Dali Travel Tips, to Learn About Local Folk Customs

Located in the northwest of Yunnan province, 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Kunming, Dali is the economic and cultural center of the Dali bai autonomous prefecture. Surrounded by mountains on the east, west and south sides, Erhai lake is the center. Here you will find 25 ethnic minorities who have created a unique cultural heritage in a picturesque setting.

As early as 4000 years ago, bai ancestors settled here. In the 2nd century, it was brought into the territory of the central government of the han dynasty (206bc-220ad). Two minority states, nanzhao (738-937) in the tang dynasty (618-907) and Dali (937-1253) in the song dynasty (960-1279), were also founded here. Throughout history, it has been a middle ground linking ancient China and other countries through India for economic and cultural exchanges. The ruins of the ancient cities of taihe and Dali bear witness to the historical changes here over thousands of years. The surrounding ancient towns, together with xizhou town and zhoucheng village, showcase the bai people’s most historic daily customs.

Ethnic minorities have lived in the area for generations, with the bai making up 65 percent of the population. The customs of ethnic minorities bring charm to daily life. Every spring, celebrations and festivals bring the city to life. Celebrations such as the march street festival and butterfly festival provide excellent opportunities to learn about local customs.

The city’s famous street of foreigners attracts tourists with its handicrafts and local delicacies. Xiaguan, located in the south of the ancient city, is the seat of the Dali bai autonomous prefecture government. Here, hotels, plazas and shopping malls add a modern touch to the historic city.

Ci Qi Kou, Porcelain Village in Chongqing

Located on the Banks of the jialing river, not far from its confluence with the Yangtze river, is an ancient village called ciqikou, formerly known as longyin. Located in the western city of chongqing, it covers an area of about 291.6 acres (1.2 square kilometers) and is 9 miles (14 kilometers) long.

Chongqing itself has undergone many changes over the centuries that are not reflected in ciqikou, so the village gives an impression of what chongqing was like in the distant past. This fact was recognized by the state council and became a protected cultural site in 1998.

The history of ciqi can be traced back to more than 1,700 years ago. During the Ming and qing dynasties (1368-1911), it was famous for producing porcelain. So far, more than 20 ancient kiln sites have been found there. Because of the importance of the porcelain industry, its name has been changed from long Yin to chi qi kou, which translates as porcelain village. In addition, the fact that the village is an important shipping depot explains why so many shops line the 12-lane route, paved with their flagstones, forming the main route. Here, you’ll find many outlets for crafts, groceries, and more, as well as watchmakers, photographic equipment, pharmacies, and enticing roasted nuts and seeds. As one might expect, there are also teahouses and restaurants catering to the many tourists who come to see a way of life that has been here for centuries.

Most of the houses on ciqikou street were built during the Ming and qing dynasties, when many of China’s architectural masterpieces were created. Most of the two – and three-story buildings are made of bamboo and wood. Black bricks and pillars set off the white walls, contrasting with cinnabar doors and latticed Windows. Black stone slabs and lanterns decorate the doors to complete the authentic and traditional exterior attributes. The quietly flowing jialing river, which has been the lifeblood of the village in people’s memory, flows past the village. Because it is the river that brings goods and people here, and local products to customers both at home and abroad.

Three of the village’s most striking attractions are the tea bar, the artist’s studio and the shu embroidery workshop. Surprisingly, there are more than 100 tea bars, each with its own unique characteristics. Here, friends like to chat or have meetings to discuss business. Therefore, the tea bar offers you the opportunity to meet the local people and familiarize you with the unique folk opera.

The studio, where you can see the work of local artists, will be very interesting. It is said that the more beautiful a place is, the more artists it attracts. You must be surprised by the quality and progress of the work on display, as many artists document the local scene with skill and dedication. With so many artists working in the magnetic seven, you’ll be spoilt when you’re looking for souvenirs to visit.

Chaotianmen Dock, a Major Water Transportation Hub in Chongqing

Chaotianmen wharf is an important water transportation hub in chongqing, where the jialing river meets the Yangtze river. It is also a landmark and must-see attraction in chongqing.

Chaotian gate was built in 314 BC as the gate. In ancient times, local officials knelt before the door to accept the emperor’s orders. The emperor was thought to be the son of heaven at that time, so this place was called chaotianmen, meaning “chaotianmen”.

 

Chaotianmen is the largest wharf in chongqing and one of the busiest in China. The Yangtze river cruise, city cruise, and city ferry depart from the docks. Visiting the Yangtze river is the best way to see its most beautiful section, the three gorges. Sightseeing boats go between chaotianmen wharf and jialing river bridge or Yangtze river bridge. It’s a good way to enjoy the city scenery and the night scenery. Ferries shuttle between the docks and the streets of foreigners, a place of architecture and delicious food.

The jialing river joins the Yangtze river at chaotianmen. The jialing river on the left is 1,119 kilometers (695 miles) long, where it empties into the Yangtze river. In early summer, the green jialing river and the brown-yellow Yangtze river create a spectacular landscape with rolling eddies. Chaotianmen square above the wharf is the best place to watch the two rivers meet.

At present, Chaotianmen Dock has become the most prosperous commercial wholesale and retail area of the city. The boats, ferries, riverside wharfs, crowded pedestrians, and alley of shops and buildings on the banks of the two rivers make it lively. The well-developed traffic and the thriving commerce attract more and more people to go there.

Chinese Bridges, an Important Legacy with National Characteristics

Chinese bridges from ancient times, highly varied in art, material and form, are an important legacy with national characteristics, occupying an important position in the world history of bridge building. China, a country with such a long history, has inherited from her past bridges without number: there are, it is said, four million of them if one counts the stone arch bridges alone. In the southern regions of rivers and lakes, the landscape is dotted with bridges of various sizes and descriptions, which make it all the more picturesque.

The oldest bridge still in existence in China is the Anji Bridge, constructed during the years between 595 and 605. During the infrastructure boom of the past two decades, bridge-building has proceeded at a rapid pace on a vast scale.

  1. Qiantang River Bridge

The Qiantang River Bridge is a road and railway bridge across the Qiantang River at Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, China. The bridge was designed by Mao Yisheng and built by Dorman Long. Construction, which started on 8 August 1934 was completed on 29 September 1937. It is a two-tier truss bridge with 16 spans and is 1,072 metres long. It is China’s first self-designed and self-built bridge. In 2006, the bridge was designated as a “key cultural relic” recognizing the bridge’s historic significance.

  1. Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge

The Wuhan Yangtze Great Bridge is a double-deck road and rail bridge across the Yangtze River in Central China – Wuhan. At its completion in 1957, the bridge was the easternmost crossing of the Yangtze, and was often referred to as the “First Bridge of the Yangtze”. The upper level of the bridge is a two-way, four-lane automobile highway. The lower level is a double-track railway on the Beijing-Guangzhou railway line.

  1. Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge

The Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is a double-decked road-rail truss bridge across the Yangtze River between Pukou and Xiaguan in Nanjing, China. Its upper deck is part of China National Highway 104, spanning 4,588 metres. Its lower deck, with a double-track railway, is 6,772 metres long, and completes the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, which had been divided by the Yangtze for decades. It was the third bridge over the Yangtze after the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge and the Chongqing Baishatuo Yangtze River Bridge.

  1. Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge (HZMB), is a 55-kilometre (34 mi) bridge–tunnel system consisting of a series of three cable-stayed bridges, an undersea tunnel, and four artificial islands. It is both the longest sea crossing and the longest fixed link on earth. It spans the Lingding and Jiuzhou channels, connecting Hong Kong, Macau, and Zhuhai—three major cities on the Pearl River Delta. the construction of the whole project was completed on 6 February 2018 and put into service in October 24, 2018.

  1. Sutong Yangtze River Bridge

The Sutong Yangtze River Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Yangtze River in China between Nantong and Changshu. With a span of 1,088 metres, it was the cable-stayed bridge with the longest main span in the world in 2008-2012. It received the 2010 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement award (OCEA) from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Two towers of the bridge are 306 metres high and thus the third tallest in the world.

  1. Lupu Bridge

The Lupu Bridge is a through arch bridge over the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, connecting the city’s Huangpu and Pudong districts. It is the world’s second longest steel arch bridge, after the Chaotianmen Bridge in Chongqing. The bridge has a total length including approach spans of 3,900 m and opened on June 28, 2003. The main bridge structure is 750m long including the two side spans of 100m each. The Lupu Bridge was one of the architectural centerpieces of Expo 2010 in Shanghai, as it formed part of the western boundary of the Expo site.

  1. Chaotianmen Bridge

The Chaotianmen Bridge, is a road-rail bridge over the Yangtze River in the city of Chongqing, China. The bridge, which opened on 29 April 2009, is the world’s longest through arch bridge. The continuous steel truss arch bridge with tie girders has a height of 142 m from middle supports to arch top, main span of 552 m and a total length of 1,741 m. It carries 6 lanes in two ways and a pedestrian lane on each side on the upper deck. The lower deck has 2 traffic lanes on each side with a reservation in the middle for the Chongqing Metro Loop Line.

  1. Hangzhou Bay Bridge

Hangzhou Bay Bridge is a highway bridge with a cable-stayed portion across Hangzhou Bay in the eastern coastal region of China. It connects the municipalities of Jiaxing and Ningbo in Zhejiang province. Construction of the bridge was completed on June 14, 2007 and it was opened to public May 1, 2008. At 35.673 km in length, Hangzhou Bay Bridge was among the ten longest trans-oceanic bridges.

5 Types of Ancient Chinese Architecture

In over 3,000 years, varied Chinese architecture has developed, ranging from magnificent imperial palaces to simple religious pagodas. Below is some information about the five types of ancient Chinese architecture.

  1. Imperial Palaces

Imperial palaces were originally built to serve the extravagant lifestyles of the emperors, as well as to provide a centralized location for demonstrating imperial political control. The imperial palaces were built on a grand scale, sparing no expense to display the majesty and dignity of the imperial power of the time. Each successive emperor contributed grandeur to the structures, and today, these palaces stand for all to enjoy. Each imperial palace is a testament to the history and glory of Chinese culture. These glorious structures clearly demonstrate the creative essence and traditions of the Chinese people.

After the Qin and Han dynasties, palaces always occupied an important position in ancient Chinese architecture. Unfortunately many palaces have become relics. The buildings and designs of the Forbidden City are the peak of Chinese traditional architecture, not only scientific but also suitable for living. Now, it is the largest, the most complete and the finest of the palaces that are well preserved. From the whole architectural art of the Forbidden City, it embodies the special style and outstanding achievement of ancient Chinese architectural art, and is one of the outstanding buildings in the world.

  1. Defensive Walls

Many ancient Chinese cities were surrounded by a set of walls. Outside the cities, there were sometimes barrier walls at the kingdom/empire borders. Most of them originally served as defensive fortifications.

The Great Wall is the world’s longest ancient architectural structure. It has a winding path over rugged mountains around Beijing and the Mongol border, from a beach in East China to a West China desert corridor between tall mountain ranges.

The original Great Wall had a basic compacted earth and wood construction. However, by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) the characteristic stonework crenellations and various watchtowers were fully developed.

  1. Pagodas

Pagodas are actually native to India. These octagonal towers were introduced to China along with the introduction and integration of Buddhism. The design of the traditional Indian pagoda changed as the structure was integrated into Chinese culture.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an is one of the most famous Buddhist buildings in China. It was built in the Tang Dynasty (618–907) to house monks who studied Buddhist scriptures.

The seven-storied brick pagoda was built without any cement. It has a height of 64 meters (210 feet) and from the top you can have a good view of the city of Xi’an, though it is now dwarfed by modern architecture.

  1. Altars and Temples

Altars and temples are important components of Chinese culture. They provided ceremonial sites for offering prayers and sacrifices to heaven. Sacrifices were also offered to the moon, the sun, the earth, the mountains, scholars, and ancestors.

The Temple of Heaven was where emperors undertook an annual pilgrimage during the winter solstice to pray to heaven for a good harvest for the following year.

  1. Mausoleums

Mausoleums are a very important aspect of Chinese culture and architecture. The ancient Chinese believed that the spirit lived on after the body passed away. Therefore, elaborate mausoleums were built to honor those who had moved on to the other dimension.

Many mausoleums display beautiful and elaborate artwork, carvings, and calligraphy. The standard design of a Chinese mausoleum includes walls around the structure, four open doors facing in each direction, and four turrets — one on each corner.

Located according to fengshui, mausoleums are commonly found on or by mountains. However, where mountains are lacking, they are found on flatlands and plains.

Zhejiang Museum Exhibits Donated Artworks

Since its establishment in 1929, Zhejiang Museum in Hangzhou has received donations of artifacts, paintings, porcelain and crafts from around 1,000 individuals.

According to the museum, public donations account for 45 percent of its collections, which have helped the museum’s development and protected cultural heritage in Zhejiang Province.

To pay respects to donors and celebrate the museum’s 90th anniversary, an ongoing exhibition at West Lake Gallery is displaying some of these donations through March 8.

For many in ancient China, getting a good night’s rest meant snuggling up with a ceramic pillow. During the Song Dynasty, ceramic pillows reached a new height of craftsmanship as artisans incorporated shapes and patterns into their pillow designs. The displayed pillow is monochromatic, reflecting a preference among literati for simply adorned porcelain goods. Without complicated patterns or color schemes to mask flaws, this lightly decorated pillow is an example of fine craftsmanship. Over the past decade, Zhejiang Museum has also received donations from intangible cultural heritage inheritors. At the exhibition, Shanghai Daily found works by masters Zhao Xixiang and Ji Xigui.

Among private donors, Hong Kong entrepreneurial couple Ronald Chao and his wife might be the most well-known. They donated 161 lacquered objects, valued at 167 million yuan (US$23.86 million) to the museum in 2012. The donation helped the museum fill a void in lacquer ware from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and enriched its collection from the Qianlong reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

In ancient times, lacquer tree sap was used to varnish and protect daily necessities. Objects covered with lacquer were moisture-resistant, heat-resistant, corrosion-resistant, smooth and shiny. They gradually developed into a traditional craft. Chao’s ancestral home is in Zhejiang. The couple began collecting lacquer wares in the 1980s. Most were items used in imperial palaces, such as dining ware, bowls, vases and decorative objects. The exhibition showcases four pieces donated by the couple. Every piece is carved with sophisticated patterns.