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Ancient villages in Shanxi: Xiamen village

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2015-08-18

The Chinese legend, “Emperor Yu tames the flood” says that in order to channel flood waters from the Fenhe River to the Yellow River, Emperor Yu, leader of the Xia tribe, built a mountain pass between the Taiyue and Luliang Mountains. This pass is now the location of Xiamen village.

Xiamen village is in the city of Jinzhong, Shanxi province, nine kilometers away from the southwest of Lingshi county.

Ancient villages in Shanxi: Xiamen village
Castle-like residence in Xiamen village, Shanxi province. [Photo/nlc.gov.cn]

Encircled on three sides by the Fenhe river , the village was built on a giant rock, with steep cliffs in front and high mountains behind. A line of castle-like residences was erected near the Fenhe River. Known as Xiamen Castle, it was constructed between the Wanli Reign of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the Guangxu reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Although it has gone through over 400 years, most structures in the village are well preserved and maintain their original patterns. Now there are over 60 ancient buildings and historical sites in the village, including tombs, courtyards, temples, ancestral halls, stores, and memorial archways, all forming an ancient architectural complex with a castle style.

Ancient villages in Shanxi: Xiamen village

Ancient lane in Xiamen village, Shanxi province. [Photo/nlc.gov.cn]

Baichi Tower is one of the ancient structures in Xiamen village. Baichi means hundreds of chi, a Chinese unit of length equal to 33.33 centimeters. Baichi Tower is hailed as the most famous tower in Shanxi, built in the Reign of Emperor Qianlong during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by Liang Shu, one of the descendants of Xiamen village’s Liang Family. The Liang Family was one of the four most notable families in Lingshi county in ancient times.

Most of the streets and lanes in Xiamen village are paved with dressed stones. These streets connect the village’s courtyards. Some streets and lanes are connected by secret passages, not only for convenience, but also for, hiding and drainage.

Ancient villages in Shanxi: Xiamen village
An ancient courtyard in Xiamen village, Shanxi province. [Photo/nlc.gov.cn]

Tips:

Route:

Tourists can take a train to Lingshi Railway Station, then take No 2 Bus to its terminal-Xiamen town (Xiamenzhen). Self-driving tourists can go along No 108 National Highway towards Lingshi county, and the village is ten km away from its southern downtown, on the west bank of the Fenhe River.

Accommodation:

Tourists can stay in the hotels in the downtown of Lingshi County and try local specialties, such as steamed sponge cake and porridge made of corn powder.

 

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