Lijiang – the Venice of the East

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Lijiang at night

Lijiang – a fairy tale village

The old town of Lijiang is located in Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County, Lijiang Prefecture, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China.

View from Lijiang.

Modern day Lijiang has many tourists from all over the world.

Humans have occupied the Lijiang region from the Palaeolithic period (2.6 million years ago). In more recent times, during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) it came under the jurisdiction of the Shu region of the Qin State. During the reign of the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties it was established as Suijiu County. The Lijiang Junmin prefecture was established when the region came under Ming rule in 1382. The prefect of the time, Ajia Ade, was given the surname “Mu” and made a hereditary prefect, a title that was confirmed by the Qing Dynasty rulers in 1660. The successive Mu prefects were responsible for enlarging and improving the region throughout this period.

Heilongtan (Black Dragon Pool)

Lijiang’s incredible water system draws from the 40,000 square meter Heilongtan (Black Dragon Pool), which is fed by numerous mountain springs. Water flows from here to the Shuangshi Bridge, where it branches into three tributaries: the Eastern, Central, and Western Rivers. These further subdivide into a network of channels and culverts to supply every house in the town, supplemented by many springs and wells within the town itself. This complex system of channels made it necessary to build 354 bridges. These bridges are varied in function, form and shape, including corridor bridges, to provide shelter from wind and rain, stone arch bridges, stone slab bridges, and wooden plank bridges. This is why the town was named “Lijiang” which means the “City of Bridges.

Naxi horsemen in Lijiang market square.

The indigenous people in Lijiang  are the Naxi (Nakhi) who have maintained their traditions over the centuries. For further reading and viewing:


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