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Heyuan, a scenic city of Hakka culture
Latest Updated by 2003-07-22 09:11:31

Heyuan, a tourism city situated in the northeast of Guangdong and the upper middle reach of the Dongjiang River, is rich in both natural scenery and Hakka culture.

The best-known scenic spot in the city of Heyuan is probably the Evergreen Lake.

Six kilometers to the northwest of Heyuan, Evergreen Lake is another name for the Xinfeng River Reservoir, the biggest man-made reservoir in South China.

It was named Wanlu ("evergreen" in English) because all trees and plants in the area are green all the year around.

The lake itself covers an area of 370 square kilometers and contains more than 6.5 billion cubic meters of water with its quality reaching the standard of national first-class potable water.

The lake is 68 times larger than the West Lake in Hangzhou and is well-known for its beauty of water and islets.

More than 360 islets are scattered over the lake. About 90 percent of the mountainous areas around the lake are covered with subtropical forests.

The most famous attractions in the lake are the Longfeng Hill, Shuiyue Bay, Jinghua Hill, Songshui Guanyin, Mount Gui and Jinghuayuan.

In the Longfeng Hill, you can watch the Hakka or Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region's Yao ethnic dance performance.

There, you can also see a banyan tree planted by Li Ne, daughter of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong. The tree is called the Princess Banyan.

Songshui Guanyin is a 13.8-meter-tall statue of the Goddess of Mercy, located on the Guanyin Hill. The Jinghuayuan tourism zone is a beautiful combination of natural scenery and a fairy tale based on a classic novel of Jinghuayuan written at the end of the Qing (1644-1911) Dynasty, which said that the fairy of all flowers was born in the city of Heyuan.

The tranquil and beautiful Shuiyue Bay is the lake's center for various water entertainments such as swimming, rafting, canoeing, and fishing.

In fact, the bay is the only place in the lake where you are allowed to swim. If you love to swim, don't forget to bring your swimming suit. Once you jump into the lake in the bay, you will find the water there is probably the cleanest and most comfortable on the earth.

The Sujiawei Hakka Village Tourism Zone is a must for tourists who are interested in the Hakka culture and customs.

Bordering Dongjiang River in the north and Jiushe River in the south, the village is located in the Heshui Township, 26 kilometers away from the city of Heyuan.

All people living in the village now are surnamed "Su," who are said to be the descendants of Su Shi (1037-1101), also known as Su Dongpo in the Chinese literary world.

Today the village is described as a "picturesque village in South China," where visitors can not only enjoy the beautiful rural life but also the splendid history and culture of the Hakka people.

The Yinqin Bridge, where the bridegrooms in the village used to meet their brides, is the first scenic spot in the village.

Standing on the bridge, you can have a full view of 18 ancient buildings the village preserves.

Different from round earth houses, a kind of well-known Hakka dwellings you can see in Fujian Province and the eastern part of Guangdong Province, these buildings are square flat houses with dark blue bricks and roof tiles that belong to the style of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

The oldest house, called the Yongsi Hall, was built in 1481 in memory of Su Dongshan, the eighth-generation descendant of Su Dongpo and as a place for the villagers to worship their ancestors and discuss important affairs.

The Hakka Gender Culture Exhibition in the village is a showcase of the Hakka people's moral ideas and customs and can help you learn some interesting aspects of the Hakka culture.

After visiting the ancient houses, you can take a walk along the Dongjiang River and enjoy the Hakka folk music under the huge banyan trees at the riverside.

You can have a chance to experience traditional Hakka wedding customs in the Sujiawei wedding performance theater. If you're lucky to be chosen and act as the bridegroom, you will be invited to the stage to take part in the performance.

The village also preserves many slogans printed on the walls during 1950s to 1970s, which are silent witnesses to modern Chinese history.

Finally, vistors should not miss the village restaurant, which features Hakka cuisine and the specialities of Dongjiang bean curd and Dongjiang salt baked chicken.


Editor: Liao Ming

By:Newman Huo Source:szdaily
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