Weishan Yi and Hui Autonomous County is a locality of minority nationalities. It is an ancient city where the buildings in the Ming (1368 A.D. – 1644 A.D.) and Qing dynasties (1644 A.D. – 1911 A.D.) are preserved. The scenery of the complete ancient town has been passed till today.
The county town is 450 kilometers (about 279.62 miles) away from Kunming (capital city of Yunnan Province), and 61 kilometers (about 37.90 miles) from Dali City.
In 1944, Weishan County was listed as the national historical and cultural city. It is one of the four counties which have been celebrated as “literature of the state”. As the birthplace of Nanzhao (a local regime in ancient China), there are a lot of relics and stories of Nanzhao in Weishan County. There are altogether 23 ethnic groups in Weishan County, among which 6 ethnic groups have settled there for more than 100 years, including Han ethnic group, Yi ethnic group, Hui ethnic group, Bai ethnic group, Miao ethnic group and Lisu ethnic group.
There are 30 important heritage sites under province and prefecture protection. Among them, there is an ancient city which was built in the 22nd year during Zhu Yuanzhang's reign (Zhu Yuanzhang is the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty), a national forest park and Weibao Mountain which is one of the 14 famous mountains in Taoism. During the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1735 A.D. – 1795 A.D.) in the Qing Dynasty, Weishan got the name of “literature of the state”. The large numbers of historical sites and ancient buildings, which are all worth visiting, are of great historical significance and researching value. Dong Lianhua Village (or the East Village of Lotus) was a post house of the horse caravans in the Ming and Qing dynasties. They have been perfectly conserved until now, becoimg quite precious nowadays. The mosques in Weishan are also very famous, with altogether 22 mosques in Weishan County, which are all in huge scale and quite magnificent. The mosques boast rich characteristics of the ethnic groups in Weishan, whose most typical feature is the western region style.
The Ancient City of Weishan
With a history of more than 600 years, the ancient city of Weishan conserved now was firstly built in the 22nd year during Zhu Yuanzhang’ reign. The ancient city of Weishan is also known as Menghua City, which used to be the birthplace of the ancient Nanzhao Kingdom. Around the ancient city of Weishan, there built solid walls, with four gates on each direct (including the East Gate, the West Gate, the South Gate and the North Gate). In the center of the city, there is a Xing Gong Tower (meaning a tower surrounded by stars). The shape of the ancient city is like a square seal. Inside the city, all the roads are arranged according to the chessboard type, with 24 streets and 18 lanes crossing each other.
The imposing Xing Gong Tower and Gong Chen Tower are the landmarks of the ancient city of Weishan. The houses in the ancient city were built according to the structure of the ancient Chinese style which was popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties. There are many ancient buildings dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties both inside and outside the ancient city, such as the Wen Temple (or the Confucius’s Temple), Wen Hua School, Yu Huang Pavilion (meaning the pavilion of the Jade Emperor who is the Supreme Deity of Taoism) and Dong Yue Palace (meaning the palace of the east mountain).
The north gate tower of Weishan is named Gong Chen Tower, which was built during the reign of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. On the tall walls, there is an ancient building in the style of double-hipped roof with Xie top, covering an area of five rooms. On the south wall of the gate tower hangs a horizontal tablet inscribed with four Chinese characters “Kui Xiong Liu Zhao”, while on the north wall hangs a horizontal tablet inscribed with “Wan Li Zhan Tian”. The walls and the tablets are all imposing and powerful. The ancient tower is 23.5 meters tall, with the bottom wall of 8.3 meters tall. The structure of the tower is supported by 28 pillars. Climbing along the steps from the two small gates in the east or the gate in the west to the top of the tower and look around, tourists can see four main streets stretching respectively towards the directions of the east, the west, the south and the north. The houses are neatly arranged. From the top of the tower, tourists can have a panoramic view of the whole Weishan County, with magnificent scenery.
Weibao Mountain Scenic Spot
Weibao Mountain is one of the 14 famous mountains in Taoism, combining the beauty of the nature, the origin of Nanzhang culture and the Taoist culture harmoniously. Weibao Mountain is located 11 kilometers (about 6.84 miles) southeast of the county town of Weishan, covering an area of 19 square kilometers (or 1900 hectares), with the main peak measuring 2,569 meters in height. It is said that there was splendor coming out of the mountain, and this is why Weibao Mountain got its name.
Weibao Mountain Scenic Spot consists of two parts, including the front mountain and the back mountain. There are altogether more than 30 scenic spots for tourists to visit, such as Xixin Room (meaning the room to clean one’s heart), Yinsu Spring (meaning the spring of silver millet) and Qixing Well (meaning the well of sever stars). These sights are all related to the local legends, which is a unique feature in Weishan County. In addition, Weibao Mountain is also the birthplace of Nanzhao culture and a famous mountain in Taoism as well. Nowadays, the Dongjing Music Concert and Yi ethnic group singing festival held there contribute to the glory of the mountain.
Weishan County enjoys a northern subtropical plateau monsoon climate, with obvious vertical changes. The annual average temperature is 15.6 ℃ while the mean monthly temperature is 22.9 ℃. The total amount of precipitation during a whole year is 772 mm, and the sunshine duration lasts 1998.5 hours every year. So it is comfortable to travel to Weishan County all the year round. However, when visiting Weishan County in winter, the north wind is relatively cold and some delicious local snacks cannot be tasted, leading to some disadvantages of winter.
Special Local Products
The local agricultural products in Weishan County mainly includes flue-cured tobacco, tea, walnut seed, beef cattle, black goat, white kidney bean, beer barley, fruits and medicinal materials. Besides, there are also many other kinds of local products, such as bandhnu cloth, unique local snacks, glazed fruits, pickles, preserved beef and green bean cake. The glazed fruits in Weishan are famous even out of Yuannan Province.
The bandhnu cloth in Weishan County has strong characteristics of traditional craft which are unique to the ethnic groups there. Weishan County was once given the name of “the land of Chinese Bandhnu Art” by the Ministry of Culture. The bandhnu cloth produced in Weishan County is exported to Janpan, the US, the European counties, the Southeast Asia countries and many other countries.