Lijiang Old Town (Dayan)
Originally called Dayan, Lijiang is a very well preserved old town built by Naxi people with unique cultural background. The old town occupies an area of 3.8 square kilometers. It was first built in Song Dynasty, and has a history of more than 800 years. During Yuan Dynasty, Lijiang has become the political, economic and cultural hub of the region and the staging post along old tea horse road.
Unlike any other towns in China, Lijiang old city doesn't have a city wall. Legend tells that the governor of the Lijiang has a family name of Mu, which means 'tree' in Chinese language. The family administrated the region for 500 years. If they building a city wall around the town, it may imply putting a frame around 'Mu' character, which constitutes a new character 'Kun', which means 'dilemma' or 'predicament'. The superstitious government would never set him and his family in a hard time, so the city wall has not ever been built around Lijiang old town.
Lijiang old town is prestigious for its unique system of waterways and bridges. Black Dragon Pool (Heilongtan) is the main water source of the town, from which many small rivers flow down along the streets, passing by every family. There are almost 350 varied and inimitable bridges in the little town, some of which were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The Square Street (Sifangjie) is the center of the town. Four main streets radiate from Square Street, and lead to the four different directions. Numerous lanes network in all directions, connecting every corner of the town. Streets in the Old Town are laid by the local bluestones which remind you of the town's old times.
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