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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Old City, Lijiang, China

This is yet another old town in China that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Deservedly so.  In the 13th century AD, during the later Southern Song Dynasty, the ancestors of the ruling Mu family moved their main centre from Baisha to the foot of the Shizi Mountains, to a new town known as Dayechang (later Dayan), where they began building houses.  The Old Town is the only old city built without a city wall. If the Chinese character 'Mu' (represents the governor of Lijiang) is put into a frame (represents the city wall), you have the character 'Kun' which means 'siege' or 'predicament'. This would mean that the governing Mu family and their descendants would always be trapped like a rat in a hole. Because of this symbolism, the Old Town was never given a city wall.

As a result of the combination of the multinational culture and the progress of Naxi ethnic minority, the buildings here incorporate the best parts of the architectural traits of Han, Bai, and Tibet into a unique Naxi style. The layout of the town is free-style and flexible, the houses are close and diverse, and the lanes are narrow and meandering. Naxi people pay much attention to the decoration, the commodious and applied houses are mostly timber and tile structure compound with a garden, each has engraved vivid figures of people and animals on doors and windows, beautiful flowers and trees in the garden.Living in such a beautiful and comfortable environment is a real pleasant thing.

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