Qingyan is one of Guizhou’s four major ancient towns. As a frontier garrison built in the Ming Dynasty, the town retains its original design of outer and inner cities, each with magnificent city walls, watchtowers and battlements. Within the town, well-preserved stone-slab lanes and archways testify to its past glory.
It would be no exaggeration to call Qingyan“a stone town”. Almost everything is made of stone-houses: walls, roads, archways, stoves and other utilities. Dwellings lining the stone-paved lanes are built with distinguished doors, decorated with Guizhou-flavour New Year paintings. In this small town, Western cultural influences have blended with Chinese civilization, while Catholic and Christian churches co-exist with Buddhist and Taoist temples.
To enforce the imperial court’s administration in the southwestern border area, a post station was set up in Qingyan in 1373, followed by the establishment of a garrison. In 1381, an army of 300,00 men was sent to today’s Yunnan and Guizhou. Those assigned to Qingyan built their first earthen fortress, indicating the emergence of Qingyan Town. In later warring years, the local residents all moved into the fortress for safety, and helped strengthen the town’s defence with massive mason works, leaving Qingyan a rich legacy of numerous Ming and Qing dynasty cultural relics.
Among its 37 tourist attractions are nine monasteries, eight temples, five towers, three caves, two halls, a palace and an academy, Its three archways, situated at the North, South and Guangmen gates—all 9.5 meters high and nine meters wide—are exquisitely carved with terrapins and dragons.
The teahouse at the top of the Guangmen Tower offers a good place to rest. While sipping the locally produced tea, visitors can take in a panoramic view of the ancient town: its temples and churchs, brought to life by children leading their buffaloes and women with shoulder poles carrying their vegetables along the stone-slab roads…
Qing Yan owns some famous local specialties as well. One of them is Rose Candy (also known as Mia Pian Candy in Chinese) made by the Ping family in Qing Yan town. History of the Candy can be traced back as early as 1874 and it is passed down through generations in the old town. Today the fragrant and sweet candy becomes a famous brand and is still liked by young and old.
Another local product is Qing Yan Shuanghua Vinegar. The liquid of the vinegar is quite thick and is of the color of dark red. The vinegar tastes of slight sweetness in the mouth and the fragrance lasts long. Local Guiyang people like it very much.
Catering： Qing Yan Bean Curd, Rice Cerd, bittern pettitoes, Rose Candy, farmhouse dishes
Accommodation：Qingyan is a good place for tourists to taste and experience. If possible, you may stay one or two days there. A guest room there costs about 20 to 30 RMB.