Old Town of Lijiang

Last updated
Old Town of Lijiang
UNESCO World Heritage Site
1 lijiang old town 2012a.jpg
Location Lijiang, Yunnan, China
Criteria Cultural: (ii), (iv), (v)
Reference 811bis
Inscription1997 (21st session)
Extensions2012
Area145.6 ha (360 acres)
Buffer zone582.3 ha (1,439 acres)
Coordinates 26°52′N100°14′E / 26.867°N 100.233°E / 26.867; 100.233 Coordinates: 26°52′N100°14′E / 26.867°N 100.233°E / 26.867; 100.233
China Yunnan location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Old Town of Lijiang in Yunnan
China edcp relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Old Town of Lijiang (China)

Dayan (Chinese :大研), commonly called the Old Town of Lijiang (simplified Chinese :丽江古城; traditional Chinese :麗江古城; pinyin :Lìjiāng Gǔchéng) is the historical center of Lijiang City, in Yunnan, China. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Contents

History

Shops along the street with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background 1 lijiang old town yulong xueshan 2012.jpg
Shops along the street with Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the background

The town has a history going back more than 1,000 years and was once a confluence for trade along the "Old Tea Horse Caravan Trail". The Dayan Old town is famous for its orderly system of waterways and bridges, a system fast becoming but a memory as the underground water table drops, probably due to over-building in the suburban areas.

Lijiang's culture combines traditional Nakhi culture and incongruous elements learned from Ming dynasty Han Chinese traders who settled in the region centuries ago. Nakhi people have kept alive a timber and mud brick housing style which they learned from Nanjing traders. Local carpenters still build elaborately constructed timber house frames from memory without blueprints or other diagrams. These houses are often enhanced by detailed flower and bird carvings on the windows. The carvings are now made by ethnic Bai artisans, but attention is given to depicting the flora and fauna of the four seasons in the traditional Han Chinese manner. Even impoverished farming families gather their resources to install carved windows, and seem to consider them more important than furniture for the house. The window panels are available for sale to tourists.

The Nakhi people learned Chinese classical music from the visitors from Nanjing during the Ming Dynasty and continue to play that music even to this day, long after the art died out in other parts of China. The old musicians have been organized for regular performances in Dayan Old Town and less regular performances in the outlying villages.

Side by side with this well preserved evidence of Han culture resides Nakhi local culture, and this can be seen in the old town and on many street corners even today in the form of circle dances, attended by young and old from the local neighborhoods. The Dayan Old Town circle dances are led by Hakhi women in local Nakhi costume.

Circle dancing in costume is also a custom of the Tibetan people to the north of Lijiang and of the Bai people to the south. Previously there were substantial Tibetan and Bai settlements in Dayan Old Town but most of these people have been resettled to districts away from the tourist areas. Tibetan circle dancing can be seen occasionally in Dayan Old Town and more regularly in private gardens and Nongjiale 农家乐 gatherings of local Tibetans. Both Nakhi and Tibetan circle dancing are practiced outside of the town's Tibetan temples Wenfeng Si 文峰寺on Wenbifeng 文笔峰 Mountain, Zhiyun Si指云寺 near Lashi Hai 拉市海 Lake and Fuguo Si 富国寺 on Jade Dragon Mountain玉龙雪山, especially on temple festival days.

Greater Lijiang (including Dayan, and two villages to the north, called Baisha 白沙 and Shuhe 束河 respectively) was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List on December 4, 1997. [1] Since then, the local government has taken more responsibility for the development and protection of the old city. Lijiang's tourism increased over the past twenty years, and travelers from around the world visit, though most tourists are still Han Chinese from other parts of China; the old town of Dayan has been extensively redeveloped with an eye to enhancing its commercial appeal to Han Chinese tourists and the genuinely old buildings are now in the minority.

Culture

A Nakhi old woman in the town square 1 lijiang old town old woman naxi nakhi 2012.jpg
A Nakhi old woman in the town square

Performances by the Nakhi of Dongjing Music, an ancient form of Han Chinese ritual music, can be heard for a fee in Dayan and for a donation in Shuhe, Baisha and sometimes in other villages in the area. A pricy glamorization of the Tea and Horse Caravans is presented in the form of a musical organized by film producer and director Zhang Yimou.

See also

Recent changes

Panorama of the old town as seen from Wan Gu Lou 1 lijiang old town 2012.jpg
Panorama of the old town as seen from Wan Gu Lou

The influx of tourists that followed the inscription of the Ancient town of Lijiang onto UNESCO's World Heritage list has had dramatic effects. Most of the Nakhi inhabitants of the ancient city have moved away due to rising costs of housing and food items, only to be replaced by tourist establishments who pay huge rents to the Nakhi owners, now retired to the new town area. [2] The growth of these tourism businesses is largely uncontrolled. [3]

Related Research Articles

Yunnan Province in Southwest China

Yunnan is a landlocked province in the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately 394,000 square kilometres (152,000 sq mi) and has a population of 48,3 million. The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders the Chinese provinces of Guizhou, Sichuan, autonomous regions of Guangxi, and Tibet as well as Southeast Asian countries: Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. Yunnan is China's fourth least developed province based on disposable income per capita in 2014.

Nakhi people

The Nakhi or Nashi are an ethnic group inhabiting the foothills of the Himalayas in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province, as well as the southwestern part of Sichuan Province in China.

Pumi people

The Pumi people are an ethnic group. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by China.

Dali City County-level city in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

Dali City, formerly known as Tali, is the county-level seat of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern Yunnan. Dali City is administered through 12 township-level districts, two of which are also commonly referred to as Dali.

Lijiang Prefecture-level city in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

Lijiang, also known as Likiang, is a prefecture-level city in the northwest of Yunnan Province, China. It has an area of 21,219 square kilometres (8,193 sq mi) and had a population of 1,244,769 at the 2010 census whom 211,151 lived in the built-up area (metro) made up of Gucheng District. Lijiang is famous for its UNESCO Heritage Site, the Old Town of Lijiang.

Mount Lu

Mount Lu or Lushan, also known as Kuanglu (匡庐) in ancient times, is situated in the northern part of Jiangxi province in Central China, and is one of the most renowned mountains in the country. It is located primarily in Lushan county-level city in Jiujiang Prefecture, although the northern portions are found in Lianxi District which was formerly known as Lushan District and until 2016 covered the majority of the Mount Lu. The oval-shaped mountains are about 25 kilometers (16 mi) long and 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) wide, and neighbors Jiujiang city and the Yangtze River to the north, Nanchang city to the south, and Poyang Lake to the east. Its highest point is Dahanyang Peak (大汉阳峰), reaching 1,474 meters (4,836 ft) above sea level, and is one of the hundreds of steep peaks that towers above a sea of clouds that encompass the mountains for almost 200 days out of the year. Mount Lu is known for its grandeur, steepness, and beauty, and is part of Lushan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, and a prominent tourist attraction, especially during the summer months when the weather is cooler.

Joseph Rock Austrian-American explorer

Joseph Francis Charles Rock was an Austrian-American botanist, explorer, geographer, linguist, ethnographer and photographer.

Music of Yunnan

The music of Yunnan, a province in southwestern China, includes the traditional music of many ethnic groups, including the Miao, Hani and Nakhi (Naxi), the last being the most numerous in the area.

Baisha xiyue is one of the two surviving forms of traditional music of the Naxi people of Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China, known as "Naxi ancient music". Baisha is a town located ten kilometres north of Lijiang, and was the capital of the independent Naxi kingdom before it was annexed by the Yuan Empire in 1271.

Shangri-La City County-level city in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

Shangri-La or Xianggelila, is a county-level city in Northwestern Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China and is the location of the seat of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, bordering Sichuan to the northwest, north, and east.

Naxi, also known as Nakhi, Nasi, Lomi, Moso, Mo-su, is a Sino-Tibetan language or group of languages spoken by some 310,000 people most of whom live in or around Lijiang City Yulong Naxi Autonomous County of the province of Yunnan, China. Nakhi is also the ethnic group that speaks it, although in detail, officially defined ethnicity and linguistic reality do not coincide neatly: there are speakers of Naxi who are not registered as "Naxi" and citizens who are officially "Naxi" but do not speak it.

Dongjing (music)

Dongjing music or donjiang is a type of Chinese ritual music traditionally performed by the Nakhi people, Han people, and Bai people of Yunnan province, southwest China.

Tourism in China Overview of tourism in the Peoples Republic of China

Tourism in China is a growing industry that is becoming a significant part of the Chinese economy. The rate of tourism has greatly expanded over the last few decades since the beginning of reform and opening-up. The emergence of a newly rich middle class and an easing of restrictions on movement by the Chinese authorities are both fueling this travel boom. China has become one of world'sand outbound tourist markets. According to Xinhuanet, the world is on the cusp of a sustained Chinese tourism boom.

Three Parallel Rivers

The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yunnan province, China. It lies within the drainage basins of the upper reaches of the Yangtze (Jinsha), Lancang (Mekong) and Nujiang (Salween) rivers, in the Yunnan section of the Hengduan Mountains.

Tengchong County-level city in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

Tengchong is a county-level city of Baoshan City, western Yunnan province, People's Republic of China. It is well known for its volcanic activity. The city is named after the town of Tengchong which serves as its political center, previously known as Tengyue in Chinese. English language sources of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries use names such as Teng-Chung, Tingyueh, Teng Yueh, Momein, and Momien, these last two from the name for the place, one of the former Chinese Shan States, in the Shan language.

Ganden Sumtseling Monastery

The Ganden Sumtsenling Monastery, also known as Sungtseling and Guihuasi, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery situated 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the city of Zhongdian at elevation 3,380 metres (11,090 ft) in Yunnan province, China. Built in 1679, the monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan province and is sometimes referred to as the Little Potala Palace. Located in the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, it is also the most important monastery in southwest China.

Peter Goullart was a Russian-born traveler, explorer and author, who is best known for a number of books describing the life and customs of various peoples living in remote parts of East and Southeast Asia.

Chiefdom of Lijiang

The Chiefdom of Lijiang was a Nakhi autonomous Tusi chiefdom that ruled Lijiang during Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasty.

Dali Town Town in Yunnan, Peoples Republic of China

Dali Town is a township-level division in Dali City, in the northwest of Yunnan province, China. The town contains the historic centre of the county-level city of Dali and is also commonly known as Dali Old Town. The modern centre of Dali City, however, is 10 km south of the old town at Xiaguan. Being the county seat of Dali City, Xiaguan is often labelled as Dali on maps and is sometimes referred to as Dali New Town (大理新镇) to distinguish it from Dali Town. The old town has become well-known as a tourist site in part thanks to its picturesque location and historic Bai architecture.

References

  1. "Old Town of Lijiang". UNESCO. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  2. "Reconciling Tourism and Conservation: The Case of Historic Towns". China Heritage Newsletter, China Heritage Project, The Australian National University, ISSN 1833-8461, No. 2, June 2005. June 2005.
  3. "UNESCO WHC-ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Old Town of Lijiang, China". UNESCO WHC-ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Old Town of Lijiang, China. 10–19 January 2008.