Famous Ancient Towns in Chongqing

Ciqikou Ancient Town

The Ciqikou Ancient Town is located in Shapingba District on the west bank of the Jialing River, only 3 kilometers from the bustling downtown of Chongqing. Covering an area of 1.5 square kilometers, Ciqikou (literally “Porcelain Port”) was built in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and became famous in the Ming and Qing dynasties for the production and shipment of blue and white porcelain wares. As an important port on the Jialing River, it was once a very prosperous town and nicknamed “Little Chongqing”. Old and plain-looking, most of the buildings in the town are well preserved. The Ciqikou Ancient Town is also famous for various local snacks, tea houses and traditional folk shows, such as oil crops compressing, silk reeling, candy making, dough figurine sculpturing and Sichuan Opera.

Ciqikou Ancient Town

Laitan Ancient Town

With an area of 2.7 square kilometers, the Laitan Ancient Town is 28 kilometers northeast of Hechuan District, Chongqing. Built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it was used as both military fortress and residences for the farmers in the mountainous area. The ancient town is divided into an upper section and a lower section. The upper section perches on Jiufeng Mountain, guarded by tall walls and precipitous cliffs. The lower section forms Laitan Village, whose walls are uniquely made up of 0.5-meter-long stone slices. In the village, there are still over 400 residential buildings left from the Qing Dynasty, as well as stone-paved streets and alleys, presenting a simple but elegant view.

Laitan Ancient Town

Shuangjiang Ancient Town

The Shuangjiang Ancient Town is located in Tongnan County, Chongqing. Built in the early Qing Dynasty, it features the charm of the ancient towns in the Ba-Shu region. Here, you can see a cluster of some 20 well-preserved residential buildings, a rarity in Southwest China. All the buildings are in a plain but elegant style, with four upturned eaves on each side. The town also boasts a 700-meter-long “Qing Dynasty Street”, which is paved with dark blue stones. On both sides of the street stand buildings with exquisitely carved columns and walls.

Shuangjiang Ancient Town

Anju Ancient Town

By the Fujiang River, the Anju Ancient Town, with a history of over 1,500 years, is an important trading port and business hub in the northern part of Chongqing. The residential houses in the town which were built on cliffs have maintained their original flavor after many ups and downs over the past years. The old streets, built in line with the landform of the mountain, are strewn with temples and pavilions on both sides, adding profound and time-honored tranquility to the town.

Anju Ancient Town

Lukong Ancient Town

Located in the northeast of Rongchang County, Lukong Ancient Town is 12 kilometers from the downtown of Chongqing. During the Song (960-1279) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties, Lukong was well known for its waterborne commerce, which helped form the large-scale commercial streets and centers around its wharfs. During the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820) of the Qing Dynasty, local residents expanded the ancient town around the wharfs to prevent possible battles. Covered with exuberant trees, the small town is both elegant and stylish, with the Laixi River flowing beneath seven rock bridges and winding around the town.

Lukong Ancient Town

Tanghe Ancient Town

The Tanghe Ancient Town, an important trading town on the boundary between Sichuan and Chengdu, is located in the southwest of Jiangjin District of Chongqing, adjacent to Baisha Town in the northeast and close to the Chengdu-Chongqing Railway and the Yangtze River. Built in line with the landforms of the hills, the town embraces an architectural complex of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, with a total area of nearly 40,000 square meters. Most of the houses in the town take bluestones as the foundation and have brick and wooden walls, carved beams and painted roofs, adding a special flavor to the old streets. All the houses in the town are laid out in the fashion of a maze. With the old houses, shoals, shallow waters and bustling wharfs, the ancient town is simple, unadorned and exquisite.

Tanghe Ancient Town

Zhongshan Ancient Town

The Zhongshan Ancient Town, locally called “Sanhechang” or “Longdongchang”, has been a flourishing commercial and trading wharf since ancient times. Located in the southern mountainous area of Jiangjin District in Chongqing, the town backs on to hills and lies beside a river. All the houses in the town were built by the rivers and linked with each other by three small streets, namely Longdong, Huangzhongba and Gaoshengqiao. The streets, only 2 or 3 meters wide, wind through the town, where time-honored workshops, stilt houses and pubs serving wine with earthen bowls can be seen. The overhead buildings are very unusual. The first floor of the overhead buildings is independent, but the horizontal beams and eaves on the second floor are linked with the buildings on the other side of the street, providing a shelter for passers-by and villagers doing shopping in the town.

Zhongshan Ancient Town

Pianyan Ancient Town

Located in Beibei District, 87 kilometers from the downtown of Chongqing, it was once an ancient town from Chongqing to the Ancient Huaying Road, where merchants converged for business transactions. The town was built by waters and near mountains, showing an ancient architectural style after years of ups and downs. The waters are clean to the deepest while old trees with luxuriant foliage, providing a natural shed from sunshine. The town is small and sweet, presenting you a landscape rich in poetic and artistic conception.

Pianyan Ancient Town

Fengsheng Ancient Town

Fengsheng Ancient Town in Chongqing is located in the northeastern suburbs of Banan District at the confluence of Banan, Fuling and Nanchuan. In ancient times, the town was a center of local business and trade. From the late Ming Dynasty to the early Qing Dynasty, some streets were built in the town, such as Jiangxi Street, Banbian Street, Changning Street, Gongzheng Street, Shuyuan Street, etc. To date, the town has been well-preserved. The old streets are flanked by two- to three-story wooden shops. The eaves, doors, windows and walls are sculpted with opera stories, birds and animals, vividly reflecting the Anhui-style architecture in China.

Fengsheng Ancient Town

Ningchang Ancient Town

Located in Wuxi County of Chongqing, Ningchang Ancient Town has a salt manufacturing history of over 4,000 years, and was regarded as the “Ancient Salt Capital of China”. Embraced by hills and rivers, the town boasts winding streets paved with bluestones, stilt houses and arcades. The traditional salt workshops, little bridges over flowing streams and slender willows present a landscape scroll of harmonious life that people are longing for.

Ningchang Ancient Town

Dachang Ancient Town

The small Dachang Ancient Town is located at a distance of 60 kilometers from Wushan County, Chongqing. With a history of 1,700 years, the town boasts the best-preserved ancient buildings from the late Ming to the early Qing dynasties in the Three Gorges reservoir area. The buildings are mostly built in distinctive ancient Chinese style, with green bricks and black tiles, carved beams and painted pillars, as well as wooden doors. During the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the whole town was removed to its current place in the same topography and landform.

Dachang Ancient Town

Houxi Ancient Town

Lying by the Youshui River in the east of Youyang Tujia-Miao Autonomous County, 90-some kilometers from the county town, the Houxi Ancient Town is a famous historical and cultural town in Chongqing. Its main tourist attractions include the suspended coffins, the tomb of the tribe chieftain, the Chastity Memorial Archway for Lady Gong, the Longevity Palace, the Tujia Hand-waving Hall, etc. In the town, you can appreciate the typical Tujia Hand-waving Dance, listen to the love songs, and experience the folk customs of Tujia ethnic groups.

Houxi Ancient Town

Longtan Ancient Town

Lying at the foot of Fulong Mountain in the Youyang Tujia-Miao Autonomous County, Longtan Ancient Town has a history of over 1,700 years. During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), the ancient town became the destination for refugees fleeing out of Japanese occupied areas. With an area of 1.5 square kilometers, the town was then home to 80,000 people, many of whom were business people. Longtan thus became a well-known place in the country.

Longtan Ancient Town

At the foot of the Fulong Mountain are two caves with hot water. Water accumulated in the two caves form two pools that look like two eyes of a dragon. The town lies between the dragon eyes, looking like the dragon nose, hence the town got its name Longtan Town. Owing to the wear and tear over thousands of years, the stones on the street are polished like glittering green jades. The stilt houses of Tujia people in the town are in different shapes and characterized by upper-turned eaves. The town also has numerous ancient trees, wells, bridges and docks.

Hong’an Ancient Town

Hong’an is a famous historical and cultural town in Chongqing, lying about 46 kilometers southeast of the seat of Xiushan Tujia-Miao Autonomous County. It borders Hunan and Guizhou provinces, hence it is known as the “gate to Southeast Chongqing”. The town has clusters of exquisitely designed and uniquely shaped ancient buildings, including those in the Tujia ethnic minority village. The town lies at the foot of a mountain and beside a river, and the dense forests and clear waters around the town present picturesque views to you.

Hong'an Ancient Town

Xituo Ancient Town

Xituo, originally known as Xijietuo, is an ancient town with a history of over 2,000 years. Located in Shizhu County, Chongqing, it faces Shibaozhai Village across the Yangtze River. Yunti Street, the most famous street in the town, is known as the “No.1 Street by the Yangtze River”. The zigzagging street is 1.25 kilometers long, featuring old and thick stone stairs up the slope. Watching from the riverside, you will find the street looks like a ladder to the sky, hence the name “the street leading to Heaven”. The Yunti Street is lined up with stilt houses of the Tujia people and ancient buildings of the Han people. The stilt houses of the Tujia people were built in the Ming and Qing dynasties; some houses are of great aesthetic and historical value, such as the Ziyun Palace (Purple Cloud Palace), Yuwang Palace, Wantian Palace and Sweet-scented Osmanthus Garden.

Xituo Ancient Town

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