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  1. Xizhou Old Town,Dali

  2. Xizhou Old Town,Dali

Chinese Name: 喜洲古镇

Location: 34 kilometers of Xiaguan County, Dali Bai Nationality Autonomous Prefecture.

Before Visit Xizhou Old Town:

With Erhai Lake in the east and Cangshan Mountain in the west, Xizhou Old Town is the typical town with Bai's characters. More than 1500 years ago, Xizhou and nearby area has been the major habitat for the Bai people. During Sui Dynasty, the region was conquered by Shi Wansui, General of Sui Dynasty. Locals also called the town ‘Shi Town’. Until today, we still can see many well preserved residential houses of Bai's style.

History of Xizhou Old Town:

Xizhou is an old town of long history. Early in Han Dynasty, it belonged to Yuyu county. In Nanzhao period, it had been a onetime capital, also named “Da Li city” or “Shi City ”. Xizhou also has a long history in business, according to the “Documentation of Dali County” in the early years of the Republic of China: “as for commercial mind, Xizhou people are the best”. Along more than one thousand years of the historical river, Xizhou businessmen had even left their tracks in southeast Asia areas like “Xunchuan” and “Luoguo”.

During Guangxu years of Qing Dynasty, the internationally famous “Xizhou Trade Caravan ” was established. There were more than 300 business groups, firms and commercial ports in many places around the world, for example, early in 1920s, the four great commercial families including Yong Changxiang, Xi Qingxiang, Hong Xingyuan and Fu Chunhe had already established businesses in Shanghai and Hongkong. Therfore, Xizhou has a title of “Minor Shanghai”.

Since Sui Dynasty, there had been thousands of scholars with official title. It was said by local people that “we have more than eighty second-grade successful candidates in the highest imperial examination, and numerous scholars at provincial and local levels”. 

Dali Xizhou Old Town Dali Xizhou Old Town

Xizhou Old Town in Dali

Traditional Residences of Bai people in Xizhou:

Xizhou was once a commercial center of Yunnan, and the birthplace of Bai's modern entrepreneurs. It is said that more than 140 wealthy families built their houses here, including the Yan's, the Yang's, the Dong's and the Zhao's. These houses are characterized by 'three rooms and a wall screening' and 'four joints and five courtyards'. 'Three rooms and a wall screening' refers that every house boasts a major room flanked by two wing-rooms, and facing the middle room erects a wall screening for the house privacy. '4 joints and 5 courtyards' means the houses have a central courtyard with rooms in all directions; other smaller four courtyards join the central one from four sides to make five courtyards.

Traditional Residences of Bai popple in Xizhou Old Town pay much attention to the decorations of screens, doors, windows, walls, flower terrace, arches over gateways. The center of the screen is often inscribed with four characters, or embedded with a marble. Doors and windows are mostly made of rare wood and carved with auspicious designs. Walls are painted with white lime and decorated with wash drawings. Arches over gateways with upturned eaves are exquisitely carved with great care and precision.

Even today in Xizhou Old Town, among the traditional Bai people’s residences with blue tiles and white walls, you can still find those of Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty and Republic of China period. There are, in total, 15510 Bai residences, among which 151 are century-old relics. These residences have well revealed Bai people’s social history, politics, economy, culture and art. Xizhou, a place of green mountains, clear waters, gentle wind and bright moon, is a true museum of Bai society.

Main Attraction in Xizhou Old Town

Yan Family Compound

Yan's Compound in Xizhou is the most representative of Bai-style residences. The compound covers an area of about 3,066 square meters (0.76 acres), built around the 1920's. As a whole, it is divided into four parts and each part is cleverly linked together. After visiting this impressive compound, one will ameliorate the admiration for its magnificence and the Bai people's architectural gifts. 

Nearby Attractions

Erhai Lake

This amazing lake lies next to the amazing historic sites in the Dali valley and the natural scenery and good hiking trails on Cangshan Mountain. The whole region is full of interesting and beautiful sites. 

Three Pagodas and Chongsheng Monastery

The magnificent Chongsheng Temple and the well-known Three Pagodas are the symbol of Dali.

‣‣‣ Xizhou Travel Guide

‣‣‣ Dali Travel Guide

‣‣‣ Tours Including Xizhou Old Town

• 2 Days Dali Old Town and Erhai Lake Cycling Tour

Admission Fee:¥0

Attraction Transportation:

Get to Xizhou Old Town:

you can take the minicars from Xiaguan to Lijiang along the Yunnan-Tibet Highway, and get off in Xizhou Town. The travel will cost you 5-8 yuan and take you 1 hour. You can go back in the same day if you want.

Attraction Travel Tips:

Food in Xizhou Old Town:

Xizhou Cake is the most famous food in Xizhou. It is made of leaven flour, knead with vegetable, and added spring onion, Chinese prickly ash, and salted for a salt taste, or ham, diced meat, pork scraps and brown sugar for a sweet taste. Toast for ten minutes and it is served.

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