After the epic day of hiking on Huangshan, a day wandering the tranquil-ish village of Hongcun was a welcome break. Along with neighboring Xidi, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 as a preserved look at rural Chinese life dating back to the 14th century. The village’s appearance is still so authentic that it was used as the backdrop for the international blockbuster Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, set in 19th century China.
Other than the scooter speeding down the cobblestone alley, it’s easy to imagine life in feudal China as we wandered the streets of Hongcun. The duck wandered in from nearby South Lake, undeterred by the possibilities of becoming someone’s dinner.
Many generations of the Wang family have lived in the village and the family temple overlooks the Crescent Moon Pond, but this scene is more famous thanks to its inclusion in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Also a fine example of the photobombing skills of our tour guide, Jason.
Founded by the family of a Han Dynasty general, the village thrived thanks to the merchant trade. That trade continues today as villagers create art and food for the throngs of tourists who visit each day. This shop topped its simple fried tofu with different blends of spicy pepper relish—equal parts fiery and delicious.
Nothing like a frozen treat on a hot and humid Chinese summer day. Viktoria snapped this photo of her pineapple pop as I caught the eye of the lady entering the background. She was really getting a kick out of the level of artistry going into the ice-sucker selfie.
The angles, lighting and colors of the ancient village were a major draw for artists, many of whom lined the banks of South Lake to capture the reflection of Picturesque Bridge in the still waters.
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