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Ancient villages in Shanxi: Xucun village

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2015-08-07

Encircled by mountains and rivers, Xucun village in Heshun county, North China’s Shanxi province has only 420 households with 1,370 villagers.

At its entrance are an imposing memorial archway and a sign in a modern structure which reads” 许村国际艺术公社”, or “Xucun International Art Community”. The integration of eastern and western cultures is impressive even outside of the village.

Ancient villages in Shanxi: Xucun village
The gateway of Xucun village in Shanxi province [Photo/sxrb.com]

Xucun village's history could date back to the Spring and Autumn period (771 -476 BC), as the garrison camp of Li Keyong, a prince of the Tang Dynasty (618—907). The village’s ancestors, surnamed Yu, Yang, Fan and Wang, moved from the mountain’s top to the mountain’s foot, where they built Xucun village in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The deepest well in the Taihang Mountains area was dug at that time, and has since been the main water source in the village.

Thanks to its geographical advantage at the border with Xingtai city, Hebei province, there has been a commercial street between the two province since the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1636-1912), still well preserved to today.

Ancient villages in Shanxi: Xucun village

A bird-eye's view of Xucun village in Shanx province. [Photo/xucunartcommune.com]

Sitting on the grand Yangqu Mountain and lying by the Zhanghe River, Xucun village has beautiful scenery all year around, as well as Northern Chinese folk culture like paper cutting, dragon lantern dancing and land boats performance. The architecture and folklore, originating in the Ming and Qing dynasties, are well preserved in the village,

In addition to the impressive scenery and ancient structures, the village is also highlighted by modern arts. For example, the movie Old Well, which won the 8th Golden Rooster Award for Best Picture in 1988, was shot in Xucun village in 1986.

Ancient villages in Shanxi: Xucun village

Xuncun International Art Community in Xucun village, Shanxi province. [Photo/xucunartcommune.com]

In 2011, the Xucun International Art Community was set up in the village, and artists from home and abroad came to the village to finish their works while they participated in the 2011 1st Heshun Village International Art Festival, which is held every two years. The village is also the creation base for ten artistic organizations, such as Shanxi University and Australian art foundation.

Tips:

Route:

Tourists start from Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, and drive along Taiyu road to Yuci district of Jinzhong city, and then drive along Dongyu road 26 km away from Heshun county. Tourists can also make their way through Taichang highway and Xingfen expressway, and exit from Zuoquan station, then drive ahead to Heshun county.

Accommodation:

Home dishes, made of local ingredients. Tourists can stay in rural home inns.

Entertainment:

The deepest old well in Taihang Mountains, Xucun International Art Community, and country pubs.

 

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