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Home Travel in Zhejiang Ancient Town of Xitang
Ancient Town of Xitang
Travel in Zhejiang

(xī táng 西塘) is located in Jianshan County (jiā shàn xiàn 嘉善县), Jiaxing City (jiā xīng shì 嘉兴市), Zhejiang Province (zhè jiāng shěng 浙江省). It is an ancient town with thousand years’ history. Early in the Spring and Autumn Period (chūn qiū shí qī), in order to infensify water-contral project, Wu Zixu (wǔ zǐ xù 伍子胥) diverted the water north of Mountain Xu (xù shān 胥山) to Xitang, which is called Xutang (xù táng 胥塘) at that time. During Tang Dynasty (tang cháo 唐朝), there are a large amount of villages in Xitang. And during Yuan Dynasty (yuán cháo元朝), Xitang became prosperous, and was an important commercial center till Ming (míng 明) and Qing (qīng 清) dynasties. Nowadays, because of its tranquility and unique scenery, Xitang has become a famous scenic spot, attracting many people from home and abroad.

XitangThere are 9 rivers converging Xitang, which divided it into 8 sections. And there are many bridges in this town and link all parts together. People called it as "nine dragons hold a pearl" (jiǔ lóng pěng zhū 九龙捧珠) and "wind from 8 sides" (bā miàn lái fēng 八面来风). In Xitang, there are a lot of well-preserved architectures constructed during Ming and Qing dynasties, which boast a high value of artistry. Looking down from the above, green waves ripple all the houses reside near water. In the morning, water flows beneath bridges. Thin mist is like silk. Buildings on both banks stand tall and erect. In the evening the setting sun shines slantwise, songs come from fishing boats, lamps flicker and the fragrance of wine drifts. The whole town is like an earthly paradise.

Covered Corridor
Covered Corridor
Xitang is famous for its bridges, lanes and covered corridors (láng péng 廊棚). The covered corridors are the streets covered with roofs. All the streets in Xitang are covered with roofs so that people are not worried about the rain and sunshine. Long chairs are arranged along the riverside in the corridor for passers-by. Most of the corridors are made of bricks and wood and usually 2-2.5 meters wide, with a total length of over 1000 meters. One section of the corridor is the most outstanding for the elegant carved decorated patterns on it.

Wufu BridgeThere are many bridges in Xitang because Xitang is divided into 8 parts by 9 rivers. The most famous one among them is the Wufu Bridge (wǔ fú qiáo 五福桥). It is constructed before Zhengde era (zhèng dé nián jiān 正德年间) of Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝), and was rebuilt during Guangxu reign (guāng xù nián jiān 光绪年间) of Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝). It is a bridge of a single hole and stone steps, with a total length of 14 meters. The bridge spans of 7.5 meters, connecting the south and north bank of Shaoxiang Port (shāo xiāng gǎng 烧香港). The name of the bridge derives from the auspicious bless, namely, good fortune (fú 福), virtue (dé 德), longevity (shòu 寿), property (lù 禄), and good end (shàn zhōng 善终), which are the constructer’s best wish for the passers-by, hoping that the bridge can bring convenience to them as well as good luck. Besides, there are the Couching Dragon Bridge (wò lóng qiáo 卧龙桥), which is a stone arch bridge with a single hole located on the river mouth of Beizha (běi zhà 北栅),and of masterly crafts work, and Huanxiu Bridge (huán xiù qiáo 环秀桥) and Yongning Bridge (yǒng níng qiáo 永宁桥).

Shipi LaneLanes is another unique scene in Xitang. There are a total of 122 lanes, long and short, wide and narrow. Five of them are longer than 100 meters. Shipi lane (shí pí lòng 石皮弄) is the most famous one. It is 68 meters long, only 1 meter wide, paved with 216 pieces of stones. It got the name Shipi because of the stone is as thin as skin. The narrowest lane in Xitang is the the Small Lane (xiǎo lòng 小弄) in the Li’s house, It only allows a person to pass sideways. The widest lane is the Big Lane (dà lòng 大弄) north of Shaoxiang Port. 5.5 persons can pass in parallel. The shortest lane is in Yuqing Hall (yú qìng táng 馀庆堂), with a total length of ongly 3 meters. The longest lane is the Sixianci Lane (sìxián cí lòng 四贤祠弄), with a total length of 236 meters.

Ancient Town of Xitang
Location: 11 kilometers away from Jiashan County, Jiaxing City
Admission fee: RMB 100 (including insurance premium)
Opening hours: whole day
Transportation: you can take a bus at the Jianshan Railway Station to get there, RMB 3.5 per person