History: more than 800 years
Best time to visit: half a day in March, April or at the beginning of November
Hongcun (宏村) Village is renowned in China for its Anhui-style buildings, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
Hongcun became famous outside China because of the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), directed by Ang Lee. It is renowned as the subject of many Chinese paintings, many featuring Hui homes.
Hongcun was originally named 弘村, meaning developed in ancient times. It is 11 kilometers from Yixian County. First built during the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), the village has a history of more than 800 years.
The original name was changed to Hongcun (宏村), with a different Chinese character for Hong, during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). It was originally the home of people with the family name Wang (汪).
The best times to visit the beautiful Hongcun are March, April and the beginning of November. Travelers can enjoy a quiet countryside journey far from busy city life and observe picturesque ancient village scenery.
1. Ancient Hui Residential Buildings
The unique local homes are well-preserved ancient Anhui-style buildings, very different from Suzhou gardens or Beijing royal gardens.
There are about 140 well-preserved ancient houses from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties. Chengzhitang (承志堂) is called the folk palace because it is the best ancient residence among ancient buildings in the south of Anhui Province. Travelers should not miss that ancient house.
The houses and hills, together with the lake, are extremely beautiful and Hongcun attract many photographers. Wandering round the ancient village, travelers can quickly forget their troubles and sadness, and enjoy the quiet, peaceful countryside life.
2. Water System
The man-made water system in Hongcun was a uniquely inspired project. During the Southern Song (960-1127) dynasty, in order to prevent fire, villagers created a water-buffalo-shaped artificial water system. The water project distinguishes Hongcun from other villages.
3. Cole Flower Fields in March and April
Hongcun in March and April is a sea of yellow cole flowers. Farmers plant cole on a large scale and when the cole flowers open they create beautiful natural scenery. This is Hongcun’s most beautiful season. The village is one of the top spring destinations to visit in China.
4. Colorful Autumn Scenery in November
In November, the village turns into a colorful world of red, yellow, and green leaves. These colorful leaves make Hongcun popular in autumn. Less crowded than Fragrance Hill in Beijing, this is a marvelous place for autumn scenery.
Hongcun is easy to reach from Yellow Mountain. It should not be missed on the way to Yellow Mountain. Travelers can also visit Xidi Village, similar to Hongcun.
Best Places for Photography
1. Southern Lake
Located at the south of Hongcun, Southern Lake (南湖) is an arched lake built in 1607. Old trees and weeping willows, with graceful branches and leaves, surround the lake’s causeway. The whole lake reflects the light, water and sky blending into one color, along with the mountains and houses which appear to be falling into the lake.
2. Moon Pond
Built about 600 years ago, Moon Pond (月沼) is at the center of the water system in Hongcun. The surface of this half-moon-shaped pond is as calm as a mirror, with ancient houses and bluestones spread around the pond. At the pond-side, old people chat, women wash clothes and kids play around.
Food in Hongcun
“Stinky Mandarin Fish” (臭鳜鱼) is the most famous food in Huangshan. Cooked in a unique way, the fish smells stinky but tastes very good.
“Downy Tofu with Tiger Skin” (虎皮毛豆腐) is artificially fermented tofu, the surface of which grows a layer of white hair (white hypha). After frying, the surface of the tofu skin seems like tiger skin, hence the name.
Hongcun has many traditional local dishes. Other snacks like baked sesame seed cake, Huizhou ham and fried dough are also famous in Hongcun.
Experiences You Should Not Miss with China Travel
We have developed some special activities in Hongcun to enrich your tour experience.
Make tofu with your own hands at a farm, which partners with China Travel. You will participate in the whole procedure of grinding soybeans on a stone mill, washing soybean juice, boiling the juice, adding brine and tasting the fruits of your labor. It’s a unique and fun experience for both children and adults.
The Yellow Mountain area is rich in bamboo, and the villages around have a long history of using bamboo to make household supplies.
Although nowadays fewer and fewer people master this traditional craft, we have found a local bamboo craftsman who will be happy to teach you how to use bamboo to make different animals and shapes.
3. Making Your Own Brush Pen
Making Your Own Brush Pen
Huangshan produces some of the best Chinese brush pens, ink and inkstones. Your workshop host, Yang Wen, knows lots about our intangible cultural heritage. He will introduce the process of making brush pens, and you will have a chance to make your own pen.
Don’t hesitate to Contact Us if you are interested in any of the above activities.