Hongcun Village is located in Yixian County, located near the southwestern slope of Huangshan Mountain. It is listed as one of China's top 10 charming villages and together with Xidi Village it was added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List in 2000. Morning mists, gray tiles, white walls, stone bridges, water lily ponds, and hills at the background, are all elements of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Hongcun Village has all of these features, and has been named "a village in the Chinese painting". It is an inspiration for artists and film directors. Hongcun Village was the location for one of the fighting scenes in the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", directed by Ang Lee. The film won Oscars for the Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography categories.
Hongcun Village is a wonderful village worth visiting after visiting the majestic grandeur of Huangshan Mountain. Established in 1131, this well-preserved centuries old village is unique. What makes Hongcun Village so unique is that the village was designed by a fengshui master to resemble a cow. Visitors to Hongcun Village's tour guides will interpret which part of the village is the anatomical equivalent to the cow. For example, the two old trees at the entrance to the village represent the horns, the four stone bridges the legs, the ponds the stomach, etc.
Hongcun is unique among all Chinese villages for its very sophisticated water system. Water is the main feature in this village. Its two large ponds are connected to a series of flowing streams which pass by every house, providing water for washing, cooking, and bathing.
Visitors to Hongcun Village can leisurely ramble around, chat with villagers, listen to the ancient stories, taste local delicacies, shop for antiques, admire the wisdom of the ancients from poetry pasted on house columns, Hui-style architecture, the exquisite wood and stone-work, and the subtleties of the fengshui arrangement. For anyone who loves to paint, don't forget your art supplies.
Description of UNESCO
The traditional non-urban settlements of China, which have to a very large extent disappeared during the twentieth century, are exceptionally well preserved in the villages of Xidi and Hongcun. The two villages are graphic illustrations of a type of human settlement created during a feudal period and based on a prosperous trading economy. In their buildings and their street patterns, they reflect the socio-economic structure of a long-lived settled period of Chinese history.
Hongcun was founded in 1131 by Wang Wen, a Han dynasty general, and his kinsman Wang Yanji, who brought their families from Qisu village to the upper part of the stream near Leigang Mountain and built 13 houses there. The village knew two periods of great prosperity, 1401-1620 and 1796-1908. The Wang family became officials and merchants and accumulated enormous wealth, which they used to endow their home village with many fine buildings. Around 1405, on the advice of geomancers, a channel was dug to bring fresh water to the village from the West Stream. Some 200 years later, the water supply system of the village was completed with the creation of the South Lake. The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the construction of a number of imposing public buildings, such as the South Lake Academy (1814), the Hall of Meritorious Deeds (1888), the Hall of Virtuousness (1890) and the Hall of Aspiration (1855, rebuilt 1911). Somewhat later than Xidi, Hongcun fell into decline with the birth of the Republic, but it still retains many of its fine buildings and its exceptional water system.
Hongcun lies at the foot of Leigang Mountain. The village faces south, with its central part lying at a point central to the flanking mountains and rivers. The open watercourse runs through all the houses in the entire village and forms two ponds, one in the centre (Moon Pond) and the other to the south of the village (South Lake). The chequerboard pattern of streets and lanes follow the watercourse, giving the village a unique overall appearance.
Hongcun Village Reviews
Hongcun Village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the south western foot of Mt. Huangshan, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we visited both these places as part of a three day tour. The weather was excellent the day we visited Hongcun and it was lovely to amble around the village, watching artists painting and the locals going about their daily business.
If you ever visit, look out for the 82 year-old Barber, complete with a Barber's chair imported from Germany some 50 or 60 years ago! (see pictures). Try the local spicy tofu; it's cooked fresh and is delicious.
Hongcun is best done at the same time as visiting Mt. Huangshan. Admission price is 80 Yuan, haircut is 3 Yuan!
Quite and ancient village sitting in valley of green mountains in Central China. The water system in the village takes form from that of a cow. Water flows with no external power from one side of the village to the South Lake of the village. Practically every household has access to fresh water at their doorstep. It's said it was designed by a very smart and powerful lady who was the wife of the chief of the local clan 300 years ago. Amazing!
The Lake of the Moon is absolutely gorgeous and is loved by all photographers.
How to get Hongcun Village