Shexian county is located in the northeast part of Huangshan City, under the foot of the renowned Yellow Mountain (Huangshan Mountain), Shexian, one of the six Huizhou counties, was awarded as "a famous historical and cultural city on the state list" in the year 1986. Besides its amazing natural sceney, which is encircled by green mountains and blue water, it is also rich in cultural relics, memorial temples, memorial arches and distinctive residences, it can be seen as an art museum of classical architecture actually.
History of Shexian County
Shexian County was called Huizhou once in history for it is the home where Hui Culture (one of the three regional cultures in China) began, which is fully represented by Hui Style Architecture and local products. The stone memorial archways, ancestral halls and ancient residential houses are large in quantity and refined in structure. You can see the towers, bridges, lanes and wells in Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties styles everywhere. The beautiful scenery and exquisite architecture win it the fame of water town, mountain town and bridge town. The rich county has attracted many men of letters in history to come and praise its beauty. There are three wonders - Ancestral Temples, Ancient Residential Houses and Town of Arch, due to which building experts from China and the rest of the world call it ‘A Naturally Formed Classical Architectural Arts Museum'. As the old Chinese saying goes that fantastic place breeds talents, in history, there arises quite a lot celebrities skilled in different fields of study in this picturesque place, like, Bi Sheng, the inventor of movable type writing; Zhu Xi, a famous thinker in Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279); Tao Xingzhi, a great educator; Huang Binhong, a well-known modern painter. In history, these celebrities have done quite a lot contributions to the expanding of Chinese culture, like Architecture of Hui Style, Xin'an painting school, Drama of Hui School, Xin'an Medicine and Hui Style Dishes.
Shexian County, is composed of Fu Cheng and Xian Cheng. Fu Cheng was originally built in the late Sui Dynasty (581-618), and enlarged in Tang Dynasty (618-907) to the later scale. The existent city wall was built along the mountain ridge which measures about 1,640 yards long. Some places of interest before Song Dynasty (960-1279) are to be found such as Hama (Toad) Well, Yinggong Well and Dagu Well, like Doushan Street, Zhongshan Lane and Dabei Street are basically kept their features of Ming-Qing Dynasties. There are 16 Ming-Qing arches in Fu Cheng and Xian Cheng in total.
What to See in Shexian County
Stone Arch Gate
Stone Arch here is a type of architecture with distinctive Chinese features. It was built during feudal society for commending meritorious deeds, excellent performance in imperial examination and benevolent ruling as well as virtues of loyalty, filial piety, chastity and righteousness. It's a symbol of feudal code of ethics which are well known to public through these stone arches. Stone arch is also an annex to ancestral temple. It shows sublime virtues and great achievements of the ancestors in the household. Therefore, another function of stone arches is to worship ancestors.
Huizhou Ancient Town
Across the county, well-preserved ancient residential houses, ancestral temples, gardens, memorial archways and bridges can be seen everywhere, most of which were built during Ming and Qing dynasties and unique in China. Some of the most worthy visiting ones include: Tangyue Archways, Yuliang Dam, Taibai Tower, Doushan Street, etc.
Huizhou Cultural Exhibition Center
You can pay a visit the Huizhou Cultural Exhibition Center that locates at the center of Shexian County around original Huizhou Governmental Office. It is a newly built theme park that reproduces the original appearance of architectures and buildings of Huizhou style in Ming and Qing dynasties. The park is opened to tourists since 2000 with strong ancient atmosphere.
Chenkan Ancient Village
Chengkan is a bagua village, planned and designed to reflect the philosophy of the Taiji. The village is surrounded by eight mountains and is built around the Zhongchuan River that flows in an S-shape, forming the bagua plan. The most important building of Chengkan is the impressive Ancestral Hall, which is the biggest in Southern China. It is characterized by a majestic wooden structure with decorative features influenced by the different cultures.
What to eat in Shexin County
Shexian County is also a good place for tasting local Huizhou cuisine such as Mandarin Fish, Fried Odorous Bean Curd, etc. Local specialties such as honey date, special kinds of famous teas including Huangshan Maofeng Tea and Green Peony Tea are also popular among local people and tourists.
How to Get to Shexian county
If you are planning to visit the Shexian County, you should take train or flight to Huangshan city first. There are many direct high speed train from Shanghai and nearby Hangzhou, then take bus from Tunxi to Shexian County first (30 minutes’ driving). Upon arrival, take Public Bus No. 1, 2, 4, to Huiyuan Station. Or you can book a private transfer with Huang local tour company.
Location: Shexian county is about 25km northeast of Tunxi, Huangshan city
Time for visiting: Half day
Ticket Price for Huizhou Ancient Town: CNY100 per person; Free for the child under 1.2m;
Please note the opening hours for the Huizhou is 8:00am-17:00pm.
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