Where to Go in Xitang – Exploring the Bridges and Alleys

Nowadays, with huge living pressures, people always want to slow down. However, every time gets to the attraction with the traveling guide, you feel like you have to go to places after places with no time for you to get to know the culture and the customs here. For the old towns in Jiangnan, if you have to go, then you have to slow down.

Xitang, an old town with a thousand years of history. Even though, I don’t remember it was one of the countless old towns I have been to. But this time here, I didn’t glimpse over the town, but select some unique way of having fun.

There are three main characteristics in Xitang: “many bridges, alleys, and sheds”. Also, the morning and the night in Xitang are different. Now, let’s follow my steps to experience a different water town in Jiangnan.

Walk across the bridge

Xitang, 82.98 squre kilometer, 9 rivers here intersect with each other and divided the area into 8 parts, but many of the bridge has connected the water town into a whole. According to the incomplete statistics, till 1998, there are total 104 bridges in the town.

Since Song dynasty, Xitang has built Anren bridge, Anjing Bridge, Wufu Bridge, Yongning Bridge and other 11 bridges. In Qing dynasty, it has built Wolong bridge, Duchan bridge, Laifeng bridge and others.

There are three common shapes of the bridges in Jiangnan: Arch bridge, flat bridge, folding bridge. The way to distinguish is easy, the arch bridge is arched so the boats can travel through. The surface of the flat bridge is flat. The folding bridge shows in the shape of “one”.

Bridge is the feature of water town in Jiangnan, also the biggest feature of Xitang. The construction technique of the bridge in Xitang is very superb, not only meet the traveling need of people, but also the unique ornamental value. As you are enjoying the scenery on a bridge, upstairs on a tower people are watching you.

Each bridge in Xitang is different, where you can see different scenery. For example, the Yongning Bridge is the best place to take picture. Wan’an bridge is the shooting place for the Hollywood movie “Mission Impossible 3”. If you stand on the Anjing Bridge, you can take the views of the three different bridges at once.

Time traveling in the alleys in Xitang, is one of the features in Xitang. The alleys can be categorized into three based on functions: street alley, connection alley, water alley.

Ancient people called that the alley under the house is Long, the ones under temple is tang. Later, people call the small road next to the house “longtang”. And the longtang in Xitang is named by the big family lived in the alley, such as “Wang Family’s Alley”, “Ye Family’s Alley” and others.

Xitang is only 82.98 square kilometers, but it has 122 alleys. Walking inside, you don’t know where the end is. When you walk to the end, you suddenly find something new.

In the alleys in Xitang, there are a few alleys with the most: the most famous alley – Shipi Alley, longest alley – Sixian Alley, Narrowest alley –Yemao Alley, The widest alley – Gaojie along Li’s family, the shorted alley – the alley inside the Yuqing House.

They have their own characteristics, even with limited time, you have to go to the Shipi alley. The total 68 meters long alley is made from 216 bricks that is only 3-centimeter thick. It is the cross road between Wang Family’s Zunwen House and Zhongfu house.

If you are wearing costume, you might want to get a set of pictures. It is perfect.

The shed in Xitang is the street with the roof. There is a story about it. Here will not introduce it. There is a Jie river, some are in the middle. On the side of the river, there is a bench, where people can rest there. The roof is for the convenience of business people and travelers, so they don’t need to suffer from the sun or the train.

Nothing else to do, you can just walk under the shed. You can also watch other people playing Majiang. How nice is that!

The morning of the Xitang, it is the start of beautiful.

When the sun is slowly rising, people here are already busy. Some people are still in their dreams. In the quiet alley, there is no tourist.

In the hot summer, it might be the best time to enjoy the old town. Not many people here. Now, it is just you and the beautiful scenery in the camera. Blue sky, white cloud, little bridge, and floating water forming a such pretty view.

Night in Xitang

Many people know the Lijiang is the city of encountering. Many people forget here – Xitang. The most famous one among all the six old towns in Xitang. After dinner, you can choose to take pictures of the sunset or the night view on the bridge. There, the beautiful scene makes you don’t want to leave.

Sitting on the boat, and enjoy a unique night view of the Xitang.

Alcohol is the stimulant for the night. It is same in Xitang. The most hotel street is the Tangdong street. Here, the music is nonstop. Maybe you can encounter the beautiful her at the corner.

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