A glimpse into a life gone by
Nestled deep in the Himalayan foothills, halfway between Lijiang and Dali, Shaxi offers a glimpse into a forgotten era with the beautifully preserved traditional way of life that still continues today. Here the quiet cobbled streets, spectacular local architecture and impressive courtyard homes, help maintain the atmosphere of a quieter, more gentle time. The local government, keen to protect Shaxi's unique cultural heritage, is working to create a sustainable travel strategy for the valley, encouraging activities that provide ownership opportunities for local families.
Here we have selected a few of the sights and experiences that you really should see on a visit to Shaxi.
The ancient Yujin stone arch bridge built in the Qing Dynasty, spans the river opposite the East Gate. It is a perfect spot for photographers who want to capture a snapshot of Shaxi. This ancient stone bridge carries Shaxi’s history. Its surface is getting bumpy smooth by the touch of countless passing horses and travelers.
The Friday Market
Folklore says that there has been a market held here on Fridays since 1415. Originally locals gathered in the square outside the Xingjiao Temple to sell homemade items to passing merchants, who in turn traded goods from distant cities along the Tea Horse Road. But now it has grown into a massive affair. Local people in traditional dress gather together to offer a wide range of regional goods, such as freshly made goats cheese, traditional Chinese medicine, dried tofu, wild mushrooms, etc. If you are in Shaxi on a Friday, you should make sure you visit the only surviving market of The Ancient Tea Horse Road!
Built in the Ming Dynasty, the Xinjiao Temple is a typical Buddhist Azhali Temple. The beautiful fresco preserved in the temple belongs to the ancient Bai people and is rightly considered an artistic treasure, with its painting in the style of the central plains, along with the strong local ethnic features.
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