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Lijiang Ancient Town

lijiang-town01To add to its list of attractions, UNESCO recognized the Ancient Town of Lijiang as a World Heritage site in 1997.

Nestled beneath snow-capped peaks, Lijiang is a living museum as it is home to the Naxi people who have steadfastly preserved their centuries-old heritage.

lijiang-townThey still live in traditional homes, play ancient music and celebrate ethnic festivals with vitality. It is such qualities which now make Lijiang a prized draw card for Yunnan's tourism promoters. Tourism in Lijiang experienced sharp growth in the past few years thanks to its rich tourist resources. Lijiang's charms are due entirely to its remaining an ordinary town and home to one of the China's 55 ethnic group communities. Thanks fo Lijiang's remoteness, the Naxi people have successfully resisted the type of development, which is rapidly changing the face of China.

For the most part, it is the ancient town of Lijiang, which is the magnet that pulls in tourists. The Naxi people settled in the town, formerly called Dayan, about 800 years ago. More than 4,000 families still live in the town. All the houses, both look like they did centuries ago. They have been built with the same rooftops,stones, and tiles and are linked together by a web-like network of narrow, criss-crossing pathways. And just as they did several hundred years ago, the canals still run past the households. Apart from the architecture, the Naxi's cultural inheritance is very much evident in its music died out in central China during the warring years. From the Qing Dynasty onwards, it has survived relatively intact in remote and peaceful Lijiang. Lijiang lies 590 kilometres north of Dali.

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