In October 2008, we went to China, Xidi travel, photographed this group of landscape photographs ... ...
Both Xidi1 and Hongcun2 are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Both are Chinese villages which have managed to preserve their traditional houses, built in the Southern Anhui Style (????), most of them dating from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Xidi and Hongcun are part of Yi County (??), one of the centers of Huizhou Culture (????)3, the culture of this part of Southern Anhui Province dating from the Song Dynasty (around A.D. 1121) to present day.
One of the most distinctive aspects of Huizhou Culture is its architecture, the best examples of which are in residential houses (??), ancestral halls (??), and commemorative paifangs (??). The specific characteristics of Huizhou architecture are the careful way the buildings are laid out (careful attention to local geography), the tall so-called "horse's head" walls (???)4, and slate-green shingles (???).
A view of Hongcun. Note the distinctive shingles and the step-like walls (horse's head walls). The distinctive shape of these walls, being taller than the roofs, served to separate neighboring houses from each other as a kind of isolation firewall in the event of a household fire. In these densely populated villages, such caution was necessary. Young men from these villages would leave when they reached the age of 12 or 13 to become merchants away from home, and the distinctive shape of these walls served as a symbol of home.
The villages have been preserved so well that these days they are having a kind of renaissance due to tourism. Keep in mind that these are not museum pieces, but real houses that the local population still lived in. In both Xidi and Hongcun, villagers have opened some of the houses to the public for tours, while others have been turned into hostels, shops, or left alone as residences away from the parts frequented by tourists.
Art students from around the country have flocked here to draw and paint scenes of traditional Huizhou architecture. They could stay at some of the houses which have become hostels.