Why is the Xitang Ancient Town special?
Xitang is an ancient town with peaceful and beautiful environment. It features flat terrain, crisscrossed rivers, numerous, bridges, lanes and ceilinged corridors. Today, Xitang is like an ancient piece of jade, glittering and translucent.
Xitang Ancient Town Highlights
Xitang is flat and densely filled with rivers, and has a very quiet natural environment. Nine rivers converge in this town, dividing it into eight sections, with many bridges holding this water town together. Inside the town there are many well-preserved buildings constructed during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Through a bird’s-eye view of the whole town, green waves ripple everywhere and every family resides near water. In the morning, water flows beneath bridges, thin mist is like silk, pinkish walls on both banks stand tall and erect and tiled houses are reflected inversely in the water.
Xitang's narrowest alley
Alleys snaking around residential complexes are another distinctive of this ancient town. The most famous alley is called "Stone-Paved Lane." It is 68 meters long and only a meter wide, paved with 216 slabs of stone.
But "Stone-Paved Lane" isn't the narrowest to be found. That honor goes to two alleys. One can be found at the Li House. It's so narrow that only one person can pass at a time, and sideways. The other, called "Wildcat Lane," is barely 30 cm wide. Located at the west end of the Huanxiu Bridge, it is actually a passage that separates two houses.
Up until 1998, there were 104 old bridges, all of which were built during the Ming and Qing dynasties. These include the bridges of Anren, Anjing, Anshan, Wufu, Qingning, Wolong and Laifeng. Most of them are single- or triple-arched wooden beam bridges with stone piers.
Xitang is also attractive because of the easygoing lifestyle that local residents have followed for thousands of years. People in the town live ordinary, peaceful lives. The elderly play with their grandchildren on bridges and in lanes, and women wash vegetables and clothes in the rivers running beside their houses. For tourists from modern metropolises, Xitang is a place to experience a feeling of simplicity and leisure.