Only 60 km away from China's huge capital Beijing there is this lovely little village called Chuandixia. Located on a little mountain in the midst of mountains covered with fresh green grass, intriguingly beautiful plants and huge old trees, which could probably tell interesting stories about this charming little village, one can breathe in fresh air and enjoy the feeling of being far far away from the city with its annoying stench and loud noises.
Wandering along the centuries' old pavements and passing by a wall where official messages from the 19th century can be read is quite a treat. Chuandixia history goes as far back as to the Ming-dynasty when many families moved from Shanxi Province to this village. And they had made the right decision, as Chuandixia with its favorable geographic position soon proved to be a very profitable little village. Chuandixia's economy, which was developing particularly well at the end of the Qing-dynasty, got a boost by being the center point of trade between an area famous for its coal mining and an area producing a great amount of grains and fur.
A particularly interesting feature of the village is its 70 houses at ground level which were built during the Ming- and the Qing-dynasty based on the traditional pattern of four houses surrounding a courtyard. The courtyard itself is paved with square-shaped tiles hiding a cellar for vegetables, grains and fruit underneath it. Even nowadays more than ten families inhabit one of those courtyard complexes which together with the others cover an area of 10.000 m2 and are located closely to each other right at the mountain side.
The pathways leading through the village are framed by little stonewalls and the 80 people still living in the village can quench their thirst with amazingly clear and tasty water coming out of two deep springs. Chuandixia can be visited at any time during the year and if one wants to think about something else than the usual worries that follow us every day, then this little village with its warmhearted and welcoming inhabitants is the perfect way to rediscover the beauty of peace and nature. (chinaorbit.com)
(China.org.cn January 22, 2008)