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Ancient Places / Trip Ideas

The most popular ancient towns in Hunan

By Yan Jiang

April 27

China boasts a reputation for its long history, and it seems pretty appealing for overseas visitors to explore China’s mysterious ancient towns.

China boasts a reputation for its long history, and it seems pretty appealing for overseas visitors to explore China’s mysterious ancient towns.

China boasts a reputation for its long history, and it seems pretty appealing for overseas visitors to explore China’s mysterious ancient towns. Here is an intro to the most popular ones in Hunan Province.

1. Fenghuang Ancient Town 凤凰古城

[Image Credit: China.org.cn/ Wang Wei]
[Image Credit: China.org.cn/ Wang Wei]
The most picturesque town in China in the eyes of Louis Eli.

Fenghuang Ancient Town always ranks among the very top destinations for international tourists with its authentic beauty and rich diversity of ethic cultures. Located in the southwest area of Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, its written history can be traced back to 227 BC. Fenghuang Ancient Town is heavily populated by ethnic minorities, who account for over 70% of the total population of about 370,000. Diaojiaolou, a kind of iconic wooden building that hangs over the Tuo River (沱江), is a characteristic ethic dwelling constructed by the locals.

2. Hongjiang Old Commercial Town 洪江古商城

[Image Credit: China.org.cn/ Yin Zhong]
[Image Credit: China.org.cn/ Yin Zhong]
An unpolished gem in the west of Hunan Province.

Located upstream on the Wu River, Southwest Hunan Province, Hongjiang Old Commercial City (洪江古商城) has a history of 3000 years. Established in the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC), it used to function as a distribution centre for tung oil, wood, and opium and flourished into a regional commercial hub at the intersection of five provinces of southwest China, including Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Guangxi and Yunnan.

The town boasts more than 380 intact ancient structures erected during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, covering an area of 100,000 square meters. The buildings have endured the ages with some wear, but they remain vivid reminders of the luxurious lifestyles of wealthy merchants past.

3. Qianyang Ancient Town 黔阳古城

[Image Credit: Pcpop.com/ Shen Pei]
[Image Credit: Pcpop.com/ Shen Pei]
The gateway to Yunan and Guizhou.

On the banks of Yuan River, Qianyang Ancient Town used to be a provincial cultural center and is now one of best preserved historic architecture from of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The history of Qianyang is 1400 years longer than Lijiang Ancient Town in Yunan Province and 900 years longer than Fenghuang Ancient Town.

4. Furong Ancient Town 芙蓉镇

[Image Credit: Fengniao.com/ WeiCengYouYue]
[Image Credit: Fengniao.com/ WeiCengYouYue]
The town perched next to a waterfall.

Located in Yongshun County, Xinagxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, the town’s original name was Wang Village and was changed to Furong Town in 2007 after a famous Chinese movie, called Furong Town, was shot there. It only takes 2.5 – 3 hours from here to Fenghuang Ancient Town, making a good route for your west Hunan trip.

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