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DaXu ancient town
If you are fond of places that are unique, antique and not commercialized, Daxu Ancient Town will be a satisfying place to visit. The town is located to the north of Millstone Hill along Li River, about 23km (14.3 miles) south of Guilin. It is a little known ancient town of primitive simplicity, with a long history and lots of traditional Chinese residences.
Daxu Ancient Town was initially founded during the early Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD), which means it has a history of over one thousand years. It was a prosperous market town at that time thanks to the convenient water transport. And during the period of the Republic of China (1911-1949), the town was in its heyday. There were eight broad commercial streets, more than ten docks, and merchants came together in crowds. It was the leader among the four best known ancient towns in Guangxi in terms of its scale. Now all that prosperity has gone, leaving the town standing quietly by Li River.
The joy of visiting Daxu Ancient Town is in strolling along the long and narrow blue flagstone paths. Houses on both sides are made of black brick and grey tile in the style of the Ming (1368-1644AD) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911AD), reflecting historical vicissitudes over past years. Walking along the old street, you will feel that you are back in time and those age-old buildings are telling you enchanting stories. Also to be found here are ancient workshops where bamboo weaving and shoe making was done, as well as old-style barber shops. Here, the elderly people would gather together to chat and drink tea or they would sit at the door, reading books. You will find that villagers lead a slow-pace and carefree life, with a soft and contented smile on their faces. Friendly inhabitants might invite you to visit their houses so you can have a close up view of these buildings.
One thing you cannot miss in the Daxu Old Town is Longevity Bridge that stands at the converging point of Mahe River and Li River. As this stone arch bridge was built in the Qing Dynasty, the surface is now smooth and glossy. It is an ideal place to enjoy the Li River scenery and the hills across the river. Strolling around, you may find over ten docks, as well as a wooden mosque, where religious activities are held.
In 2001, a group of ancient tombs was discovered in Daxu Ancient Town. The seven tombs were arranged in the shape of the Plough, and is the first example of this in China. The relationship between the tombs and stars remains unclear, but cultural relics found in the tombs are of a great research value. If time permits, you can also take a ferryboat to Maozhou Islet where you can pick fresh strawberries and eat local dishes at a farm stay.