Jinhua Old Town in Jianchuan County, Dali
Chinese Name: 剑川县金华古城（剑川古城）
Chinese Pinyin: Jianchuan Xian Jinhua Gucheng
English Name: Jianchuan Old Town in Dali
Type: ancient town
Area: 2250 square kilometers
Opening Hours: all day
Location: Jinhua Town, Jianchuan County, Dali
Jinhua Ancient Town(Jianchuan Ancient Town)
Jinhua Ancient Town (金华古城)was built in 21 year of Jiajing Period of Ming Dynasty, enjoying the history of more than 650 years. The orignal wall of the town was destoryed in 1952. The alleys and streets of Ming Dynasty were maintained, including the layout and size. Jianchuan Ancient Town enjoys the unique architecture which covers more than 40 ancient buildings of Ming Dynasty and 146 ones of Qing Dynasty, with 21 well-preserved gardens. The layout of Jianchuan Ancient Town represents the influence of Confuciunism in Dali and retains the chessboard layout of Ming Dynasty. Jianchuan enjoys the long and perofound history and splendid ethnic culture. Today, Jianchuan still keeps the traditional arts and religional culture.
Where is Jinhua Ancient Town?
Jinhua Ancient Town is located in the north of Dali Prefecture and west of Yunnan Province. It is the most populous county in terms of Bai people in China. In ancient time, Jianchuan was the hub of cultural exchange of Han and Tibetan.
Hometown of Wood-carving—Jianchuan
Jianchuan is famous for its wood carvers. When driving into town, you may drive by a few workshops and in the streets of the old town, look at the wooden doors exquisitely carved by local craftsmen who decorated the panels with flowers, traditional patterns or legendary animals like the kirin (麒麟) straight from the Chinese mythological bestiary. In Yunnan, Jianchuan craftsmanship enjoys such a good reputation so that some locals travel all around the province. The Ancient Tea and Horse Road (茶马古道), the legendary trade route that has allowed for the dissemination of Jianchuan’s wood craftsmanship in southwest China.
The layout of Jianchuan Ancient Town represents the influence of Confuciunism in Dali and retains the chessboard layout of Ming Dynasty. The architectures of Jianchuan Ancient Town are residencial houses of Bai people, which take a lot of ethnic skills in terms of -wood-carving, stone-carving etc. Jianchuan is knowns as the Town of Wood-carving in China.
Old Residences from the Imperial Era
During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), the development of trade on the old Tea and Horse Road (茶马古道) has allowed for the emergence of a class of merchants, scholars and officials who built imposing courtyard mansions all hidden behind magnificent wood and stone gates.
The details of the stories behind this historical figures, their deeds and accomplishments is embedded in the intricate meanders of local histories. In the streets of Jianchuan Ancient Town, there is a dozen of ancient residential buildings which were built between the early years of the Ming Dynasty and the late Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) and that are now protected as historical heritage site at the provincial level.
Useful Travel Tips
If you are going back to Shaxi after visiting the Qianshi Shan (千狮山) before going on with your itinerary, or are in transit in Jianchuan, the old town definitely deserves a couple of hours of your time.
When the weather is fine in Dali, the sunshine is heated, and ultraviolet light is strong. People should avoid direct sunlight, and the sun hat preparation is required during outdoor activities, a pair of sunglasses will make you comfortable in the trip.