Explore GD’s ancient villages and traditions (I)
2013-May-6 Source: Szdaily web edition
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A panoramic view of Qiaoxiang Village in Meizhou.

The courtyard inside a Hakka-style sijiaolou in Linzhai Village, Heyuan.

The country life in Qiaoxiang Village.

Many Shenzhen travelers like to take long flights to other provinces to experience ancient cultures in famous ancient towns, but there is no need to travel far for such an experience. As a large province with a long history, Guangdong is home to many old, quiet villages where people can explore ancient Cantonese cultures and enjoy traditional Cantonese food.

Located along the Lijiang River, a tributary of the Dongjiang River, Linzhai Village was first built at around 214 B.C., during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.).

It’s said that the village was built to stand against invaders under the guidance of a marshal named Zhao Tuo. Zhao sent a general surnamed Lin to garrison the village and named the village after Lin. Although most of the villagers today are surnamed Chen, the Lin family has been the village’s most prominent for nearly 2,000 years.

When the Chen family arrived in Linzhai Village, it’s said that they started building a Hakka-style sijiaolou — a square, multi-home building with an inner courtyard —around the Lin family’s house. Today, Linzhai Village has the largest amount of ancient sijiaolou in China.

The village’s scientific, pragmatic design includes an advanced drainage system that washes away dust and mud after heavy rains. Many of the village’s residents come from ancient families who have lived there for generations. Unlike many tourists’ favorite ancient towns, shops are rare in Linzhai Village. Although the village has become a popular tourist destination, most locals still live on farming.

Visitors to Linzhai Village can relax at many famous hot spring resorts in neighboring areas, such as Relong Hot Spring Holiday Resort and Tianshangrenjian Hot Spring Holiday Resort.

Transport: Take a long-distance coach to Heping in Heyuan City and take a taxi to Linzhai Village. You can also take a train to Heping from Shenzhen Railway Station and take a taxi to the village.

Delicacies: Hakka cuisine, kiwi, mushroom and persimmon.

Qiaoxiang Village, Meizhou

Located at the foot of Luhu Mountain in Meizhou, Qiaoxiang Village is a beautiful village with traditional Hakka culture.

Known as “the No.1 ancient village in the Hakka group,” Qiaoxiang has a history of more than 500 years and is a famous hometown to many overseas Chinese.

Covering 1.5 square kilometers, the village has many well-preserved, ancient Hakka houses built along the mountain. More than 40 of them were built before the 1940s.

Most of the villagers live quiet farming lives. A common evening scene includes elderly villagers chatting or playing chess together under large, aging trees and women cooking dinner together.

The biggest sijiaolou in the village is called Nanhuayoulu and was first built by a successful businessman named Pan Xiangchu. The house covers more than 10,000 square meters and has 118 rooms. In the biggest courtyard, more smaller sijiaolous and suites have been built. The Pan family lived in the house in the 1940s and 1950s. During their peak time, hundreds of people lived inside the house, including more than 100 servants.

There are many other ancient buildings in the village, such as Yicheng School, which has a history of 100 years.

Transport: Drive to the village from Shenzhen via Guangzhou-Shenzhen Expressway, Guangzhou-Heyuan Expressway, Heyuan-Meizhou Expressway and National Road 205.

Delicacies: Salted chicken, tofu, rice cakes and vegetables.

Editor: Jecey
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