Huangyao Ancient Town is located in the northeast of Zhaoping County, Guangxi, by the lower reaches of Lijiang River and 200 km from Guilin. Surrounded by three rivers and oddly shaped peaks, Huangyao is one of the ancient towns in Guangxi, featuring the typical karst geography. The town enjoys the reputation of “Lesser Guilin” and the “Hometown in Dreamland” for its picturesque scenery, and it is also one of the most popular destinations for foreign travelers.
With its fabulous mountains, caves, temples, pavilions, ancestor hills, old trees and tablets, every comer of the town shows a typical Chinese scene and presents a marvelous photo opportunity. It has been described as that: “Huangyao town has a millennium collection and it has been forgotten on the library’s shelves quietly. When people walked through inadvertently and happened to turn over this beautiful chapter, its primitive simplicity and elegance conquer people’s hearts immediately.”
Covering an area of 3.6 square km, Huangyao Town has a history of about 1,000 years. It was first established in the Northern Song Dynasty, under full-construction in the Ming Dynasty and reached its heyday in the Qing Dynasty. Most people in the town have the family name Huang or Yao, therefore the town is named “Huangyao”. Over 600 households live an old-style rural life, with the ancient streets, houses covered with gray tiles, small bridges, winding rivers and beautiful lotus flowers.
As the town is located in the mountainous area, the Ming and Qing architectural structures have been well preserved. In the town there are eight well-preserved ancient streets paved with black flagstones, with a total length of over 10 kilometers, more than 300 houses in the Ming-Qing style, over 20 temples, 10 pavilions and 11 distinguishing bridges.
After entering the town, you may pass a stone bridge named Stone-Jumping Bridge. This bridge is arrayed with many disconnected blocks of stone, and the passerby need to proceed with leaps to get to another side, hence the name Stone-Jumping Bridge. It is said that the cattle and sheep of the local families are all used to this bridge and they all can pass it without failure.
Chinese people typically make use of numbers to symbolize good luck and best wishes. The streets in Huangyao also feature this characteristic. There are eight ancient streets in Huangyao. On the main commercial streets, the slabs of slate are in odd numbers, like three, five and seven. The numbers reflect the importance of these streets, and the slates are incised into the same size, smoothness and plane. The number of slates in front of a household is often three, while some wealthier families may have five or seven. But some small alleys and extensions of main streets are made up of even number slates or gravel.
Famous old buildings in the town include Old Stage, Gu Clan Shrine, Wenxing Pavilion, Xingning Temple, Liang Residence and the ruin site of Guangxi Art Gallery, etc.