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Tired of the hustle and bustle of city life, I was attracted by the Ancient Town of Shuhe, a compact village hidden in the forest located four kilometers to the northwest of Lijiang city in Yunnan province. And I explored it alone this spring. As expected, it relaxed and revived me with its tranquility of country life.
Lying at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Shuhe, also "Shaowu" in Naxi language, means "the village at the foot of the high hill". When Lijiang is mentioned, many people always think of the Ancient Town of Lijiang. In fact, the history of Shuhe is longer and it is better preserved than Lijinag Ancient Town. It is an important component of Lijiang as well as a significant market town still remained complete along the Ancient Tea and Horse Road, a passage formed by tea-horse trading in ancient China between agriculture area of the inner land and remote nomadic areas. It emerged in Tang Dynasty and gradually fell into disuse from Ming and Qing dynasty.
Upon arrival, I was conquered by the beautiful scenery here. Neighboring hills and with rivers winding through, all the houses and courtyards here are made from wood, stone and mud. Their quaint furnishings, flourishing flowers and trees and warm sunshine made me on the scoop. Roaming along the flagging, I came to the central market of the town-Sifang Street. It is only 30 meters long with stores on both sides. Each store has a wood door printed heavy red. The smooth flagstone road shines under the sunlight, reminding people of their flourishing past. Nobody knows how many people and horses had ever passed through this route, which just makes the route stepped to be so smooth.
And then, I reached the Qinglong Bridge, which was built during Ming Dynasty, ranking ‘the First' among the countless old stone bridges in Lijiang. It is built of stones with the limpid Qinglong River water passing under. As the perfect place for appreciating the moonlight enveloping the ancient town, it is praised highly as one of the Top Eight Scenery in the Ancient Town of Shuhe.
Walking forward, I saw a deep pool called Long tan (Dragon Pool), located under the Jade Snow Mountain, which is the holy spring in local people’s mind. The water is so limpid that people can see the reflection of the Jade Snow Mountain in the pool clearly, which ranks one of the Top Eight Scenery in the Ancient Town of Shuhe. There is a temple called "Beiquan Temple" lying beside Long tan, featuring a traditional quadrangle named as "Sansheng Palace". The first cobbler of Shuhe was enshrined and worshiped in it, because Shuhe is the famous "village for the cobblers" in the joining part of Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet and Shuhe people are really proud of their skillful cobblers.
The bars and inns in the town are also very attractive. Being far away from busy and depressed city life, I forgot all the worries in daily life, drinking a cup of pure coffee in a street bar and enjoying the lovely sunset. This is the very essence of life!