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Xizhou Ancient Town

Introducing Xizhou Town
Xizhou Town is located in the north of Dali, about 34 km from Dali Old Town. Xizhou Town is known as a historical town, a classic Bai ethnic town and the hometown of “Five Golden Flowers”. The town consists of 13 small villages with a combined population estimated at 2,500, mostly consisting of Bai people.

Xizhou Town Fast Facts
• Chinese Name: Xizhou Guzhen 喜洲古镇
• Best Time to Visit: April to October
• Recommended Visiting Hours: About 3 to 4 hours
• Things to Do: Photography, Architecture, Bai Customs and Traditions
• Opening Hours: All day
• Entrance Fee: Free
• Address: 18km form North of Dali Ancient City, Dali, Yunnan Province

What to expect at Xizhou Town

Xizhou Town has a history of as long as 1,000 years. As one of the ancient towns of the Nanzhao Kingdom (738-937), Xizhou Town comes only second to Taihe City and Yangjumie City (both near the Old Town of Dali) in regard of its historic significance. Xizhou also used to be a town of Heman Tribe in Dali. In the Sui Dynasty, General Shi Wansui (549-600) stationed his troops here; so Xizhou Town is also called “Shicheng” or “Shidan”. When it came the Nanzhao Kingdom period, royal palaces were erected in Xizhou and it was named Dali (大厘[ dàlí], different form Dali[dà lǐ]大理). In Dali, Xizhou is an important place for Buddhism and commerce. “Most Dali businessmen come from Xizhou”. “Xizhou Bang” (Xizhou Party) is an influential commercial title in Dali area.

Explore Xizhou Old Town from its lively morning market and experience the authentic local life of Bai people in rural areas. Women dressed in their colorful traditional attires with bamboo basket on their backs come to the market doing small vendor businesses, such as vegetables, meats, craftworks, hand-made cloths, etc.

As a town with Bai ethnic characteristics, Xizhou Town is a good place to witness the Bai traditional architectures most of which are designed in style called “San Fang Yi Zhao Bi” (one principal room, two wing rooms and a screen wall) and compound with five courtyards. The architectural masterpieces are the Residence of Yang Pinxiang, the Compound of Family Yan, the Compound of Family Dong and the Compound of Family Zhao etc. Xizhou has gained notoriety in modernity for its high concentration of preserved and restored traditional Bai architecture and protected heritage sites. An iconic and important attribute of Bai architecture is the inclusion of a large, white reflecting wall in courtyard homes. Wealthier homes will often designate one wall to be a reflecting wall while the other three serve as living spaces. The reflecting wall serves a practical and symbolic purpose; the white color creates a lighter space in the courtyard especially in the afternoon, it typically faces west in Xizhou to reflect evil spirits that dwell in the depths of Erhai lake away, and it reflects luck and prosperity into the room directly opposite, which is considered to be the most important room in the courtyard.

How to get to Xizhou Town
• Take a bus from the east entrance of Dali Ancient City to Xizhou Town.
• Rent a vehicle or bike to Xizhou Town from Dali.

Additional travel advice on Xizhou Town
• UV is very strong in Dali even in winter, so please wear sunscreen, hat and sunglasses during daytime.
• Many festivals and fairs of Bai people are held in March and April at Xizhou Town every year.

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