Xitang, the most romantic town

Updated : 2016-08-16

Xitang Ancient Town is basically an ordinary town which happens to look like a masterpiece of traditional Chinese painting - but this is an affordable masterpiece. It suits people who want to experience what China must have been like in a time that may now seem much more carefree – and less stressful. Some may say it was a more innocent time.


Xitang Ancient Town. [Photo / Wang Buliu] 

Xitang boasts a corridor stretching more than 1,300 meters along the river, and this corridor - which some say is reminiscent of the Summer Palace - is roofed, providing shade and shelter. It also now serves as a sort of unofficial route for visitors who can walk along and enjoy the scenery.


The photo shows a corridor and a river of Xitang Ancient Town. [Photo / Wang Buliu] 

Many bridges in Xitang date back centuries – and the town became prosperous during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), it was an important town for the production of handicrafts and also a commercial center in south China.


A bridge is lying across a river. [Photo / Wang Buliu] 

It is so romantic to sit by the water, sipping green tea. Residents still live in the old style houses, and many of the homes boast rare woodcarvings. The whole town is very well preserved. 


This photo shows Xitang at night. The town is now also attracting visitors who enjoy sightseeing on boats along the waterways. [Photo / Wang Buliu] 

The town is located about 100 km from Shanghai. The short amount of available space – as water occupies such a vast area – means that homes and other buildings are built with the aim of using as much of the available space as possible – usually very close to one another. Night tours in Xitang are attracting visitors who are able to enjoy the town from the comfort of boats decorated with red lanterns. The boat tours here are even more enjoyable than those along the Qinhuai River.