Located at Yu county of Zhangjiakou, Nuanquan Ancient Town is a Chinese famous town in history and culture. Currently, it is a national 3A level tourist attraction. “Nuanquan” means warm spring, and the town gets this name because of its constant temperature hot spring. With a long history, the town is famous for its spring, village fairs, historical buildings, and folk culture. There are two warm springs in the town: one at the center of the town and the other before the Huayan Temple. The water is about 14 ℃ all year round, which does not freeze even in winter. Local people use the water from the spring to cook, wash clothes, and irrigate land.
The ancient town was constructed in the Yuan Dynasty, and prospered in the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. Back then, there were three fortresses, six alleys, and eighteen villages. Although many are destroyed, some survived until today. Famous ones include West Ancient Fortress, Nuanquan Academy, Huayan Temple, and Lao-Tzu Taoist Temple.
Traditional folk art is another highlight of Nuanquan Ancient Town. The paper-cut of Yu County originates from the Ming Dynasty. It was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in May, 2006, and as a world intangible cultural heritage in October, 2009. Instead of using scissors, the artists work with knives and dyes to create wonderful masterpieces. From a paper-cut work, you may hear a historical story or folklore, experience a local custom, or celebrate a wedding or birthday ceremony. With such a rich content and unique workmanship, paper-cut is born to be an attractive and intriguing art.
Dashuhua is a special show which basically can only be found in Nuanquan Ancient Town. The show has a long history of over 300 years. The basic process is to first heat up iron to about 1500℃, so it becomes liquid. The next is to splash the red liquid iron to the wall, and finally make it a magnificent picture that looks like fire and flowers.