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Tunxi Ancient Street, or Tunxi Old Street, is well located in the center of Tunxi District of Huangshan City. With about 630 years’ history, Tunxi Ancient Street is the best preserved old street in China in the style of the Southern Song Dynasty (A.D. 960 - 1127), Ming (A.D. 1368 - 1644) and Qing (A.D. 1644 - 1911) Dynasties. Besides, in 2009, Tunxi Ancient Street, together with Guozijian Street in Beijing and Pingjiang Road in Suzhou, won the great reputation of “Chinese Historical and Cultural Street”. It also was listed among the “National Key Cultural Relics Protection Units”.
Tunxi Ancient Street is paved with maroon flagstones with a total length of 1272 meters, of which 832 meters is the main pedestrian street, starting in the west of Zhenhai Bridge and ending in the east of Qingchun Alley, with a width of 5 to 8 meters. This old street is facing with green mountains and situated at the junction of rivers and the whole area is in a shape of fish, composed with one main straight street, three bystreets and eighteen alleys, more than 300 Hui-style architectures scattered in the area. An ancient Western-European architect once visited the old street and said that he had found “The Eastern Ancient Rome”. And Chinese people call it living “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival”.
Till now, Tunxi Ancient Street has a history of more than 630 years. The formation and development of Tunxi Ancient Street was benefited from its position as the important water transport hub since the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960 - 1279). Down the river, it could reach Hangzhou, the City of Heaven; up the river, it could reach Shangxikou in Xiuning. From Tunxi Ancient Street, it can transit goods to half region of Huizhou which was regarded as the economy and transportation hub.
In the late Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1271 - 1368), Tunxi Ancient Street took shape and Chen Weizong himself built 8 hostels, 47 rooms for business. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Hui merchants began to rise, leading to the rapid development of Tunxi Ancient Street. In the late Qing Dynasty, it became prosperous with the old-style Chinese private banks, pawnshops, silverware shops, pharmacies, grocery, restaurants, shops selling tea, silk, porcelain, salt, sugar… In the Republica of China period (A.D. 1912 - 1949), it was called “Little Shanghai” for its prosperity.
Once you step into the antique street, you’ll get awed by the exquisite Huizhou architectures - elegant structures, gray tile, white wall, ancestral halls and memorial archways. Huizhou architecture forms the most typical scene captured in traditional Chinese landscape paintings, perfectly integrated with the streets, mountains and rivers. Tunxi Ancient Street is the typical old street where local residents do business and live. You can see different styles in presenting the original Ming and Qing Dynasties architecture - shop front and workshop rear, shop front and storehouse rear, shop front and living rooms rear, or shop at the first floor and living rooms at the second floor. To have a vivid look at the Hui-style architectures, travelers can visit “Tongderen” Pharmacy to see shop front and workshop rear style; visit “Chen Dexin” sauce and pickles shop to view shop front and storehouse rear style, or stop by “Mao Huai” antique shop to see shop front and living rooms rear style. All the houses drain off water through the skylight because water means fortune, in this way, fortune will not run off outside. It is called “water returning to the main hall of the houses from four sides” by local residents.
When you stroll along the pedestrian street, you can fully appreciate the exquisite carvings decorated on beams, bracket arms, handrails, and window frames. Popular patterns include figures, flowers, fowl, insects, fish, clouds, and these are usually of auspicious themes, such as the “eight immortals crossing the sea”, "five bats around a shou (sign of longevity)”.
Apart from visiting the old and typical shops, travelers can pay a visit to Tunxi Museum as well as Cheng Families’ Houses.
Tunxi Museum is a comprehensive regional museum displaying Ming and Qing Dynasty furniture, calligraphy, paintings, porcelain, jade, bronze, Four Treasures of the Study, as well as Huizhou tile carvings. You couldn’t miss the Qing Dynasty Figure Carving – the whole tile carving is 128 centimeters high and 290 centimeters long, formed by 52 pieces of tile carvings. It presents three stories about the Three Kingdom, including A Battle at Changbanpo, Liubei Takes a Wife, and Borrowing the East Wind. You can also take a look at the She ink stone which is 1.62 meters long, 0.61 meters wide and at a weight of 360 kilograms. The ink stone can be called a unique treasure in the world. (Note: Please visit during 08:30~17:00.)
Cheng Families’ Houses are three Ming Dynasty architectures with 600 years’ history located at No.6, 7 and 28 of Baishu Dongli Alley. It was built by Cheng Min, the ceremonial master in the Ming Dynasty, hence the houses are named “Cheng Families’ Three Houses”. The houses are reputed as “The Treasure of Ming Dynasty Folk House” by the Forbidden City architect Fu Nianxi. Travelers can closely appreciate the elegant and exquisite wood carvings, stone carvings and brick carvings. (Note: It needs extra charge of 30 Yuan per person. Please visit between 08:30~17:00.)
Have you ever seen the Chinese calligraphy? Do you know the “Four Treasures of Chinese Study” - writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and art paper? A stroll along Tunxi Ancient Street and a visit to the ink stick, ink slab shop will help you have a basic understanding of the profound Chinese calligraphy culture.
To know more about ink stick culture, it is suggested to visit Hu Kai-wen Ink-Stick Factory. This ink-stick factory was first built in 1765 with a history of more than 250 years. The factory sets more than 10 workshops covering the manin ink-stick producing process, including lighting up, filling, making ink, carving, gold drawing, etc. Travelers could not only see the whole process of making ink, but also enjoy more than 7800 styles of ink molds carved by famous sculptors since the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
If you are a foodie, you are at the right place where you can taste delicious Huizhou cuisine and local snacks. Anhui Cuisine is one of the Eight Traditional Chinese Cuisine which focuses on simple ingredients, specific cooking times, pure flavor and various styles. Pick a comfortable restaurant to enjoy the popular dishes, like Soft Shell Turtle Stewed with Ham, Mandarin Fish (Chou Guiyu), Yipin Guo and Fried Odorous Bean Curd (Youjian Mao Doufu). If you are seeking for some snacks, you can try Wang Yitiao Wonton, Huangshan Shaobing (a Chinese style baked roll).
If you have more leisure time to sit for a while, you are recommended to enjoy a cup of famous tea, like Huangshan Maofeng (黄山毛峰), Qimen Black Tea (祁门红茶), and Taiping Kowkui (太平猴魁). With light fragrance, you’ll calm down when you are in the bustling street.
Tunxi Ancient Street is located in the center area of Tunxi District of Huangshan City. It is about 5 kilometers from Huangshan Tunxi Airport, about 3.3 kilometers from Huangshan Railway Station and 13.7 kilometers from Huangshan North Railway Station. It is a good choice to take a short visit before your Huangshan departure or after your Huangshan arrival if you have enough time. Besides, it is about 70 kilometers from Mount Huang Scenic Area which takes about 1.5 hours for driving.
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can take a private Huangshan tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Tunxi Ancient Street with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing. If you have more questions or ideas about a Tunxi tour, please feel free to contact us, we are specialized in tailor-made tours according to your own interests, traveling time, and budget.
Tunxi Ancient Street is different in the daytime and at night. If you stay close to the old street, you can take a visit to Tunxi Ancient Street to enjoy the night view of the old street. It will give you a true feeling of getting back to the ancient times.
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >