Lijiang Old Town

Lijiang Old Town
The county town of Lijiang is also called Dayan Zhen, famous for its scientific architectural layout. Crisscrossed by crystal-clear rivers and meandering cobbled streets, it has a high research value and is a treasure in the field of urban construction in China.

Lijiang Town was built at the end of the Song Dynasty and the beginning of the Yuan Dynasty, leaning on the Lion Mountain in the west and Xiangmian Mountain in the north. Surrounded by green trees, it looks like a big ink stone. Hence its name Dayan which means a big ink stone. The town has the Sifang (Square) Street as the centre, with radiating lanes arranged in good order, and three rivulets (the east, the middle and the west) running through the town. Thus is formed the unique aspect of an ancient town of "every house being surrounded by a stream, and willows upon willows making it surpass the south of the Yangtze." The streets are paved with variegated stones, which make them neither muddy in the rainy season nor dusty in the dry season. In addition, a downpour which washes the dirt away reveals the gleaming variegated drain of the paving stone.
Lijiang Old Town
The ancient town is also famous for having no walls. It is said that the hereditary ruler of Lijiang used to be surnamed Mu, to have Mu encased with a frame or a wall would be Kun, which means in Chinese siege or predicament. That is why the town has had no walls, and the graceful surrounding mountains serve as such instead.

The ancient town looks unsophisticated and picturesque, having both the benefit of a watery and a mountainous environment, thus gaining renown from both domestic and foreign tourists. A professor of Shanghai's Tongji University praised it for being "an epitome of the splendid Chinese national tradition in terms of architectural style and disposition."

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