Shanghai Star. 2003-05-01
NANXI River has been described as a masterpiece of Chinese traditional painting. Strange mountains, beautiful water, huge stones, cascading waterfalls, farms and villages ... Everything a visitor could imagine can be seen here.
But the area is too large to cover completely in one week so we have selected the four best villages to visit.
The name sounds beautiful because Furong is the Chinese name for a flower which has always been used to describe young beauty. The village takes its name from the three huge peaks of a nearby mountain because the locals thought the peaks looked like the petals of the flower.
Although only a small village, it is said to have produced many scholars and senior officials in ancient times and is still regarded as a lucky place.
The village covers 14.3 hectares and is surrounded by stone walls. Fields around the village stretch as far as the distant mountains.
The east gate is the main gate and each morning, farmers leave by it to go to their fields and the women and children to the river to wash clothes.
The main street is wide and used for festivals or wedding ceremonies, the villagers parade along it with bugles and drums as part of the celebrations.
During the day, old people sit in the sun for talk and gossip.
In their houses, after the washing is done, women ripen grain, make cakes and look after new-born babies.
The walls, eaves, wells and windows of the village houses are exquisite and strolling around the streets can make visitors feel they have gone back to ancient times.
Entering this village past the two lotus pools at the main gate is like stepping into a history book.
The western end of the main street is named Bi Jie (Pen Street) because local people thought the straight street looked like a pen. And a pool in the street is called Yan Chi (Inkstone Pool) where villagers go to wash their pens.
At the eastern end of the street are two large buildings named Shuiyue Tang (Water Moon Hall) and Wangxiong Ting (Brother's Pavilion). Both were built with the aim of teaching the younger generation to love family members.
In the centre of the village is a big ancestral temple used for special ceremonies and where villagers can go for some peaceful contemplation.
This is the biggest on the Nanxi River. The village's most famous scenic spot is its 300-metre-long shopping street. A long graceful corridor also runs along the whole street.
On the western side of the street is Lishui River with its lotus flowers, zig-zagging through the village. It also creates several lakes and the bridges across it make the village look even more like a wonderful park.
A small hill named Tangshan Mountain also stands in the village crowned by a small pavilion. Pink and white flowers bloom there and in summer and autumn cover the hill in a cloud of colour.
Several magnificent houses built by wealthy residents more than a century ago can be found in Junshui Street.
A delightful feature of this village is Hesheng Stream. The village is located in a basin with mountains blocking three sides and Hesheng Stream blocks the only exit.
Therefore, many years ago, the villagers built a 600-metre-long plank road across the stream and visitors today can stand on the road and enjoy the unique scenery.