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05/04/2013

Soaked City - Wuzhou City

Despite its 2,000-year history, Wuzhou City of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (listed as top 10 China tours) isn’t as well known as some of China’s numerous ancient cities. The city’s name was primarily earned through cultivation of its native product: phoenix trees.

City

 

Wandering through the old district of Wuzhou, tourists are usually impressed by the simplicity and subtle elegance of each house and doorway.

 

Since its opening to foreign trade in 1897, the city has served as a commercial hub of Guangxi. The city’s original layout was reshaped in the 1920s with the construction of arcade buildings, which now cover most eastern Wuzhou. In total, 560 arcade buildings can now be found throughout 22 streets stretching some seven kilometers.

 

A water city, Wuzhou is located at the junction of the Guijiang and Xijiang rivers. Its most prevailing climate is humid, muggy, and rainy. In the past, over half of the city was drenched by the Xijiang River during flood season when is not right for China vacation deals

 

Nevertheless, Wuzhou natives have never been bothered by extreme weather. A symbolic feature of the aquatic city is iron rings affixed to the “water gate” on the second floor of each arcade buildings. In the past, when water crept into the streets, residents used bricks to block their doorways and continued selling goods or playing chess or mahjong. Two iron rings affixed to brick pillars along the streets were used to tie up boats. When the water rose above the first floor, residents fastened their boats to the rings and boarded through windows. Vendors would even deliver food and other necessities by boat. When the city was flooded, life went on as easily as Venice.

 

The water is still high most of the time during the wet season, but it remains under good control thanks to well-designed dykes built a decade ago. The arcade buildings no longer function against floods as they were designed, and now simply serve as dwellings that preserve unique appeal for rainy Wuzhou. It is common to see such buildings in southern China, yet to see so many on such a grand scale remains a rarity.

 

People

 

Unique geographical location, climate, and culture have shaped the character of the local people. No strangers to natural disasters, Wuzhou (you can have popular China tours) natives’ roots reach deep into the riverbank where they built a city of wonder. Their forefathers established a huge complex of arcade buildings to endure the humid, rainy climate. They developed tortoise jelly to cool the body and detoxify. They hang cypress leaves to ward off evil spirits. They soak cobra and gecko in herbal tea or medicinal liquor. And they produce artificial gems.

 

The people of Wuzhou enjoy the fruit of their labor and the land. Teahouses can be found everywhere in the city, and by sunrise, they are already crowded with customers sipping tea and chatting. The locals are proud of their food, which is celebrated by Cantonese food aficionados.

 

Wuzhou’s long history has produced a brilliant culture. Its earliest residents settled to escape war during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.). Their descendants subsisted primarily through fishing, which explains their continued worship of the Goddess of the Xi-jiang River - the Dragon Mother. Legend goes that the Dragon Mother, who had five dragon children, led the people of Nanyue and Xi’ou kingdoms to reclaim barren hills, harness draughts and floods, and drain rivers to ensure lasting good conditions for crops. She was crowned the Dragon Mother after death by Ying Zheng, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty. Today, a temple built in her name during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) can still be found in the city.

 

The city of Wuzhou’s ancient and mystical aura remains in its arcades drenched in water for centuries. Quietly profound, sooner or later it too will become exposed to urbanization. Hopefully its soul will be preserved for as long as possible.

 

You can consider Wuzhou for your China tour packages.

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