About 11 kilometers due northeast of Yixian County, stands the ancient village Hongcun. Hongcun Ancient Village became a member of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2000, and was honored a National 5A Tourists Attraction in 2011.
Hongcun Ancient Village can date back to the southern Song Dynasty with a history of 900 years. In 1131, it was home to members of the Wang clan with 13 traditional houses at the beginning. It flourished during the Ming (A.D. 1368 - 1644) and Qing (A.D. 1644 - 1911) dynasties when it became a trade center. Most of the buildings, like South Lake Academy, Lexu Hall, Chengzhi Hall, Sanli Hall, Shuren Hall from this period still exit in this village today.
With a 900 years existence, the village layout resembles body of an ox, with Leigang Hill being the “head”, two huge trees on the hill being the “horns”, the residences being the “body”, a winding stream being the “entrails”, Moon Pond being the “stomach” and the four bridges forming the “four legs”. This well-designed layout is very wise and practical. The street plan, landscape, architecture, decoration and the integration of houses with comprehensive water systems are still of great value and use today.
Hongcun Ancient Village has about 140 original Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) style residences. Identifiable with pink walls and black tiles, all the residences are sturdy. Among them, the Chengzhi Hall is the most outstanding and is praised as the 'Folk Imperial Palace'. Numerous carvings decorate the columns, beams and door frames and are gilded. Some five kilograms of gold was used in gilding the wood carvings.
Located in the south of Hongcun, South Lake was built in the Ming Dynasty in 1607. It is very relaxing to spend some time in this area. Hence, it is called the “Little West Lake” at the foot of Yellow Mountain. On the north bank of South Lake, Nanhu Academy occupies about 6,600 square meters. It’s a local-style building of southern Anhui Province.