The village presently has 140 well-preserved folk residences dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Among so much Hui-style architecture in Southern Anhui, Hongcun village is the most representative one. Looking at it from above, the ancient village has an ox-like shape. It has a reputation as a “charming Chinese water-bound village” with the combined beauty of mountains, forests and rivers. Every household in the village is connected through a network of watercourses, with flowing crystal-clear rivers at the doorstep for daily use. Everywhere there is picturesque scenery with numerous buildings and courtyards against a backdrop of lakes and mountains.
Hongcun Village was built during the Shaoxing ruling period of the Southern Song Dynasty (1131-1162), and gradually evolved into a fantastic “ox-like shaped village” from the Yongle ruling period (1403-1424). The ancient trees at the entrance to the village seem like two “ox horns”; the Hui-style architecture dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasty in orderly rows like “the ox body”; the four bridges on the rivers like “ox legs”, Yuezhao Lake like “ox stomach”; South Lake like “ox belly”; and the ditches that send water to every household like “ox intestines”.
The lake is located at the “ox stomach”, that is, the center of Hongcun Village. Being shaped like a half moon earned it the name Moon Pond by the Local people, and it was built during the Yongle ruling period of the Ming Dynasty (1403-1424) . Yuezhao Lake is always clear and placid, reflecting the blue sky and white clouds. Around the Lake, it is paved with bluestones, while whitewashed and tiled buildings are arranged in an orderly way. The elderly are chatting, women are doing their laundry, and children are playing around. A number of classic movies have been shot here. When night falls, Yuezhao Lake is illuminated by a row of lanterns at the lakeside. Such a beautiful sight!
This lake is located at the entrance to Hongcun Village in the south, and was built in 1607 during the Wanli ruling period of the Ming Dynasty. From Yongle to Wanli, the Yuezhao Lake could barely meet the demands of the increasingly populous Hongcun Village. In 1607, several hectares of farmland in the south of the village were dug deeply and paved around with stones for the building of South Lake. The lake is like a longbow with a double layered embankment. Along the embankment stand not only verdant and towering ancient trees, but also weeping willows, which appear like pretty girls doing their make-up in front of the mirror-like lake. The sparkling lake seems to melt into the sky and the coordinated shade and sunlight exhibit a deep and serene presence. Birds are twittering on the tree branches, and white geese are swimming with their heads erect, adding animation to the tranquil lake.
Hongcun Village enjoys great commercial prosperity, with nearly every household providing agritainment and vendors peddling snacks on the street. Here you can taste the locally featured delicious foods, such as baked rolls with steamed pork and preserved vegetables, roasted chicken drumsticks, bamboo shoots, hairy tofu, and stinky mandarin fish.
Tips：When touring Hongcun Village, you’d do best to follow a tour guide to learn about the Feng Shui of the Village and stories about every building here. Hongcun Village offers free tour guide services. You may wait at the main entrance in a parking lot to the east of South Lake. When enough tourists gather, a guide will come to lead.