Daxu Ancient Town
town is one of the four famous ancient towns in Guangxi
province with a history over 1000 years. It is located
on the north bank of the Li River, about 29km by river
A 2.3km-long and 2m-wide stone street
runs through the town with various ancient buildings
lining both sides, old residences, shops and stalls,
the ancient town keeps in its antique style from
the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). These structures,
mainly form the Ming and Qing dynasties, are famous
for their magnificence, refinement and practicality.
The old street was paved with dark
green quadrate limestones that have been ground
and washed smooth by shoes, carts and rain. Some
well-preserved residences hidden behind the street
door may give you surprises you when you occasionally
explore further into a shop.
Over the past centuries, before the
railway system was built, it had been one of Li
river's four most important harbours. Most of
its inhabitants were traders and Daxu's market
was well-known all over southern China. It was
a busy trading center in the old times. The town
came into being in around 200 B.C. Since the Emperor
Qin Shi Huang built the Ling Canal which linked
Xiang River of the Yangtze River water system
with Li River of the Pearl River water system,
this lucrative water route played a more and more
important role in transportation and Daxu, the
town lying by Li River, became a place and a port
of collecting and distributing goods. There are
still 13 docks along the old street from which
you can imagine its prosperity in former days.
The town was getting quiet since 1930s when railways
and highroads replaced river shipping.
that, with the construction of the railway system, river
transport decreased drastically and Daxu fell into a
decadent sleep. As it is the only village on the eastern
side of the river, it escaped from massive tourist exploitation.
But many local residents still keep their traditional
handcraft and business, such as in-home workshops of
rice wine, carpenters, bamboo baskets and in-home traditional
Chinese medical clinics. There are about 20 clinics
gathered along the street, some of which specialize
in gynecology and some in paediatrics. Coming into the
clinic, you can smell the scent of medical herbs and
timeworn medicine chests tell the history of the clinic.
The rice wine workshop remains the old way of brewing
wines by using old barrels, baskets and distillery.
People in the town are very kind to
tourists. There is a single-arched bridge in the
town named Longevity Bridge. The simple and elegant
Longevity Bridge, built during the Ming dynasty,
is located on the south side of town.
The commerce in Daxu town first appeared
in the Song dynasty and flourished at the end
of the Qing dynasty. On the market day, thousands
of people, with their own products, go to the
fair. Noisy and busy, trade becomes the theme
of the day. Opposite the town on the other side
of the river, a millstone-like rock with the running
waters creates the scene of Grinding Grain.