Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Qibao Ancient Town

qibao-town Located about 18 kilometers from downtown Shanghai, Qibao ancient town is a spiritual sanctuary, free from the traffic jams, pollution, and noise that now plague most modern cities.

Built in the Five Dynasties Period around one thousand years ago, the Qibao Ancient Town witnessed great development in the Song Dynasty and flourished in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

qibao-town01Qibao is Chinese for 'seven treasures' and there are two popular theories about its derivation. The more reliable one says that the name originates from the Qibao Temple, famed for its good reputation. It was this that contributed to the growth of business and culture of the previously unknown town. The other theory seems more popular among the local people who tell folk tales about seven treasures. These were an iron Buddha made in Ming Dynasty, a bronze bell also dating from the Ming Dynasty but said to have mysteriously appeared from nowhere, a Gold Script Lotus Sutra written by an imperial concubine of the 10th century, a one-thousand-year-old Chinese catalpa tree, a jade axe, a gold cockerel and a pair of jade chopsticks. Actually, of these seven treasures, the existence of only the first four can be verified while only the Scripture and the bell have survived to this day.

The old town occupies about two square kilometers, crossed by two water lanes. Around the water lanes stand a large number of well-preserved traditional houses, gardens, temples, shops, and restaurants that define the place.

Some places worth a special mention here include Cricket Hall, a place to dream of times gone by, Tianxiang Restaurant, which serves authentic local cuisine, and Qibao Theater, where you can enjoy the distinctive Shanghai opera. The small town is a good place to explore Shanghai grand past. When traveling there, look out for the authentic flavors.