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Nuodeng Culture

Nuodeng salt

The salty water from the well is cooked till all water has evaporated and the clear white salt remains. This is done in the traditional way in large metal pans on a wood fire. The salt is pressed in cones for transport and sale.

Because of their salt Nuodeng was an important place on the ancient trade routes, even several of the bridges in the area are paid for with money from the salt trade.

Nuodeng, outpost on the Tea Horse Road

This 2,000 year-old, historically and culturally rich mountain stronghold was once one of the richest of its kind in China. Situated 100 kilometers west of Dali, Nuodeng is famous for its salt wells, which were the largest source of revenue for people in western Yunnan during the Ming Dynasty. Later, the hamlet became an integral stop on the old Tea Horse Road — connecting, among others, Dali to the east, Tengchong and Baoshan to the south, Myanmar to the west, and Lijiang and Tibetan outposts to the north.

The rich legacy of this ancient town still lives in its relics — its weather-beaten buildings, tombs and temples. Once one gains an insight into the age-old etiquette of the village folks, they will get to experience a slice of authentic China.

This time-warped, remote village has retained its quintessential essence since the Tang Dynasty. Travelers here can witness the culture, traditions and history of an era preserved in the purest of forms. Even the layout of the town has escaped the blows of time and modernity, and this is perhaps what is most unique about Nuodeng.

The village is sprinkled with elegant residential courtyard homes as well as buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Its Jade Emperor Pavilion, Confucian Temple, Wu Temple, and Dragon King Temple are all historic relics that are definitely worth a visit. Also, before leaving the village, travelers should make sure they have visited the local Salt Bureau and the sites in and around the town's once-bottomless well. These embody the prosperity of a town which lived and breathed the salt it produced in the past.

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