wide. On November 30, 2000, Xidi ancient village together with Hongcun village was approved as a site of world cultural heritage in the 24th UNESCO world heritage committee conference held in Cairns city, Australia.

Xidi Village History

huizhou xidi ancient village
Huizhou Xidi Ancient Village

Xidi is a well-preserved ancient village with great Huizhou regional architectural arts as well as the colorful historic and cultural legacies. Roughly 8 kilometers away from the downtown county, Xidi village was originally built in the Huangyou regin of North Song Dynasty(1049~1054). Up to today, it has experienced a history of approximately 1000 years. In accordance with the historical records, the forefather of Xidi local residents was the son of Li Ye(李晔),Emperor Zhaozong of Tang Dynasty. Due to the turmoil, he escaped and hided in folk community, and changed his family name to be Hu, and this was an important origin of local history. The local tradition is highlighted with education and Confucianism. To be a high official via reading Confucian classics used to their lifelong plan. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, a part of educated residents engaged in business. Thanks to their success in trading, they went in for building the architectural complexes, like the mansions, memorial temples, roads, bridges and other houses. The quality of these architectures is quite high, having experienced hundreds of years, many architectural clusters remain well, and the whole village style keeps the basic feature of village of Ming and Qing Dynasties. The layout of the whole village shapes a boat, and there are 124 ancient folk residential complex preserved well. It boasts the epitome of Chinese traditional culture and the folk residential museum of Ming and Qing Dynasties. Currently, there are more than 1000 residents living in village.

Tourist Attractions of Xidi Ancient Village

Xidi village is surrounded by hills, and two streams go across village and connect at Huiyuan Bridge in the south of village. The whole village is comprised of one main street and two ways along the streams. The basic features shape the village structural system. The whole streets and alleys are all paved with bluestones from Yi County, and the ancient architecture is mostly built of the woods and bricks. The wood-carvings, stone-carvings and brick-carvings are colorful. The whole village features the flexible change and traditional architectural design. It is the typical show of Huizhou architectural style.

Exactly, there are 124 residential buildings and 3 memorial temples, and the representatives are Lingyunge (Soaring Cloud Pavilion), Cishi Pailou(Decorated Archway of Feudal Prefectural Governor), Ruiyuting(Courtyard of Auspicious Jade), Taoliyuan(Garden of Peach and Plum), East Garden, West Garden, Dafudi(Mansion of Senior Official), Jingaitang(Hall of Respect), Lvfutang(Hall of Trending on Fortune), Qingyunxuan(Pavilion of Green Cloud), Yingfu Hall, Dujing Hall, Yanggao Hall, Shangde Hall, Zhenshi Small Villa, Benevolence Hall, Zhuimu Hall and others. They undoubtedly are the quintessence of Chinese traditional architecture

huizhou xidi ancient village
The Access to Huizhou Xidi Ancient Village

The bluestone archway at the end of the village was built in 1578, and it is built with four columns and five floors. The whole archway is towering and delicate, and it symbolizes the superior status of Hu family. Lvfu Hall built in the period of Emperor Kangxi has the elegant displaying and is full of the scholarly atmosphere. The hall is quite huge, and highlighted with the quite educative and philosophical couplets, the representative is:

读书好营商好效好便好-Reading well, trading well, it will be well if the effect is well
创业难守成难知难不难-Working hard, maintaining hard, it will be not hard if the hardness is known

This couple is quite famous among the businessmen and the great legacy of Huizhou businessmen left to the descendants. It shows the real characteristics of Confucian businessmen. There is another ancient mansion named Dafudi, which was built in 1691 as a pavilion-style architecture. The mansion of each family in Xidi village is quite delicate. The themed brick carvings with dais and pavilions, human images as well as the colored woodcarvings and mural paintings embodies the essence of the ancient art of China. The whole village comprised of many ancient architectures and 99 high walls and alleys. It looks like a maze for the first-time travelers.

hu wenguang archway
Hu Wenguang Ancient Archway

Xidi Lingyunge(凌云阁), also called Zoumalou(Xidi Running-Horse Tower), is a landmark of Xidi village. There is an Archway of Hu Wenguang (胡文光牌坊), which is locally considered as the Xidi Archway. Hu Wenguang was a high official of Ming Dynasty. And the Emperor built this archway to speak highly of the achievements of Hu Wenguang. In history, there used to 13 archways, and majority of them are built for praising the obedience of son and virginity of women. This archway is the most magnificent and delicate as the representative of Huizhou ancient archways. Lingyunge located on the west side of Hu Wenguang Archway was built in Qing Dynasty. It was said that the family of Hu Guansan(胡贯三, a famous businessman of Huzhou) held the ceremony to welcome a relative from She County, and the premier, called Cao Zhenyong(曹振镛) arrived in Huizhou unexpectedly. For reception, Hu family built this archway in a short time.

Dooryard and Embroidery Room. The local residences share a same characteristic – dooryard, and this is also a highlight of Huzhou architectural style. The doorway is set in front of the mail hall to play the role of getting sunlight and ventilation. Over the past, the businessmen of Huzhou built the tall wall and enclosed mansion in order to hide treasure and prevent thieves. They rarely opened the window, and then set a dooryard to connect the nature. Moreover, it also expresses the philosophy of Chinese merchants: taking collection as the base, so they used to be afraid of the treasure loss. To relieve this worry, they built the dooryard to collect all rainwater into the house, because the water anciently was considered as the wealth, and ancient people called the rich man the White Water Zhen Ren(白水真人), and this is a show of the local people’s attention to collecting fortune. Embroidery Tower actually is an attic exclusively used for the unmarried girl’s weaving work and secretly looking at the young man who visited her family.

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Writer: David from Seeraa International
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