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SZ selects seven village tourist sites
Latest Updated by 2006-04-03 11:05:31
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NOT just celebrating Shenzhen as a city of high-rises growing at Shenzhen speed, the Shenzhen Municipal Tourism Bureau is encouraging a return to the city's roots, resorts and artists' workshops. Last week, the bureau named seven of these places "village tourist sites" and they're in the running for the most beautiful villages in Guangdong.

The seven villages within the city of Shenzhen are: Baguang Village in Yantian District, Xiasha Village and Shuiwei Village in Futian District, Pengcheng Village, Dafen Village, and Nanling Village in Longgang District, and Guangming Farm in Bao'an District.

Not your usual countryside tours, Shenzhen's village tourist sites include not only remote retreats like Baguang Village but also urban villages that record Shenzhen's history and culture. They are part of Shenzhen's development from a fishing village to a modern metropolis. The following is an introduction to four of the villages.

Xiasha Village

With modern buildings, gardens, and neat concrete roads, Xiasha Village appears to be no different from other parts of Shenzhen, except for some intimate buildings that are geographically close, typical of almost every urban village.

But when you enter the village, walk to the village's ancestral temple, and see elderly villagers sitting on the threshold of the temple, chatting in dialects, you will feel the time flow back 800 years, when Huang Motang, ancestor of the village, settled here.

One of the biggest ancestral temples in Shenzhen, the 500-year-old temple honors Huang Siming, a family hero and the ninth generation descendant of Huang Motang.

Most of the 500 original families in the village share the Huang surname, signifying their blood tie to the founder. The history of the Huang family and the village is recorded in the village museum, which exhibits vintage pictures, traditional farm tools, and sculptures showing Huang descendents eating the "big-basin dish," a traditional meal consisting of more than 10 courses in a large basin.

Shuiwei Village

Shuiwei could be the only village in China with a stone museum. Many precious stones - most of them from several private collections - are on display, including one stone said to be worth 2 million yuan (US$246,609).

Zhuang Weicai, head of the village, is a fan of stones, and his interest has spread to other villagers, who might otherwise spend their time simply living off their income from leased apartments.

The village's love of stones can be seen in the large stone at the village entrance. The name of the village was carved on the stone by well-known contemporary calligrapher Shen Peng.

Villagers are proud of their ancestor, who, they say, is ancient Chinese philosophy Zhuang Zi (circa 369 B.C.-286 B.C.), with most of the villagers surnamed Zhuang. Honoring their ancestor, the village has placed a large sculpture of Zhuang Zi at the village entrance. Although there is no official document showing the village's blood ties with the philosopher, it is widely believed that a person named Zhuang Nanyuan established the village about 700 years ago. Older villagers say Zhuang Nanyuan's ancestors lived in Central China's Henan Province.

Nanling Village

Nanling is known as the "First Village of China." Two top State leaders, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, visited Nanling.

The village's best-known tourist attraction is Qiushuishan Park, a nice escape from downtown Shenzhen. The 53-hectare park is surrounded by an 800-meter long mini Great Wall. Inside is a Hakka folk culture museum and a badge museum with more than 10,000 badges with the image of Chairman Mao Zedong.

The peak of the 253-meter hill can be reached by cable car for a bird's-eye view of Hong Kong and Buji Subdistrict, where Nanling is located. The park includes a golf training course and a roller coaster.

The 4.12-square-kilometer village of 800 descendants from the original settlers and 35,000 migrants has the distinction of having paid 181 million yuan in taxes last year, creating an additional attraction for visitors.

Dafen Oil Painting Village

Previously an unknown village, Dafen Village is now called the "first village of commissioned painting." More than 8,000 painters, artisan-painters and apprentices work in more than 300 crowded workshops in the small village, which has become n internationally known artists' village.

Back in 1989, Huang Jiang, a painter and businessman from Hong Kong, along with more than 20 painters and apprentices settled in Dafen. Huang said the low rent was the only reason for their choice. From Dafen, world-famous paintings copied by Huang and other painters were sold abroad via Hong Kong. The profits attracted more artists, and the art business is going strong. Masterly copies of van Gogh's "Sunflowers" and Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" can be purchased for 100 yuan and up.

Editor: Wing

By: Source: Szdaily web edition
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