Feng Huang, a Reminiscent Town

Feng Huang, a Reminiscent Town
Feng Huang is Chinese for ”phoenix,” the mythical bird that is a good omen symbolizing longevity. When consumed by fire, Feng Huang will be reborn from the flames. Feng Huang Cheng (“phoenix city”) gets its name from a legend that two of these fantastic birds flew over the town and found the town so beautiful that they hovered over it, reluctant to leave.
Located on the western edge of Hunan Province next to Guizhou, Feng Huang Cheng's beauty lives up to this story. Claimed to be one of the two most beautiful towns in China, Feng Huang Cheng exemplifies what villages were like before the start of modernization.
The beauty of Feng Huang Cheng is constant all-year round, regardless of the season. Wooden houses sit on stilts, restaurants and shops straddle along the banks of the Tuojiang River, while three bridges span across it. In the town, dozens of lanes are paved with stones that run between these wooden houses. Generations of local people walking on the lanes have worn them down bit by bit. Mist envelopes the town in the early morning and after it rains, creating a charming picturesque scene of Southwest China.
The town‘s location and development should be mentioned first to honor the exquisite architecture of the ancient town. The designers and planners made wonderful use of the mountain landscape and water flows, which magnified the spirit of the land and water. The mountains, water, and town have all been used as inseparable components exemplifying the unification of human beings and nature.
But Feng Huang Cheng's charm goes beyond its natural beauty. The ancient town is 1,300 years old and has a number of old gardens, distinctive residential buildings, elegant bridges, and mysterious towers and pagodas. The ancient town has basically maintained the original layout and appearance of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1644-1911). Over 200 ancient residential buildings, some twenty large or small streets, ten ancient lanes and alleys, ancient town walls, town gate towers, leaping rock, wells, rainbow bridges, temples of literature, temples of poems, and ancestral temples are all preserved here in their original state.
Feng Huang Cheng also has an outstanding significance in cultural anthropology, reflecting the mixture of the different ethnic groups that resided here and their relationships with each other. The Miao ethnic minority predominantly settled here; visiting a Miao village is a must when going to Feng Huang Cheng. The Miao women have natural beauty that makes the use of cosmetics quite unnecessary. They love to dress in traditional blue garments set off with white scarves. They don silver jewelry, especially during festivals. Visitors will find a large array of handmade silver ornaments for sale in the local shops. Homemade tie-dyes and printed and batik cloths are other local specialties that make wonderful souvenirs. The Miao are friendly and hospitable and love interacting with visitors and provide a variety of traditional entertainment and activities. Food here is different from elsewhere in China. Pickled red peppers are a particular local delicacy and their appetizing smells waft from the many small, family-run restaurants.
In many ways, life has not changed here for centuries and this is true because of the tough, hard working yet simple-hearted people. Feng Huang Cheng offers visitors from both home and abroad a view of China that is quite different from anything experienced in the modern cities and large conurbations that are more widely known.
Source: www.showchina.org, www.china.org.cn, www.travelchinaguide.com